Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of


(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Introduction Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on St. Vincent until 1719. Disputed between France and the United Kingdom for most of the 18th century, the island was ceded to the latter in 1783. Between 1960 and 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a separate administrative unit of the Federation of the West Indies. Autonomy was granted in 1969 and independence in 1979.
History Carib Indians aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century. Enslaved Africans – whether shipwrecked or escaped from Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada and seeking refuge in mainland St. Vincent, or Hairouna as it was originally named by the Caribs – intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Garifuna or Black Caribs. Beginning in 1719, French settlers cultivated coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and sugar on plantations worked by enslaved Africans. In 1763, St. Vincent was ceded to Britain. Restored to French rule in 1779, St. Vincent was regained by the British under the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Great Britain officially recognized the end of the American Revolution. Ancillary treaties were also signed with France and Spain, known as the Treaties of Versailles of 1783, part of which put St. Vincent back under British control. Conflict between the British and the Black Caribs, led by defiant Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer, continued until 1796, when General Sir Ralph Abercromby crushed a revolt fomented by the French radical Victor Hugues. More than 5,000 Black Caribs were eventually deported to Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras.

Slavery was abolished in 1834. After the apprenticeship period, which ended prematurely in 1838, labour shortages on the plantations resulted in the immigration of indentured servants. The Portuguese came from Madeira starting in the 1840s and shiploads of East Indian labourers arrived between 1861-1880. Conditions remained harsh for both former slaves and immigrant agricultural workers, as depressed world sugar prices kept the economy stagnant until the turn of the century.

From 1763 until independence, St. Vincent passed through various stages of colonial status under the British. A representative assembly was authorized in 1776, Crown Colony government installed in 1877, a legislative council created in 1925, and universal adult suffrage granted in 1951.

During this period, the British made several unsuccessful attempts to affiliate St. Vincent with other Windward Islands in order to govern the region through a unified administration. The colonies themselves, desirous of freedom from British rule, made a notable attempt at unification called West Indies Federation, which collapsed in 1962. St. Vincent was granted associate statehood status on October 27th, 1969, giving it complete control over its internal affairs. Following a referendum in 1979, under Milton Cato St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence on the 10th anniversary of its associate statehood status, October 27th, 1979.

Natural disasters have featured in the country’s history. In 1902, La Soufrière volcano erupted, killing 2,000 people. Much farmland was damaged, and the economy deteriorated. In April 1979, La Soufrière erupted again. Although no one was killed, thousands had to be evacuated, and there was extensive agricultural damage. In 1980 and 1987, hurricanes compromised banana and coconut plantations; 1998 and 1999 also saw very active hurricane seasons, with Hurricane Lenny in 1999 causing extensive damage to the west coast of the island.

Geography Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 13 15 N, 61 12 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 389 sq km (Saint Vincent 344 sq km)
land: 389 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 84 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
Terrain: volcanic, mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: La Soufriere 1,234 m
Natural resources: hydropower, cropland
Land use: arable land: 17.95%
permanent crops: 17.95%
other: 64.1% (2005)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.01
per capita: 83 cu m/yr (1995)
Natural hazards: hurricanes; Soufriere volcano on the island of Saint Vincent is a constant threat
Environment – current issues: pollution of coastal waters and shorelines from discharges by pleasure yachts and other effluents; in some areas, pollution is severe enough to make swimming prohibitive
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of 32 islands and cays
Politics St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Queen Elizabeth II is head of state and is represented on the island by a governor general, the Honourable Sir Fedrick Ballantyne, a

OECSn office with mostly ceremonial functions. Control of the government rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. There is a parliamentary opposition made of the largest minority stakeholder in general elections, headed by the leader of the opposition. The current Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, affectionately called “Comrade.”

The country has no formal armed forces, though Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force includes a Special Service Unit.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are a full & participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

People Population: 118,432 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.1% (male 15,161/female 14,600)
15-64 years: 68.4% (male 41,855/female 39,105)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 3,402/female 4,309) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 28 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 28.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.231% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 15.82 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 5.96 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -7.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.34 years
male: 72.42 years
female: 76.31 years (2008 est.)

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