St. Lucian History & Culture

St. Lucia and its Cultural Influences

Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It is part of a huge group of islands, known as the Lesser Antilles, and it is just beside the Saint Vincent, Barbados, and Martinique islands.

In the Old World, between approximately 200 and 400 A.D., St. Lucia was the home of the peaceful Arawak population. Studies have shown that the Arawaks came from northern South America around 200 A.D.

After the Arawaks, the more-aggressive Caribs arrived at the island some hundreds of years later. They killed all the men who inhabited the island, and assimilated the women into their society.

The first name of the island was Loaunalao, which meant “Land of the Iguanas,” due to the high population of iguanas in the island. However, after the invasion of the aggressive Caribs, the island was renamed Hewanorra, which is where the International Airport in Vieux Fort gets its name.

The French were the island’s first European settlers, but England took control of the island seven times. After years and years of war—14 wars between England and French, in total—England took definitive control of the island in 1814.

Culture

St. Lucia probably has one of the most mixed cultures in the Caribbean. It has been influenced by African, French, English, and East Indian people. Despite being under total control by England in the eighteenth century, the entire St. Lucian population adopted Saint Lucian Creole French as its second language. The island’s official language is English.

Bearing in mind the island’s small size and small population, Saint Lucia has the second-highest ratio of Nobel laureates, with two winners. 

The variety of ethnics groups is interesting, which are composed 85.3% of black people, 10.9% mixed, 2.2% East Indian and 1.6% of other ethnic groups.

The colonies were dissolved in the mid-twentieth century after Saint Lucia joined the West Indies Federation. This led to St. Lucia becoming an independent country with self-government.

Yet, St. Lucia is a commonwealth in which Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, represented by the island’s Governor-General.

St. Lucian Economy

The economy of St. Lucia is based mostly on oils: petroleum, bituminous deposits, distillates, and more, except crude. Bananas and plantains, fresh or dried, represent another plentiful source of income for the entire country.

Another large sector of the economy is beer made from malt, aerials, and aerial reflectors.

The gross national income, per capita, was calculated in at $7,390 in 2015, according to data from the World Bank.

St. Lucian Tourism

Similar to other Caribbean countries, St. Lucia’s economy heavily depends on tourism. The best months for tourism in St. Lucia are from January to April, which comprise the dry season.

The beautiful Caribbean Sea provides St. Lucia with astonishingly beautiful and clear beaches, which contain amazing resorts. However, this island has something to offer for everybody with a volcano, sulphur springs, a botanical garden, a rain forest, Pigeon Island National Park, and the twin peaks, called “The Pitons.”

St. Lucian Food

The national dish of Saint Lucia is green banana and saltfish. However, in general, the cuisine in the St. Lucia is a blend of West African, European (Due to its British and French roots), and East Indian cuisine.

Typical essential food stuffs are onions, potatoes, celery, cornmeal, coconut milk, the very hot scotch bonnet peppers, flour, and thyme.

Another famous dish in the island is the bouyon, a meal with meat, plantains, dasheen, yam, and dumplings. British influence is noted in a variety of spices used in its cuisine. Among the most famous British ingredients are garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, cloves, parsley and others.

There are many dynamic dishes such as rice and peas, stew chicken, Marconi pie, and every kind of dish containing fish and locally produced vegetables. There is also a famous cake on the island, called “Johnny Cake,” which can be served with plenty of sides, such as salt fish seasoned and fried along with green and red peppers and onions. Saint Lucia’s own specialty is  a dessert called turnover, a pastry made with sweetened coconut, spices, and other optional ingredients.

St. Lucian Roti

The St. Lucian roti is one of the most famous and delicious dishes on the island. It’s also one of the latest additions to its tasty and unique cuisine. Roti is an Indian flatbread wrapped around curried chickpeas and a choice of curried goat, chicken, or beef, and vegetables.

St. Lucian Beer

Piton (pronounced Pee-ton) beer is brewed in St. Lucia and favored by locals and tourists alike. The beer is named after the most famous mountain landmark of the island; the Pitons.

St. Lucian Cocktails

As many other Caribbean countries and islands, St. Lucia boasts a huge repertoire of cocktails, with many locally distilled and rare rums, fruits, and many other ingredients. One of the most famous cocktails in St. Lucia is called the St. Lucian Rum, a cocktail which has smooth taste, fruity nose, and plenty of warmth.

Here is a list of the most famous local cocktails:

  •    Ron D’oro
  •    Bounty Rum
  •    Bounty Crystal
  •    Admiral Rodney
  •    Buccaneer Rum
  •    Castries Rum Cream
  •    Chairman’s Reserve, Silver and Spiced Rum
  •    Denros Strong Rum
  •    And much more

The ingredients which are used to make the cocktails are mostly fruits, such as mango, banana, coconut, pineapple, lime, and cranberry.

St. Lucian Music

In terms of music and dance, St. Lucia is not much different from other countries and islands in the Caribbean. The local music genres include Soca, Calypso, Reggae, and Salsa.

The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival has become world famous. It’s common for visitors, tourists, and musicians to come from all around the world to experience this colorful festival.

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