St Vincent and the Grenadines country profile

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26 October 2012

Updated 25 August 2023

The multi-island country of St Vincent and the Grenadines is home to La Soufriere, an active volcano which last erupted in 1979.

Of the many islands and cays that make up the Grenadines, Mustique, Palm Island and Union Island are haunts of the rich and famous – offering yachting, diving and fine beaches.

Efforts are being made to diversify the economy away from bananas. A new international airport, Argyle International Airport, was opened in 2017 to help boost the tourism sector.


Capital: Kingstown Area: 389 sq kmPopulation: 104,300Languages: English, Vincentian CreoleLife expectancy: 69 years (men) 74 years (women)


Head of state: King Charles III, represented by a governor

Prime minister: Ralph Gonsalves

Image source, Getty Images

Ralph Gonsalves has been the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines since 2001. A former university lecturer and lawyer, he leads the Unity Labour Party (ULP).

In November 2020, he made history by securing the fifth consecutive victory of his Unity Labour Party in a general election.

In April 2021, the La Soufrière volcano erupted, sending ash several miles into the atmosphere. Approximately 22,400 people were evacuated from areas close to the volcano. The eruption damaged critical services, infrastructure, and agriculture, and affected the entire population of the island of St Vincent.

The World Bank provided $20m to address immediate needs in the same month and then allocated a further $50m for budget support in June 2021.

In November 2021 it approved a further $40m for the Volcanic Eruption Emergency Project in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

There are several private radio stations and a national radio service which is partly government-funded.


Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Tropical rainforest on Saint Vincent

Some key dates in the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines:

1300 – Carib Indians of South America conquer the indigenous Arawak Indians.

1498 – Christopher Columbus visits the main island on St Vincent’s Day.

1783 – Treaty of Versailles recognises St Vincent as a British colony.

1795-97 – Britain, with French support, deports 5,000 Caribs to Belize following an uprising.

1834 – Slavery abolished, forcing plantation owners to free more than 18,000 slaves; foreign labourers indentured.

1958-62 – St Vincent is a member of the British-sponsored West Indies Federation.

1979 – Independence. A revolt on Union Island by a group that wanted more power in the country’s new government is put down.

2003 – The country is removed from a list of nations deemed uncooperative in the fight against money-laundering.

2009 – Voters reject the proposal to replace the monarchy with a republic in a constitutional referendum.

2021– La Soufriere volcano erupts, some 22,400 people are evacuated

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Efforts are being made to diversify the economy away from bananas and to develop the tourism sector

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Publish date : 2023-08-25 03:00:00

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