Lucia is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the
boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles,
it is located north of the islands of Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines and south of Martinique.
Amerindians first settled on the island in the 3rd century
AD, while the Caribs later took over. European discovery of
the island is somewhat vague, but it was probably discovered
around 1500 by the Spanish explorer Juan de la Cosa. After
some early failed attempts to settle there, the French and
British fought over the island, with its fine natural harbor
at Castries, during the 17th and 18th centuries (changing
possession 14 times), until Britain finally obtained control
in 1814. Slavery was finally abolished in 1838, freeing more
than 13,000 slaves. The island was a province of the short-lived
West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962. The island was granted
self-government in 1967 and independence in February 22, 1979.