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Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 617 km2 and has a population of 174,000. Its capital is Castries.
One of the Windward Islands, Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse by the French, the island's first European settlers. They signed a treaty with the native Carib Indians in 1660. Britain took control of the island from 1663 to 1667; in ensuing years, it was at war with France 14 times and rule of the island changed frequently. In 1814, the British took definitive control of the island. Because it switched so often between British and French control, Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West Indies".

The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island's most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano.

The population of 174,000 is evenly divided between urban and rural areas, although the capital, Castries, contains more than one-third of the population. Saint Lucia's population is predominantly of African and mixed African-European descent, with a small Indo-Caribbean minority. Members of other or unspecified ethnicity groups, account for about 2% of the population. The official language is English. Saint Lucian Creole French, which is colloquially referred to as "Patwah", is spoken by 95% of the population. This Antillean Creole is used in literature and music, and is gaining official acknowledgement. As it developed during the early period of French colonisation, the creole is derived chiefly from French and West African languages, with some vocabulary from Carib and other sources. Saint Lucia is a member of La Francophonie.

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