St. Lucia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State, represented locally by a governor-general.
St. Lucia’s national flag, whose design was the winning entry in a locally-held competition, is a stylised depiction of the island itself: a volcanic island amid a blue sea, with three central mountains, the Pitons, in the centre. The blue of the field stands for fidelity, as well as for the Caribbean and the Atlantic surrounding the shores; gold stands for prosperity and sunshine; and black and white represent dual racial culture and harmony. The flag was used during St. Lucia’s status as an associated state and retained after independence from the United Kingdom.
Caribs populated St. Lucia when Europeans first arrived in 1500. France established a treaty with the Caribs in 1660, but lost the island to Britain between 1663 and 1667. Ownership of St. Lucia was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (the island changing hands 14 times). France finally ceded it to the UK in 1814. The island was granted self-government in 1967 and independence on 22 February 1979.
Area: 616 sq km
Language: English (official); French Créole; Caribbean Creole
Currency: Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar (US$1=EC$2.70, rate fixed since 1976)
Legal system: based on English common law.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is based in Saint Lucia, and consists of a High Court of Justice and a Court of Appeal. Its jurisdiction extends to the independent states of Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and the British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Montserrat.