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You are in:  Nations > Caribbean > St Lucia
St Lucia*St Lucia flag
Basic facts
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The country 
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Capital: Castries
Area: 616 sq km; 238 sq miles
Population: 158,178 (July 2001 est.)
Urbanisation: Urban 37 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 63 per cent (1998 Estimate)
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Economy

Exports: Bananas, clothing, cacao, vegetables, fruits, coconut oil, beer, paper, electronic components

Industry: Clothing, assembly of electronic components, beverages, corrugated cardboard boxes, tourism, lime processing, coconut processing

Agriculture: Bananas, coconuts, vegetables, citrus fruits, root crops, cacao

Currency: 1 East Caribbean dollar (EC$), consisting of 100 cents

Natural resources: Timber, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, geothermal potential

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The people

Ethnic: African 90 per cent, Mixed 6 per cent, Indian 3 per cent, White 1 per cent

Language: English and French patois. English is the official language and is used in school instruction, Government and business. Most people can speak English, but some St Lucians in rural areas are not fluent and for many people an oral patois, which developed during the period of French colonial rule, is the daily language of communication. Urban residents often mix the patois with English in conversation. There is a movement to preserve the St Lucian patois and to develop a written form that could be taught in schools.

Religion: Roman Catholic 90 per cent, Protestant 7 per cent, Anglican 3 per cent. Religion plays an important role in the lives of most St Lucians. Meals, the school day, some business meetings and other activities begin with prayer. Most community activities are church-sponsored or church-related.

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The history

Independence: Granted on 22 February 1979 from the United Kingdom

Government: St Lucia is a parliamentary democracy. The head of state is the British monarch, who is represented by a governor-general. The Prime Minister is head of Government. The Prime Minister and parliament's 17 members are directly elected for a five-year term. All citizens are required to vote from the age of 18.

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*Montserrat
*St Kitts and Nevis
*St Lucia
*St Vincent and the Grenadines
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