Since the first European discovery of St. Lucia, power over the island has passed between many hands, and each of the island's inhabitants has helped to create a unique culture. Amerindian culinary styles are just the beginning of the cultural diversity you'll find here.
Though the British hold political control of the island, there are many other cultural influences on St. Lucia. Remnants of the French influence are found throughout the island in everything from names to the language.
The Indians that inhabited the island of St. Lucia farmed cassava, yams, and sweet potatoes. These crops and local fish comprise much of the local food, and local fruits and vegetables make them strongly West Indian. Still, East Indian cuisine has also left its mark on the island's local dishes.
The British brought language, education, and judicial structure to the island. However, these elements have been strongly influenced by the cultures of the African slaves and the French, who fought with the British for control of the island for 150 years.
French arts, music, and dance have had a strong influence on the culture as well, but their most marked contribution is in the island's language. The French patois stands alongside English, which is the island's official language.
However, African cultural influences have been the most important in the island's history. West African slaves brought their culture from Africa and managed to maintain it, in part because they were by far the largest cultural group on the island.
...known for its yearly jazz festival...
St. Lucia may be small, but its worldwide contributions are quite large. This small West Indian island has offered up not just one, but two Nobel prizewinners. In 1979 St. Lucia's first Nobel Laureate, Sir W. Arthur Lewis, was honored with the Nobel Prize in Economics. Just over 10 years later in 1992, Derek Walcott received a Nobel Prize for Literature. But there are other reasons to visit the island.
St. Lucia is also widely known for its yearly jazz festival, where performers from around the world come to play and enjoy the best in jazz. This festival has grown from humble roots in 1991 to become one of the world's top cultural festivals, making St. Lucia Jazz a name to contend with on its own.
With so much to explore, it's easy to see how St. Lucia has earned a reputation as a unique Caribbean vacation spot. Its conflicted past has produced a cultural mix that is sure to astound you.
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