St Lucia profile

A chronology of key events:

1501 - St Lucia sighted by Christopher Columbus.

Castries, capital of St Lucia Castries, the capital, boasts a natural deepwater harbour. It was founded in 1650

1635 - The French establish a colony on St Lucia.

1660 - The French sign a treaty with the indigenous Carib people.

1814 - France cedes St Lucia to Britain following the Treaty of Paris; Britain proclaims the island a crown colony and brings in African slaves to work on the sugar cane plantations.

1834 - Slavery abolished.

1871-1956 - St Lucia a member of the Leeward Islands Federation.

1924 - St Lucia granted representative government.

1936 - St Lucia given a constitution providing for a majority of elected representatives in the legislative council.

Nobel laureate

Derek Walcott - poet, playwright, writer, visual artist from St. Lucia

Derek Walcott was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1992

  • Poet, playwright, writer, visual artist
  • Plays embedded in folk tradition
  • Poems celebrate beauty of Caribbean

Derek Walcott discusses, reads his poetry

1951 - St Lucia granted universal adult suffrage.

1958-62 - St Lucia a member of the Federation of the West Indies.

1964 - St Lucia ceases sugar cane production.

1967 - St Lucia becomes fully self-governing in internal affairs, with Britain remaining in charge of external matters and defence.


1979 - St Lucia becomes independent with John Compton, leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) as prime minister.

1979 - Allan Louisy becomes prime minister after his St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) wins the general election.

1981 - Louisy resigns following a split in the SLP and is replaced by the attorney-general, Winston Cenac.

1982 - John Compton returns to power after his UWP wins a decisive victory in the general election.

1987 - The UWP wins a narrow victory in the general election.

1992 - The UWP wins another general election.

1992 - Derek Walcott, a native of the capital, Castries, wins the Nobel Prize for literature.

1993 - Fall in the price of bananas leads to unrest and strikes by farmers and agricultural workers.

1996 - John Compton resigns and is succeeded by Vaughan Lewis as prime minister.

Kenny Anthony elected

Father of the nation

St Lucia's Sir John Compton

Sir John Compton's political career spanned many decades

  • Steered country towards independence
  • Served as prime minister several times

1997 - Kenny Anthony becomes prime minister after his SLP-led coalition wins the country's biggest ever landslide in the general election.

2002 September - Tropical Storm Lili destroys about half of the banana crop. In some places entire plantations are wiped out.

2003 July - Parliament amends constitution to replace oath of allegiance to British monarch with pledge of loyalty to St Lucians.

2003 November - New criminal code passed, with controversial clauses on imprisonment for spreading "false news" and legalisation of abortion in some circumstances.

2004 July - Volcanic twin peaks - the Pitons - are declared a Unesco world heritage site.

2006 December - Sir John Compton's UWP wins general elections.

2007 April - St Lucia says it will re-establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan, 10 years after it broke off relations in favour of China.

2007 September - Prime minister Sir John Compton dies, is replaced by Stephenson King.

2011 December - Kenny Anthony becomes prime minister after his SLP wins a snap general election.

2013 November - A Jamaican police team arrives to conduct an independent investigation into alleged extra-judicial killings by St Lucia's police in the 2010-11.

2014 May - St Lucia says it is planning to switch from the Privy Council in London to the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal.

2014 June - A law criminalising gang membership - aimed at curbing the growing problem of gang-related violence - comes into force.

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