(Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). State of Central America (389 km²). Capital: Kingstown. Population: 104,000 (2008 estimate). Language: English (official), Creole-English. Religion: Anglicans 41.6%, Protestants 21.2%, Catholics 11.5%, others 25.7%. Currency unit: East Caribbean dollar (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.766 (92nd place). Borders: Atlantic ocean. Member of: Commonwealth, OAS, UN and WTO, EU associate.
TERRITORY: HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
The main island was formerly inhabited by ciboney, then subjected to the Arawaks, in turn subjugated by the Caribs. Among the last to be colonized, the island was disputed by the British and the French. According to itypetravel, the population consists essentially of blacks (65.5%) and mulattoes (23.5%) but there are also minorities of Asians and Europeans. The average density is 267 residents / km²; just over half of the residents live in the city and the rest are distributed in the coastal villages of Saint Vincent. The main center is the capital Kingstown, located on the southwestern coast of the island.
The tropical forest, which occupies a little less than a third of the country’s surface, is the habitat of the Saint Vincent parrot, an endangered species, of snakes and aguti. The marine fauna is varied and includes sharks, octopuses, moray eels, turtles; However, the pollution of the seas and coasts caused by discharges from boats has caused serious damage to the marine ecosystem and is such as to make bathing impractical in some areas. Protected areas cover 1.2% of the territory and are divided into forest reserves, wildlife and marine parks.
The country, whose economy is mainly linked to the primary sector, has a GDP of US $ 601 million and a GDP per capita of US $ 5,615 (2008); unemployment is high (almost one fifth of the active population in 2000). § Agriculture is based on the cultivation of bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes (sweet potatoes), coconuts, sugar cane, nutmeg, arrowroot, from which we get the ‘ arrowroot (a particular starch used in the confectionery field), and, recently, subsistence crops. Despite the active international fight against drug trafficking and the open hostility of the United States, the country also produces illegal marijuana crops. Agriculture has long been the recipient of government efforts aimed at implementing agrarian reform and improvements both in production methods and in the marketing of products: from 1986, for example, the production yield of the large Orange Hill estate began (12,000 ha, in a cooperative form), structured as a center for agricultural research and experimentation. § A rather modest role is played by both farming and fishing. § Industry (cement factories, furniture factories, food companies for the production of flour and sugars, factories for assembly of electronic components) is growing: funds have been allocated to it for the modernization of infrastructures; not only that, but a development body has also been set up to promote joint venture with foreign companies. § Foreign trade, seriously deficient (the country depends on international aid, mainly from the European Union), is carried out with France, Greece, Italy, Russia and Great Britain for exports; with Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Germany for imports. Main export products are bananas, then arrowroot, taro, flour, rice and tennis rackets; imports, on the other hand, consist mainly of food products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, fertilizers, minerals and fuels. § Road communications are good and the port of Kingstown is fairly well equipped; Major airports are Arnos Vale (at Kingstown), Bequia and Union. § The construction sector is also growing, encouraged by the development of construction linked to the increasingly massive spread of holiday homes on the Grenadine islands. The increase in tourist flows is also positive even if the volume of entries to the islands is lower than the main Caribbean destinations, also due to the absence of an international airport in the country.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines became a British colony in the century. XVIII. Administered until 1959 by the governor of the British Antilles, following the constitutional reform of 1960 it had its own administration. In 1967 almost all the colonies of the archipelago became States associated with the United Kingdom, while Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had to wait another two years, until 27 October 1969. An independent state within the Commonwealth from 27 October 1979, the country was led from a Labor government until the 1984 elections, won by the conservatives of the New Democratic Party (NDP), whose leader, James F. Mitchell, was re-elected prime minister in the subsequent consultations of 1989 and 1994; in 2001 a Labor (Ralph E. Gonsalves) returned to the head of the government.
The archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has the typical cultural characteristics of the other Caribbean islands: the traditions are a set of ancient African customs and elements of the colonial past. The buildings also reflect the history of the domination of the islands: in the capital, Kingstown, the Saint George’s Cathedral, Anglican, dates back to 1820 and is in Georgian style; Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Roman Catholic, was built in 1823 and features typical neo-Gothic elements. The most widespread figurative art is painting (Gary Peters, Joseph Esquina, Lennox “Dinks” Johnson among the most active artists) in which the pre-eminent subjects are the natural landscapes of the islands. Support and promotion for artists comes from the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Visual Arts Society, established in 2003. Written literature is rather scarce, while oral traditions persist, and the ability to tell stories, real anecdotes or related to a mythical past, is considered an important social skill. Folklore groups and singers are mainly dedicated to calypso, soca, reggae, percussion (the steel pan drum is typical). Among the most common activities, halfway between work and hobby, there is the construction of boats. Jewelery and wooden artifacts are other local handicrafts. The national dish is fruit bread with fish, a basic element, together with the vegetables and fruit themselves, of the diet. A particular type of rum is also typical of the islands. In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, among sports, mainly cricket and football, clearly of Anglo-Saxon derivation, are practiced.