Saint Lucia

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Saint Lucia is a sovereign federated state located in the Lesser Antilles in the east Caribbean. The second largest island in the Windward Islands group, it has been the subject of numerous conflicts between French and British interests during its history. The first human settlers, the Arawaks, arrived circa AD 200, followed by the Caribs around AD 800. European settlement began circa 1600 with the Dutch establishing a fortified harbour on the south-east coast of the island, and in 1605 a short-lived English outpost was installed with colonists from the ship Olive Branch. The French claimed the island in 1635 but disease and hostility from the Carib population made settlement difficult. In 1664, Thomas Warner formally claimed the island for England but the French had retaken it by 1666. Between 1666 and 1814, Saint Lucia changed ownership fourteen times. The island was part of the British Windward Islands from 1838 to 1885, and the West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962. Saint Lucia achieved self-government in 1967, and was granted full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1979. The capital and largest city is Castries. The population of Saint Lucia at the 2009 census was 173,765.