The United Nations recognizes a 195 sovereign states (193 member states and 2 non-member observer states) around the world. Of this total, only one is named after a woman: Saint Lucia. Also known as Saint Lucie, the nation is one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful destinations. The small island country was named by French settlers who were the first Europeans to explore the island. Although certain territories may be named after a woman or group of women, such as the Virgin Islands which is named after Saint Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins, Saint Lucia is the only sovereign state to be named after a woman.
Naming of Countries
The names of countries vary widely. Some are named after their location on the world map, while others are named after a feature of the land, such as Iceland. Many countries earned their names from the largest tribes in the region, such as Switzerland, which was named after the Schwyz people. Similarly, although smaller in number, some countries are named after people, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Bolivia and Saint Lucia. However, Saint Lucia, named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse, is the the only country named after female.
Geographic Location of Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is an island nation located in the eastern reaches of the Caribbean Sea and is part of the Lesser Antilles. Its closest neighboring countries are Barbados to the southwest, Martinique to the north, and Saint Vincent to the south and southwest. Saint Lucia covers a total land area of only 238 square miles, ranking it among the smallest countries in the world. According to the 2010 census, Saint Lucia had a population of approximately 165,600 people. The largest city and capital of the country is Castries, which is home to roughly 35% of the population. The remainder of the population is distributed across other significant towns including Vieux Fort, Gros Islet, and Soufriere.
Saint Lucia is a volcanic island and also one of the most mountainous of the Caribbean islands. Mount Gimie is the highest point in the country, with an elevation of 3,120 feet above sea level. The Pitons are also vast mountains, located between Choiseul and Soufriere on the western end of the island, and are Saint Lucia’s most famous landmark. Saint Lucia is also known for having the world’s only drive-in volcano, which is one of the most popular activities for tourists visiting the interior of the island. The country is also endowed with many lush rainforests.
As a member of the British Commonwealth, Saint Lucia falls under partial jurisdiction of the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who also serves as the country’s Head of State. However, Saint Lucia's Governor-General acts on behalf of the Queen on the Island. Saint Lucia’s parliament is composed of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Assembly. The country’s prime minister is head of the political party supported by a majority of members of the House of Assembly. The House of Assembly has 17 members elected to serve for five years and the Senate has 11 members who are nominated.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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