St. Lucia is an independent Commonwealth State, having gained independence from the UK on 22 February 1979, a day celebrated each year with a public holiday. The country’s history has been influenced by the native Carib people, Africans, the British and the French.
St. Lucia is an island in the Lesser Antilles region of the Eastern Caribbean and covers 617 square kilometers. It is one of the Windward Islands and more mountainous than most Caribbean Islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 meters above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the Island’s most famous landmark. The natural beauty of the Island makes it a popular tourist destination, with attractions including the rain forest, national parks, botanical gardens, a world heritage site, gorgeous Caribbean beaches and even a drive-in volcano. English is the official language of St. Lucia but most locals also speak French Creole.
St. Lucia is a member of the United Nations, CARICOM, OECS and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECU), a regional currency (East Caribbean Dollar, XCD) which is pegged to the US Dollar at a rate of 2.70.
The island nation attracts foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries. Tourism is St. Lucia's main source of employment, foreign exchange earnings and income, accounting for 65% jobs and income, accounting for 65% of its GDP. Its manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area. Crops such as bananas, mangos, and avocados are grown for export.
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