Saint Vincent (Antilles)

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Saint Vincent
Native name:
Yurumei or Hairouna
Saint Vincent Island.JPG
View of Saint Vincent
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines relief location map.jpg
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Saint Vincent
Saint Vincent Island
Relief map of Lesser Antilles.png
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Saint Vincent
Location in the Lesser Antilles
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Saint Vincent
Location in the Caribbean
Location Caribbean Sea on the West Coast
Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast.
Coordinates 13°15′N61°12′W / 13.250°N 61.200°W / 13.250; -61.200 Coordinates: 13°15′N61°12′W / 13.250°N 61.200°W / 13.250; -61.200
Archipelago Windward Islands
Area345 km2 (133 sq mi)
Length18 mi (29 km)
Width11 mi (18 km)
Highest point La Soufrière
4,048 ft (1,234 m)
Largest settlement Kingstown (pop. 25,418)
Population100,000 (2012)
Pop. density347.83/km2 (900.88/sq mi)
Ethnic groups Black 66%, East Indian 6%, Garifuna 2%, Mixed Race 19%, White 4%, Other 3%.

Saint Vincent is a volcanic island in the Caribbean. It is the largest island of the country Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and is located in the Caribbean Sea, between Saint Lucia and Grenada. It is composed of partially submerged volcanic mountains. Its largest volcano and the country's highest peak, La Soufrière, is active, [1] with the latest episode of volcanic activity having begun in December 2020 and intensifying in April 2021. [2]


There were major territory wars between the indigenous population of the Black Caribs, also called the Garifuna, and Great Britain in the 18th century, before the island was ceded to the British in 1763 and again in 1783. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gained independence from the United Kingdom on 27 October 1979 and became part of the British Commonwealth of Nations thereafter. Approximately 130,000 people currently live on the island, and the population saw significant migration to the UK in the early 1900s and between the 1940s and 1980s. There has also been significant migration to Canada and other larger neighbouring Anglo-Caribbean islands. The main island consists of the capital Kingstown, with the rest of the island divided into the five main coastal strip towns of Layou, Barrouallie, Chateaubelair, Georgetown, and Calliaqua.


Kingstown, Saint Vincent Kingstown Saint Vincent.jpg
Kingstown, Saint Vincent

The people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are formally called Vincentians; colloquially they are known as Vincies or Vincys. The majority of the island's population is of Afro-Vincentian descent. However, a sizable portion of the population consists of Black Carib descendants, white descendants of English colonists, Portuguese descendants of indentured servants and a significant number of Indo-Vincentians, descendants of indentured workers with Indian heritage. There is also a sizable mixed-race minority (19%).

In 2012, the population of the island was approximately 130,000. The main religions are Anglican (47%), Methodist (10%), Roman Catholic (13%), other Protestant denominations such as Seventh-day Adventism and Spiritual baptism, as well as Hinduism.

Adult literacy was 88.1% in 2004. Infant mortality in 2006 was 17 per 1,000 live births and life expectancy for men stood at 69 years, 74 years for women. The active workforce in 2006 was 57,695 and unemployment in 2004 was 12%.


Before 1498, the island was called Hairouna by its indigenous inhabitants. [3] Christopher Columbus named the island Saint Vincent, since it is said to have been discovered on 22 January, the feast day of the patron saint of Lisbon and Valencia, Vincent of Saragossa.

Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors embarked on slaving expeditions in and around St. Vincent following royal sanction in 1511, driving the inhabitants to the rugged interior, but the Spanish were not able to settle the island. [4] In the 1500s Columbus and the conquistadors noted there was a significantly large African population living amongst the native population, whom they assumed had come from shipwrecked slave ships or escaped from St. Lucia or Grenada to seek refuge in St. Vincent. They were called "Black Caribs," but are now known as Garifuna .

The large population aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century.

French colony

The first Europeans to occupy St. Vincent were the French. However, following a series of wars and peace treaties, these islands were eventually ceded to the British. While the English were the first to lay claim to St. Vincent in 1627, the French, centered on the island of Martinique, became the first Europeans to invade the island, establishing their first colony at Barrouallie on the Leeward side of St. Vincent in 1719. [5] African slaves were forced to cultivate coffee, tobacco, indigo, corn, and sugar on plantations operated by the French colonizers. Under French dominion, Saint Vincent was known as Ile Saint Marcouf. [6]

St. Vincent was ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris (1763), after which friction between the British and the natives led to the First Carib War. Upon taking control of the island in 1763, the British laid the foundations of Fort Charlotte which was completed in 1806. The island was reverted to French rule in 1779, then regained by the British under the Treaty of Versailles (1783). Between 1793 and 1796, the Black Caribs, led by their chief, Joseph Chatoyer, fought a series of battles against the British. The combat ultimately ended in a treaty, after which 5,000 Garifuna were exiled to the smaller island of Baliceaux off the coast of Bequia. Conflict between the British and the indigenous peoples continued until 1796, when General Ralph Abercromby ended a revolt fomented by the radical Victor Hugues. The British deported more than 5,000 Black Caribs to Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras.

British colony

Engraving 'after Agostino Brunias' (ca 1801) entitled A Negro Festival drawn from Nature in the Island of St Vincent. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich A Negro Festival drawn from Nature in the Island of St Vincent.JPG
Engraving 'after Agostino Brunias' (ca 1801) entitled A Negro Festival drawn from Nature in the Island of St Vincent. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

From 1763 until independence, St. Vincent passed through various stages of colonial status under the British. A representative assembly was authorized in 1776. The British abolished slavery in 1834. Like the French before them, the British made African slaves work plantations of sugar, coffee, indigo, tobacco, cotton and cocoa until full emancipation in 1838. The resulting labour shortages on the plantations attracted Portuguese immigrants, many of them of Jewish descent, in the 1840s, and East Indians in the 1860s as laborers.

After emancipation, the economy began a period of decline, with many landowners abandoning their estates and leaving the land to be cultivated by liberated slaves. Conditions remained harsh for both former slaves and immigrant agricultural workers, as depressed world sugar prices kept the economy stagnant until the turn of the 20th century. The Opobo king Jaja was exiled to St. Vincent after his 1887 arrest by the British for shipping cargoes of palm oil directly to Liverpool without the intermediation of the National African Company.

A Crown Colony government was installed in 1877, a Legislative Council created in 1925, and universal adult suffrage granted in 1951. During this period, the British made several unsuccessful attempts to affiliate St. Vincent with other Windward Islands in order to govern the region through a unified administration. The most notable was the West Indies Federation, which collapsed in 1962. Life on the island was made even harder following two eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano in 1812 and 1902 when much of the island was destroyed and many people were killed. The volcano erupted again in 1979, with no fatalities, and in 2020–2021. [2]

Self-rule and independence

St. Vincent & The Grenadines was granted associate statehood status by Britain on 27 October 1969, giving it complete control over its internal affairs. Following a referendum in 1979, St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence, on 27 October 1979, though it remains a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It celebrates Independence Day every year on 27 October. [7]


The island of Saint Vincent island is in the Lesser Antilles chain; it is 29 kilometres (18 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide and it is located 160 kilometres (99 mi) west of Barbados.

It is very mountainous and heavily forested. It has a 1,234-metre (4,049 ft) active volcano, La Soufriere, which erupted violently in 1812 and 1902. The most recent eruption was on 9 April 2021, which resulted in the evacuation of 20,000 residents.

The island has a total surface area of 344 square kilometres (133 sq mi), or about 88% of the total country area, 19 times that of the country's second largest island Bequia. The coastline measures about 84 kilometres (52 mi).

The climate is tropical and humid, with an average temperature of between 18 and 31 °C (64 and 88 °F) depending on altitude. More than 95% of the beaches on the mainland have black sand, while most of the beaches in the Grenadines have white sand.[ citation needed ]

For many years,[ when? ] this sand was used in the building industry. During recent times, because of destruction to the coastal areas, the government has restricted the amount of sand that may be removed from beaches, as well as the specific beaches from which sand may be removed. The sand is still used in construction of metalled roads, as it blends in with the colour of the asphalt used for road construction.[ citation needed ]


Parrot Reserve (Richmond Forest Reserve)
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Coordinates 13°16′42″N61°11′00″W / 13.27833°N 61.18333°W / 13.27833; -61.18333
Area1,171.2 km2 (452.2 sq mi)

Saint Vincent is home to endemic birds including the lesser Antillean Tanager, the whistling warbler, and the Saint Vincent amazon. Some pockets of tropical rainforest are left on the volcanic hills. Two species of reptile which are native to Saint Vincent are named for the island, Chironius vincenti and Sphaerodactylus vincenti . [8]

Volcanic activity

On 9 April 2021, the first 2021 eruption of La Soufrière occurred and another "explosive event" was reported two days later; eruptions were expected to continue for some time. Approximately 16,000 people were required to evacuate the area of their homes. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made this comment to the news media: "water supplies to most of the island had been cut off and its airspace closed because of the smoke and thick plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere". An official added: "we are covered in ash and strong sulphur scents pervade the air ... take the necessary precautions to remain safe and healthy". [9] Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International sent five ships in total, with a capacity of 7,500, to assist with the evacuation. Barbados dispatched a "humanitarian assistance and disaster response" mission to the island. [10]

Additional "explosive events" occurred on 11 April [11] and on 12 April. On that latter day, the volcano "continued to erupt explosively" and was generating "pyroclastic flows" [12] [13] that were "destroying everything in its path". [14]

In 2002, Saint Vincent was one of the filming locations for the American adventure fantasy film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl . Filming took place from October 2002 through to March 2003, and several hundreds of the local inhabitants were hired as cast members. [15]

Educational institutions

Saint Vincent is home to a number of international accrediting medical schools:

  1. All Saints University School of Medicine
  2. Saint James School of Medicine
  3. Trinity School of Medicine
  4. American University of St. Vincent School of Medicine

In addition to the international schools, Saint Vincent is home to local educational schools.

See also

Related Research Articles

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Country in the Caribbean

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Caribbean. It is located in the southeast Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, which lie in the West Indies at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Demographics of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Demographics of country

This article is about the demographics of the population of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, including population density, ethnicity, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Kalinago Group of people who live in Venezuela and the Lesser Antilles islands

The Kalinago, also known as the Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. They may have been related to the Mainland Caribs (Kalina) of South America, but they spoke an unrelated language known as Island Carib. They also spoke a pidgin language associated with the Mainland Caribs.

Lesser Antilles Archipelago in the Southeast Caribbean

The Lesser Antilles are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic island arc between the Greater Antilles to the north-west and the continent of South America. The islands of the Lesser Antilles form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. Together, the Lesser Antilles and the Greater Antilles make up the Antilles. The Lesser and Greater Antilles, together with the Lucayan Archipelago, are collectively known as the West Indies.

Mount Pelée Active volcano on the Caribbean island of Martinique

Mount Pelée or Mont Pelée is an active volcano at the northern end of Martinique, an island and French overseas department in the Lesser Antilles Volcanic Arc of the Caribbean. Its volcanic cone is composed of stratified layers of hardened ash and solidified lava. Its most recent eruption was in 1932.

The Leeward Islands are a group of islands situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean. Starting with the Virgin Islands east of Puerto Rico, they extend southeast to Guadeloupe and its dependencies. In English, the term Leeward Islands refers to the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain. The more southerly part of this chain, starting with Dominica, is called the Windward Islands. Dominica was originally considered a part of the Leeward Islands, but was transferred from the British Leeward Islands to the British Windward Islands in 1940.

Garifuna Ethnic group in Central America

The Garifuna people are a mixed African and indigenous people who originally lived on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and speak Garifuna, an Arawakan language, and Vincentian Creole.

Soufrière Hills Volcano on Montserrat in the Caribbean

The Soufrière Hills are an active, complex stratovolcano with many lava domes forming its summit on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. After a long period of dormancy, the Soufrière Hills volcano became active in 1995 and has continued to erupt ever since. Its eruptions have rendered more than half of Montserrat uninhabitable, destroying the capital city, Plymouth, and causing widespread evacuations: about two-thirds of the population have left the island. Chances Peak in the Soufrière Hills was the highest summit on Montserrat until the mid-1990s, but it has since been eclipsed by various rising and falling volcanic domes during the recent volcanic activity.

La Soufrière (volcano) Active stratovolcano on the Caribbean island Saint Vincent

La Soufrière or Soufrière Saint Vincent is an active stratovolcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is the highest peak in Saint Vincent, and has had five recorded explosive eruptions since 1718. The latest eruptive activity began in December 2020, with a series of explosive events beginning in April 2021.

Joseph Chatoyer

Joseph Chatoyer, also known as Satuye, was a Garifuna (Carib) chief who led a revolt against the British colonial government of Saint Vincent in 1795. Killed that year, he is now considered a national hero of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and also of Belize and Costa Rica. Vincentian politician Camillo Gonsalves described him in 2011 as his country's "sole national hero".


Afro-Guatemalans are Guatemalans of African descent. Afro-Guatemalans comprise 1-2% of the population. They are of mainly English-speaking West Indian (Antillean) and Garifuna origin. They are found in the Caribbean coast, in Livingston, Puerto Barrios and Santo Tomas. During the colonial period, African slaves were brought in, but have mixed with the general population and can be referred to them as Afro-mestizos. So, due to miscegenation, the majority of black people became in Mulatto and Zambo and these in turn became in Quadroon and Cambujos. Due to centuries of miscegenation, Afro-Guatemalans today form part of the country's mixed race, non-indigenous ladino population.

Sir Robert Baxter Llewelyn (1845–1919) was a colonial administrator in the British Empire.


Afro-Vincentians or Black Vincentians are Vincentians whose ancestry lies within Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fort Charlotte, Saint Vincent

Fort Charlotte is a British-colonial era fort, built on a hill over-looking the harbour of Kingstown, Saint Vincent. It is located in the parish of Saint Andrew, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the top of Edinboro road, on Berkshire Hill, just west of the town.

Nelcia Robinson-Hazell is a Black Carib poet, community organizer and activist. She has spearheaded the development of policy initiatives throughout the Caribbean on issues regarding gender and indigenous identity. Serving as the president of the National Council of Women of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, she began in the 1980s to change the organization toward political action. Recognizing a need to establish research on the needs of women, she was involved in the creation of both local and regional organizations to analyze and develop information about the socio-economic and political inequalities women faced. She created similar initiatives for indigenous peoples, beginning first in Saint Vincent and then expanding them regionally. Robinson has been involved in international directives including the World Summit for Social Development and the 1995 World Conference on Women, as well as follow-up conferences discussing such issues as poverty, economic empowerment and violence against women. She has served as a civil society representative on the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commissions and as chair of the Commonwealth Women's Network.

Jenni Barclay is a professor of volcanology at the University of East Anglia. She works on ways to mitigate volcanic risks, the interactions between rainfall and volcanic activity and the communication of volcanic hazards in the Caribbean. Barclay leads the NERC-ESRC funded Strengthening Resilience to Volcanic Hazards (STREVA) research project as well as a Leverhulme Trust programme looking at the volcanic history of the Ascension Islands.

2021 eruption of La Soufrière Volcanic eruption in the Caribbean

La Soufrière, a stratovolcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, began an effusive eruption on 27 December 2020. On 9 April 2021 there was an explosive eruption, and the volcano "continued to erupt explosively" over the following days, with pyroclastic flows. The activity pattern of the eruption was comparable to that of the event that occurred in 1902, which had a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 4. The volcano is known to have erupted 23 times in the last 4,000 years, and had been dormant since 1979.

Events in the year 2021 in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Vincentian nationality law is regulated by the Saint Vincent Constitution Order of 1979, as amended; the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Citizenship Act of 1984, and its revisions; and various British Nationality laws. These laws determine who is, or is eligible to be, a national of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Vincentian nationality is typically obtained either on the principle of jus soli, i.e. by birth in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; or under the rules of jus sanguinis, i.e. by birth abroad to parents with Vincentian nationality. It can be granted to persons with an affiliation to the country, or to a permanent resident who has lived in the country for a given period of time through naturalisation. There is not currently a program in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for persons to acquire nationality through investment in the country. Nationality establishes one's international identity as a member of a sovereign nation. Though it is not synonymous with citizenship, for rights granted under domestic law for domestic purposes, the United Kingdom, and thus the commonwealth, have traditionally used the words interchangeably.


  1. Rogozinski, Jan (1999). A Brief History of the Caribbean (Revised ed.). New York: Facts on File, Inc. pp.  358–359. ISBN   0-8160-3811-2.
  2. 1 2 Hodgson, Martin (8 April 2021). "St Vincent orders evacuations as volcanic eruption appears imminent". The Guardian.
  3. "Review of the Indigenous Caribbean". Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  4. Rogozinski, January 2000. A Brief History of the Caribbean: From the Arawak to the Present. Plume, New York, New York.
  5. "Attention * St. Vincent Genealogy Resources". St. Vincent Genealogy Resources. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  6. Roche, Jean-Michel (2005). Dictionnaire des bâtiments de la flotte de guerre française de Colbert à nos jours, 1671 - 1870. Group Retozel-Maury Millau. p. 269. ISBN   978-2-9525917-0-6. OCLC   165892922. (see entry for the frigate Junon)
  7. Independence Day in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  8. Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN   978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Vincent", p. 275).
  9. "St Vincent volcano: Power cuts after another 'explosive event'" . Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  10. "Another 'explosive event' at St Vincent volcano has left the island struggling with power outages, limited water supplies, and blankets of ash" . Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  11. "St Vincent hit by power cuts after another 'explosive event'" . Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  12. Guzman, Joseph (12 April 2021). "Another explosive volcano eruption rocks St. Vincent". The Hill . Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  13. Klemetti, Erik (12 April 2021). "More and Larger Explosions Rock St. Vincent as La Soufrière Lets Loose Pyroclastic Flows". Discover . Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  14. Jones, Dustin (12 April 2021). "From Bad To Worse: La Soufrière Volcano Continues To Erupt". Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  15. "The Making of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (1/4)". redmorgankidd. Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2012.