Every 22 February is Independence Day on Saint Lucia to commemorate the day in 1979 when Saint Lucia gained complete independence from the UK.
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The history of Saint Lucia is long and rich. It was settled first of all by the Arawak people, followed by the Caribs. The original natives referred to their home as “Iguana Island”.
Then the Spanish discovered the island soon after reaching the New World but did nothing with it. By the mid-1500’s, the pirate Francois “Peg Leg” Le Clerc had established a settlement and galleon-raiding base on what he called “Pigeon Island”.
The Dutch took over Saint Lucia around the year 1600 and set up a major fortification there. Later, during the mid-1700’s, the French settled and took possession of the island. But the British soon challenged the French presence and invaded. The British finally took control over Saint Lucia in 1814, and they ruled until 1979 when they finally let the islanders go their own way.
Independence Day is occasion for major celebrations on Saint Lucia. There are many organised events every year, including church services, rugby competitions, table tennis and netball matches, film events, a Miss Independence Day Pageant, a ball, a military parade, and much more.
And with a day off work, Independence Day is also a great opportunity to take to the beaches, go fishing, or wander the trails of the island’s interior rain forest.