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Things to know about Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Kingstown, also referred to as the “City of Arches”
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It consists of the island of Saint Vincent and the northern Grenadine Islands, which stretch southward toward Grenada. The island of Saint Vincent lies about 20 miles southwest of Saint Lucia and 100 miles west of Barbados. It is 18 miles long and has a maximum width of 11 miles. The larger islands of the Grenadines associated with Saint Vincent are Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, Mustique, Prune (Palm) Island, Petit Saint Vincent Island, and Union Island. The Tobago Cays, just to the east of Mayreau, have been designated a wildlife reserve. The island of Saint Vincent has thickly wooded volcanic mountains running north-south and many short swift streams though numerous, the streams are small except after heavy rains.
English is the official language. An English patois is commonly spoken and referred to in some academic quarters as “nation language”
“Pax et justitia” (“Peace and justice”) was used as a flag badge on the British Blue Ensign when Saint Vincent was an associated state of the United Kingdom from 1969 to 1979.
Roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish is the national dish of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The breadfruit is typically roasted on open fire and the fish is marinated in lemon juice then lightly battered in flour served with a sauce seasoned with onions, thyme, garlic and other herbs/vegetables.
Music & Culture:
The music of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines includes thriving music based on Big Drum, calypso, soca, steelpan and also reggae. String band music, quadrille, bélé music and traditional storytelling are also popular. Music is a big part of Vincentian culture. In December, the celebration of Nine Mornings Festival that started in 1913 highlights the best of Vincy culture in a holiday spirit– music, dance and art. It’s regarded as one of the key moments that inspire national pride. Every March, locals head to the Emerald Valley Resort on Saint Vincent for the Rhythm & Blues Festival, a two-day event of soulful Caribbean tunes. Gospel Fest takes place during the month of April and is a celebration of traditional Caribbean gospel music.
Roughly 70% of the Saint Vincent are descendants of Africa. The remaining are mixed between African, European, Carib as well as South Asian/East Indian ancestry. It is important to note that there are descendants of the Garifuna culture represented here as well.
Key Historical Fact to Know:
The name Saint Vincent originally applied to the mainland and the group of smaller islands associated with it. After the attainment of independence in 1979 the multi-island state was renamed Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The island’s two highest peaks are both on the volcano Soufrière in the north, which erupted disastrously in 1812 and in 1902, seriously affecting the country’s agriculture and temporarily displacing residents of communities around the foothills of the volcano. The 1902 eruption coincided with that of Mount Pelée on Martinique. Soufrière became active again in 1979, repeating the cycle of agricultural damage and massive evacuation. The volcanic ash, which spread as far as Barbados, is said to have enhanced the fertility of the soil. The La Soufriere Volcano has erupted once again on April 9, 2021. The suavity and damage of this most recent eruption is not yet known.
There are 32 islands that make up the country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines but only 9 of these islands are comprised of their total population which is approximately 110,700 as of 2020.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a constitutional monarchy.
The stylized V in the center of the flag represent the rich fertile vegetation of the island, sun and the sea.
Tea meetings are a traditional cultural practice that involves songs and speeches.
Before European contact, Ciboney (Indians of the Greater Antilles) inhabited the island first before being displaced by the Arawak people.