St Lucia

St Lucia is a stunning Caribbean island where French, African and East Indian cultures have fused to create not only an exciting way of life but a truly delicious cuisine. Its awe-inspiring white sand beaches and gorgeous rainforest hikes are just the beginning of what makes Saint Lucia a truly unforgettable destination.

The country’s rich history has also inspired a host of artists, writers, poets, thinkers and more. The Nobel Prize winning playwright and poet Derek Walcott is a native of Saint Lucia, as is the internationally acclaimed artist and wood sculptor Joseph Eudovic. The stunning landscapes of St Lucia have been a source of inspiration for many photographers, too.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, St Lucia was inhabited by indigenous peoples like the Carib and Arawaks. These populations were highly dependent on the island’s natural resources and developed a thriving food culture that was rich in vegetables, fruits, seafood and other foods. The arrival of the Europeans on St Lucia in the seventeenth century had an immense impact on the nation’s cultural landscape. The virtual demise of the Amerindian population and the creation of an export-driven plantation economy based on the use of slave labor established the basic social structure of Saint Lucia. This, in turn, created a fundamental division between the European minority and the enslaved African majority.

These differences continue to have an effect on Saint Lucia today. The legacy of the French and British colonial periods is visible in the country’s architecture, educational system and political structure. The French influence can be seen most prominently in the islands’ luscious cuisine, music and dance styles, as well as in the language of Creole patois, which stands alongside English in public and governmental institutions.

The vibrant folk and oral traditions of Saint Lucia include a variety of musical instruments such as the cuatro and banjo. Popular folk songs feature themes of the island’s rich history and heritage. Kwadril is an important Afro-Lucian folk dance, and the country has a burgeoning pop music industry.

Saint Lucians are functionally bilingual, and many speak the local creole language, Kweyol, a mixture of French and African languages. English is taught in schools and is used in most governmental, business and formal settings. Many older residents, particularly in rural areas, have only rudimentary knowledge of English. In addition, the island’s growing cosmopolitan population has contributed to the development of a diverse and varied culinary tradition that is the result of blending the various ethnic groups that comprise the island’s unique national culture.

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