Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Country formed by an archipelago in the chain of the Lesser Antilles. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lies between Saint Lucia to the north and Grenada to the south, with the Caribbean Sea to the west and the Atlantic to the east. Its territory has a total area of 345 km², and its coasts measure about 84 km. It consists of the main island of Saint Vincent and the two-thirds of the Grenadines that extend to the south; the rest of the Grenadines belong to Granada. Its main islands are Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayrouan and Union.
According to Eningbo, the Carib Indians inhabited Saint Vincent before the arrival of Europeans. Discovered by Columbus in 1498, and alternately claimed by Great Britain and France, Saint Vincent became a British colony by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. In 1773, the island was divided between the Caribs and the British, but conflicts between the groups persist. In 1776, the Caribs rebelled and were subdued. Thereafter the British were deported, most of them to the islands in the Gulf of Honduras.
The islands belong to the Federation of the West Indies from 1958 until its dissolution in 1962. It gained autonomy in 1969 as part of the Associated States of the Antilles, and achieved full independence on October 27, 1979. The government of Prime Minister Milton Cato stifled a brief rebellion on 8 of December of 1979, attributed to economic problems following the eruption of the Soufriere volcano in April 1979 (which had caused the evacuation of the northern two – thirds of the island). The eruption, followed by Hurricane Allen in 1980, seriously damaged the country’s economy, particularly the banana cultivation, important in the 1980s. But by the 1990s the economy had begun to recover. With the decision in 1999 by the European Union to end its preferential treatment of bananas imported from the former colonies, Saint Vincent sought to diversify its economy, mainly through the expansion of tourism.
Politic and government
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy within the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Queen Elizabeth II is head of state and is represented on the island by a Governor General, a position largely ceremonial functions. Control of the government rests with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. There is a parliamentary opposition made by the largest minority in the general elections, led by the leader of the opposition. The country has no formal armed forces, although the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force includes a Special Services Unit. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is divided into six parishes, with five in Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, together constituting the sixth.
- Carlota (Parish of Charlotte)
- San Andrés (Parish of Saint Andrew)
- San David (Parish of Saint David)
- Saint George (Parish of Saint George)
- San Patricio (Parish of Saint Patrick)
- Grenadines (Parish of the Grenadines)
The islands that make up Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are of volcanic origin, although the Grenadines also have limestone parts of coral origin. They are found on the edge of the Caribbean and South American plates. San Vicente has an axis of volcanic cones with a north south direction. The highest altitude is the Soufriere crater, at 1,234 meters. This gives the landscape a marked mountainous appearance. It is a volcano that has had two major eruptions during the 20th century, one in 1902 and the other in 1979. The Grenadines are low islands, which do not exceed 350 meters in altitude.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a population of 104,000 people, of which 66% are black, 19.0% are mixed race and the remaining 15.0% are made up of other ethnic groups such as Asians and whites. The age structure of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is well balanced. 26% are under 15 years old, 68% between 15 and 65 and 6% are over 65 years old. The vegetative growth of the population is very high, it is around 7% per year, but the real growth is around 0%, since the migratory balance is 7% per year. The birth rate is 16 ‰, which gives a fertility rate of almost 2 children per woman. The mortality rate is low, about 6 ‰, but infant mortality soars to 14 ‰. Life expectancy at birth is high, 74 years. Most of the population is concentrated in San Vicente, and especially in the capital, although this accumulates just over 10% of the population. The main cities of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are:
- Kingstown, 6:32 p.m., Saint George Parish
- Georgetown, 1,710 hrs, Charlotte Parish
- Byera, 1,389 p.m., Charlotte Parish
- Biabou, 1,069 h, Charlotte Parish