Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island state in the Caribbean. The country is located in the southern part of the Little Antilles ( Windward Islands ). It consists of the main island of Saint Vincent and a group of smaller islands, the northern Grenadines, south of Saint Vincent. Closest neighboring states are Saint Lucia in the north, Barbados in the east and Grenada in the south. The most important of the smaller islands are Bequia, Canouan, Mustique and Mayreau.
The country was a British colony until 1979. Tourism is the main trade route. The capital is Kingstown.
Saint Vincent is named after the Spanish saint St. Vincent of Saragossa (Zaragoza) and was named by Kristoffer Columbus (1498); he discovered Saint Vincent on the weekend of January 22nd. The Grenadines are of Spanish: granada, ‘ pomegranate’.
National anthem is ‘Saint Vincent, Land so Beautiful’, ‘Saint Vincent, you beautiful country’.
People and society
Most of the population is of African origin (66 percent). Some are of East Indian (6 percent), European (4 percent) and Caribbean origin (2 percent). The majority of the settlement lives along the coast of Saint Vincent which has high population density. Just over half the population is urban and just over a quarter live in Kingstown.
The Grenadines are sparsely populated and many of the islands are uninhabited. The country has a strong population increase, which is moderated by emigration.
Life expectancy at birth is 77.13 years for women and 73.11 years for men (2015).
75 percent of the population are Protestants ; 47 percent are Anglicans and 28 percent are Methodists. Roman Catholics make up 13 percent. Others include Seventh-day Adventists and Hindus.
English is the official language. In addition to English, French Creole (Vincentian Creole) is widely used as a spoken language.
State and politics
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary-democratic and unitary monarchy with the British monarch as head of state. She is represented by a Governor-General who has a government by her side. The National Assembly, the House of Assembly, has 21 representatives, 15 of whom are elected representatives from one-person constituencies in the general election and 6 are senators elected by the Governor-General. The election period is 5 years.
Administratively, the land is divided into 6 parishes.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are members of the UN and several of the UN’s special organizations as well as of the World Health Organization, CARICOM and OAS.
The oldest known inhabitants, the Arawak -indianere who immigrated from South America. Caribbean Indians took control of the islands and were there when Kristoffer Columbus came to Saint Vincent in 1498. The first African slaves arrived in 1673. the number; in 1773 British supremacy was recognized.
In 1779 Saint Vincent was conquered by the French, but became British again in 1783. The Caribbean assisted by the French rebelled in 1795, but this was beaten down the following year; most of the caribas were deported to the Bahía Islands in Honduras. The original population was further reduced by volcanic eruptions in 1812 and 1902.
The slave release in 1834 weakened Saint Vincent and the Grenadines workforce and Portuguese and East Indian workers were introduced towards the end of the 19th century. An economic depression with a fall in sugar hit the country towards the end of the century. A hurricane in 1898 and the volcanic eruption in 1902, when a large part of the population perished, hampered economic recovery. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were of little economic importance to the British colonial power.
Until 1959, Saint Vinvent and the Grenadines were administered by the Governor of the Windward Islands. The islands were a member of the West Indies Confederation 1958-1962, with internal autonomy and a new constitution since 1960. In 1969, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines became an autonomous state associated with the United Kingdom, which retained responsibility for defense and foreign policy, and joined the Northern Grenadines an independent state in 1979. That same year, Saint Lucia was hit by a new volcanic eruption that left half of the cultivation area under ashes; The following year, Hurricane Allan contributed to further devastation; in 1986, the country was hit by a new devastating hurricane. The closure of the country’s sugar industry in 1985 caused major financial problems.
The natural disasters have made Saint Vincent and the Grenadines the poorest of the small states of the Caribbean; the tourism industry also experienced a decline in the 1990s. The high unemployment rate makes the country dependent on development aid. In recent years, investors have strengthened the tourism industry.
Economy and business
The economy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is based on agriculture, light industry and tourism. Agriculture accounts for 7.5 per cent of GDP (The World Factbook 2014) and bananas are the most important agricultural product. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the world’s largest exporter of arrow root. It also grows coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices and vegetables, and there are a modest number of cattle, pigs and sheep. The local fishing is modest.
Industry accounts for 17.9 per cent of GDP (2014) and produces processed agricultural products, dairy products and rooms as well as production of, among other things, clothing, diving suits, electrical components and furniture.
Service-providing industries, especially tourism, account for 74.6 percent of GDP (2014), but are less significant than in most other Caribbean states. Tourism supplies a lot of foreign capital; Yacht and cruise tourism is most important.
Knowledge and culture
The children attend 7-year-old primary school from the age of five, and the high school is 5-year-old (3 + 2 years). St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) offers higher education and The University of the West Indies, Open Cambus, provides online education. There are several medical colleges on St. Vincent.
There is one daily newspaper and several weekly newspapers.
The state broadcasting business is called the National Broadcasting of Saint Vincent and The Grenadines (SVG). It owns the SVGTV commercial television station; this one also covers Frenada and Saint Lucia. SVG also owns Hitz 103.7 and Ezee Radio. There are 12 FM radio stations. Television from Barbados is taken on certain parts of the islands.
Popular music includes big drum, calypso, gospel, reggae, soca and steelpan. String bands, quadriles and bélè music are also popular.
The jazz musician and poet Shake Keane (1927-1997) is the best known by few writers.
Cricket and football are the most popular sports.