A map of St Lucia The island of St Lucia is part of the Windward Islands, a chain that stretches north-south along the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea. Its landscape is chiefly made up of forested mountains—it is one of the most mountainous islands in the Caribbean. On the island’s western side are the Pitons, twin cone-shaped volcanic peaks. At the coast, white beaches are lapped by clear, shallow seas. Just offshore lie spectacular coral reefs, teeming with tropical fish. St Lucia has a warm, tropical climate, but winds from the northeast keep it dry and breezy. Between June and November, the island is hotter and wetter, but sometimes at risk from hurricanes.
St Lucians are descended from Africans who arrived in the 17th century to work on sugar cane plantations. Most people speak the local form of Antillean Creole, based on a mixture of French and West African languages. Although the capital, Castries, is home to about a third of the population, a large number of people live in small villages, making a living by fishing or by growing vegetables, mangoes and coconuts.
St Lucia was named after the Christian saint, St Lucy, by early French settlers.
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