Geography of Saint Lucia

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Saint Lucia
Nickname: Helen of the West Indies
Saint Lucia geography map en.png
Map of Saint Lucia
Karibik St Lucia Position.png
Geography
LocationCaribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates13°53′N 60°58′W / 13.883°N 60.967°W / 13.883; -60.967 (Saint Lucia)Coordinates: 13°53′N 60°58′W / 13.883°N 60.967°W / 13.883; -60.967 (Saint Lucia)
ArchipelagoWindward Islands
Area616 km2 (238 sq mi)
Coastline158 km (98.2 mi)
Highest elevation950 m (3120 ft)
Highest pointMount Gimie
Administration
Saint Lucia
District10
Largest settlementCastries (pop. 10,634)
Demographics
Population160,765 (2005)
Pop. density260.98/km2 (675.94/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsAfrican 82.5%, Mulatto 11.9%, East Indian 2.4%, White 1.0%, Other or unspecified 3.1%
Map of Saint Lucia
Enlargeable, detailed map of Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is one of many small land masses composing the insular group known as the Windward Islands.[1] Unlike large limestone areas such as Florida, Cuba, and the Yucatan Peninsula, or the Bahamas, which is a small island group composed of coral and sand, St. Lucia is a typical Windward Island formation of volcanic rock that came into existence long after much of the region had already been formed.[1]

St. Lucia's physical features are notable.[1] Dominated by high peaks and rain forests in the interior, the 616-square-kilometer (238-square-mile) island is known for the twin peaks of Gros Piton (13°48′36″N 61°04′03″W / 13.81013°N 61.06753°W / 13.81013; -61.06753 (Gros Piton))and Petit Piton (13°49′59″N 61°03′49″W / 13.83308°N 61.0635°W / 13.83308; -61.0635 (Petit Piton)) on the southwestern coast, its soft sandy beaches, and its magnificent natural harbors.[1] Mount Gimie, the highest peak, is located in the central mountain range and rises to 958 meters (3,143 ft) above sea level, a contrast that is also evident in the abrupt climatic transition from coastal to inland areas.[1] The steep terrain also accentuates the many rivers that flow from central St. Lucia to the Caribbean.[1] Fertile land holdings, which support banana farming, are scattered throughout the island.[1]

St. Lucia has a tropical, humid climate moderated by northeast trade winds that allow for pleasant year-round conditions.[1] Mean annual temperatures range from 26 °C (78.8 °F) to 32 °C (89.6 °F) at sea level and drop to an average of 13 °C (55.4 °F) in the mountain peaks.[1] The abundant annual rainfall accumulates to approximately 2,000 millimeters (78.7 in), with most precipitation occurring during the June to December wet season.[1] Hurricanes are the most severe climatic disturbance in this area and have been known to cause extensive damage.[1] Although St. Lucia has historically been spared from serious hurricane destruction, Hurricane Allen decimated the agricultural sector and claimed nine lives in 1980.[1] More recently, in 2010, Hurricane Tomas claimed seven lives and also caused extensive agricultural damage, particularly to the island's burgeoning cocoa crop.

General[edit]

Saint Lucia is in the Caribbean, an island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Saint Vincent and north-west of Barbados. The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort.

Measurements[edit]

  • total area: 616 km2 (238 sq mi)
  • length: 43.5 km (27.0 mi)
  • width: 22.5 km (14.0 mi)
  • comparative area: The same as Toronto or 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
  • Coastline: 158 km (98 mi)

Maritime claims[edit]

  • 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi)
  • contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles (44.4 km; 27.6 mi)
  • exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi)
  • territorial sea: 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)

Climate[edit]

Saint Lucia is in the tropical zone, although its climate is moderated by northeast trade winds. Since it is fairly close to the equator, and the surrounding sea surface temperature only fluctuates 3°C (25-28°C) the coastal air temperature does not fluctuate much between winter and summer. The dry season is from December to June, and the rainy season is from June to November. Average daytime temperatures are around 30 °C (86.0 °F), and average night time temperatures are around 24 °C (75.2 °F). Average annual rainfall ranges from 1,300 mm (51.2 in) on the coast to 3,810 mm (150 in) in the mountain rainforests.

Climate data for St Lucia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29
(84)
29
(84)
29
(84)
30
(86)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
30
(86)
29
(84)
30
(86)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26
(79)
26
(79)
26
(79)
27
(81)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
27
(81)
26
(79)
27
(81)
Average low °C (°F) 23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
24
(75)
25
(77)
25
(77)
25
(77)
25
(77)
25
(77)
25
(77)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(76)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 125
(4.9)
95
(3.7)
75
(3.0)
90
(3.5)
125
(4.9)
200
(7.9)
245
(9.6)
205
(8.1)
225
(8.9)
260
(10.2)
215
(8.5)
160
(6.3)
2,020
(79.5)
Average precipitation days 14 9 10 10 11 15 18 16 17 20 18 16 174
Mean monthly sunshine hours 248 226 248 240 248 240 248 248 240 217 240 248 2,891
Source: climatestotravel[2]

Terrain[edit]

Volcanic and mountainous with some broad, fertile valleys.

Extreme points[edit]

Natural resources[edit]

Saint Lucia has forests, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, and a geothermal potential.[3]

Land use[edit]

About 18% of the land is used for agricultural practices. Most farms consist of less than 5 acres of land. The main agricultural products grown in Saint Lucia are bananas, coconuts, cocoa beans, mangoes, avocados, vegetables, citrus fruits, and root crops such as yams and sweet potatoes. Most of these agricultural products are grown for local consumption, but bananas and coconuts are mainly grown for export, with some vegetables. Bananas occupy about 14,826 acres of the agricultural land, while coconuts occupy 12,400 acres.

Saint Lucia Land Usage as of 2018[3]
Type Percent Area
Total Agricultural Land 17.4 107.2 km2 (41.4 sq mi)
- arable land 4.9 30.2 km2 (11.7 sq mi)
- permanent crops 11.5 70.8 km2 (27.3 sq mi)
- permanent pasture 1.0 6.2 km2 (2.4 sq mi)
- irrigated land 2 30 km2 (12 sq mi)
(2012 est.)
Forests and woodland 77.0 474.3 km2 (183.1 sq mi)
Other 5.6 34.5 km2 (13.3 sq mi)

Forest reserves and botanical gardens in Saint Lucia:

Diamond Falls at Diamond Botanical Gardens

Islands[edit]

The island of the island nation of Saint Lucia include the following:[4]

Districts[edit]

Districts of Saint Lucia and the forest reserve

The island of Saint Lucia is divided into 10 Districts and the Forest Reserve:

  1. Anse la Raye, Leeward Caribbean Sea
  2. Canaries, Leeward Caribbean Sea
  3. Castries, Leeward Caribbean Sea
  4. Choiseul, Leeward Caribbean Sea
  5. Dennery, Windward Atlantic Ocean
  6. Grand Bois Forest Reserve, Internal (entrance at 13°55′31″N 61°00′33″W / 13.92541°N 61.0093°W / 13.92541; -61.0093 (Grand Bois Forest Reserve entrance))
  7. Gros Islet, Leeward Caribbean Sea, Windward Atlantic Ocean
  8. Laborie, Leeward Caribbean Sea
  9. Micoud, Windward Atlantic Ocean
  10. Soufrière, Leeward Caribbean Sea
  11. Vieux Fort, Windward Atlantic Ocean, Leeward Caribbean Sea

Natural hazards[edit]

The island country of Saint Lucia is effected by hurricanes and volcanic activity. The island was severely affected by Hurricane Allen in 1980 and Hurricane Tomas in 2010, causing agricultural damage and a drop in visitor arrivals, but Saint Lucia has generally had fewer hurricanes than many other Caribbean islands, due to its southerly location. Hurricanes and volcanoes would both damage the coral.[5]

Environment[edit]

Current issues include deforestation and soil erosion, particularly in the northern region.

Saint Lucia is party to the following treaties and conventions:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Meditz, Sandra W.; Hanratty, Dennis M., eds. (1987). "St. Lucia: Geography". Islands of the Commonwealth Caribbean: a regional study. Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. p. 294-295. OCLC 49361510.
  2. ^ "St Lucia climate". Climates to travel. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b "CIA Factobook, Saint Lucia". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  4. ^ "Islads of Saint Lucia". GeoName. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  5. ^ "Saint Lucia Hurricanes". Hurricane City. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  • Higgins, Chris (2001). St. Lucia. Montreal: Ulysses Travel Guides. ISBN 2-89464-396-9.
  • Philpott, Don (1999). St Lucia. Derbyshire: Landmark Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-901522-28-8.