Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (i/seɪnt ˈvɪnsənt æn ðə ɡrɛnəˈdiːnz/) is an island-country in the Lesser Antilles chain, namely in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean. Its 389-square-kilometre (150 sq mi) territory consists of the main island of Saint Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines, which are a chain of smaller islands stretching south from Saint Vincent Island to Grenada. To the north of Saint Vincent lies Saint Lucia, to the east Barbados. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is densely populated (over 300 inhabitants/km2) with its 120,000 people. Its capital is Kingstown, also its main port. The country has a French and British colonial history and is now part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, CARICOM, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.

The island now known as Saint Vincent was originally named Hairouna (“The Land of the Blessed”) by the native Caribs. The Caribs aggressively prevented European settlement on Saint Vincent until 1719. Prior to this, formerly enslaved Africans, who had either been shipwrecked or who had escaped from Barbados, Saint Lucia and Grenada and sought refuge in mainland Saint Vincent, intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Garifuna or Black Caribs.

Administrative divisions

Administratively, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is divided into six parishes. Five parishes are on Saint Vincent, while the sixth is made up of the Grenadine islands. Kingstown is located in the Parish of Saint George and is the capital city and central administrative centre of the country.

Parish Area (km²) Population (2000) Capital
Charlotte Parish 149 38,000 Georgetown
Grenadines Parish 43 9,200 Port Elizabeth
Saint Andrew Parish 29 6,700 Layou
Saint David Parish 80 6,700 Chateaubelair
Saint George Parish 52 51,400 Kingstown
Saint Patrick Parish 37 5,800 Barrouallie
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lies to the west of Barbados south of Saint Lucia and north of Grenada in theWindward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, an island arc of the Caribbean Sea. The islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines include the main island of Saint Vincent (344 km2/133 sq mi) and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines(45 km2/17 sq mi), which are a chain of small islands stretching south from Saint Vincent to Grenada.

The island of Saint Vincent is volcanic and includes little level ground. The windward side of the island is very rocky, while the leeward side has more sandy beaches and bays. The country’s highest peak is La Soufrière volcano.

While the official language is English, most Vincentians speak a creole language known as Vincentian Creole.[3][4][5] Standard English is the language used in education, government and other formal domains, while Vincentian Creole, commonly referred to as ‘dialect’, is used in informal situations such at home and among friends. The various ethnic groups may also still use their native languages such as Bhojpuri.

Sport and Music

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has its own soccer league, the NLA Premier League, and also a national (association) football team. A notable Vincentian footballer is Ezra Hendrickson, former national team captain who played at several Major League Soccer clubs in the United States and is now an assistant coach with the Seattle Sounders FC.[6]

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines also have their own national rugby union team which are ranked 74th in the world.

Music popular in Saint Vincent and the Grenadine includes big drum, calypsosocasteelpan and reggae. String band music, quadrille and bele music and traditional storytelling are also popular.

The national anthem of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is “Saint Vincent Land so Beautiful“, adopted upon independence in 1979.