Comprised of 32 islets and cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State, represented locally by a governor-general.
In common with the flags of other Caribbean states, that of St. Vincent & The Grenadines emerged as the winner in a local competition. The flag comprises three vertical bands of blue (hoist), gold (double width), and green (fly), the gold band bearing three green diamonds arranged in a V pattern. The colours are symbolic: blue for the sky, yellow for the sunshine, and green for the islands’ lush vegetation. The V of diamonds stands for “Vincent”; this was introduced in 1985 to replace the previous central motif of a breadfruit leaf behind the islands’ arms.
European settlement of Hairoun - as St. Vincent was then called by its native Caribs was fiercely prevented by them until the 18th century. African slaves intermarried with the Caribs to give rise to the Garifuna or “Black Carib” population. In 1719, French settlement began, but the island was ceded to Britain in 1763. It changed hands several times between the British and the French, finally coming under permanent British control in 1783. St. Vincent was granted associate statehood in 1969 and independence from the United Kingdom on 27 October 1979.
Area: 389 sq km (Saint Vincent 344 sq km)
Language: English (official); Caribbean Creole
Currency: Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar (US$1=EC$2.70, rate fixed since 1976)
Legal system: based on English common law.
St. Vincent & The Grenadines is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), based in Saint Lucia, and consisting of a High Court of Justice and a Court of Appeal. One High Court judge of the ECSC is assigned to and a resident of the islands.