The second largest of the Caribbean’s Windward Islands, St. Lucia has drawn more and more tourists each year to enjoy its lush natural resources. The island’s sandy white beaches sit beside dense emerald forests, while tropical jungle flowers adorn the banks of breathtaking waterfalls. St. Lucia offers not only dramatic countryside and pristine beaches, but also world-class diving, all-inclusive resorts and international cuisine. For vacationing shoppers, Castries has everything from great duty-free stores to a bustling 100-year-old market.
Castries is the capital and port of St Lucia, on the northwest coast of the island; population 59,600. From its almost enclosed harbour, it exports sugar cane, bananas, limes, coconuts, cacao, and rum. The town processes foodstuffs and drinks, and manufacturing industries include tobacco, textiles, wood, rubber and metal products, chemicals, and printing.
Castries was founded by the French in 1650 and in 1814 came under British control. The town was rebuilt after being largely destroyed by fire in 1948 and, when St Lucia gained independence in 1979, it became the capital of the new state. In 1981 the town became the headquarters of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), a regional security grouping of six English-speaking island states. It was this organization which, in the Grenada crisis of 1983, requested military intervention by the USA.