Saint Lucia ( LOO-shə; Saint Lucian Creole French: Sent Lisi, French: Sainte-Lucie) is a constitutional monarchy and an island country of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean. The island was previously called Iouanalao and later Hewanorra, names given by the native Arawaks and Caribs (respectively), two Amerindian peoples. Part of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 617 km2 (238 square miles) with an estimated population of over 180,000 people as of 2022. The nation's capital and largest city is Castries.
The first proven inhabitants of the island, the Arawaks, are believed to have first settled in AD 200–400. Around 800 AD, the island would be taken over by the Kalinago. The French were the first Europeans to settle on the island, and they signed a treaty with the native Caribs in 1660. England took control of the island in 1663. In ensuing years, England and France fought 14 times for control of the island, and the rule of the island changed frequently. Eventually, the British took full control in 1814. Because the island switched so often between British and French control, Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West" after the Greek mythological character, Helen of Troy.Representative government was introduced in 1924 with universal suffrage being established in 1951. From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the West Indies Federation. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state, while remaining as a Commonwealth Realm.Saint Lucia is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, the World Trade Organization, CARICOM and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). It is also a member of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.