St Lucia is a beautiful Caribbean island nation in the Lesser Antilles named by French colonizers after Lucy of Syracuse. Today the island is a renowned holiday destination with 5 star resorts and luxury property attracting visitors year round, many of which do not stop to take in its rich history.
The island’s first known inhabitants were the Arawak and Carib people for whom the entire Caribbean region was named. St Lucia was the object of European power struggles, a location of the darkest practices of slavery, and the home of brave freedom fighters. Remnants of the area’s rich history are still found in many parts of the economically thriving island today.
St Lucia: Spoil of War
The first permanent European settlers were the French who signed a treaty with the native Caribbeans in 1660. From 1660 until 1814, the island was part of a tug of war for power between the French and British. A visit to Fort Charlotte in Morne Fortune uncovers ruins of 18th century battlements used by the French to defend “their property” against the British. Pigeon Island an islet now belonging to St Lucia was the site of a British installation used to defend “its new territory” from the French Navy stationed in Martinique. The island was even used by the U.S. during World War II, and old bunkers are uniquely preserved at Pigeon Island National Park. Many of the French and British historic military buildings have been restored and repurposed for other functions. The two colonial powers each left remnants of their occupation in St Lucia that are still visible today.