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Debbie on La Soufrière
An interesting name for a country with an interesting history. The country's first known inhabitants were Arawaks, later driven out by Caribs. In 1627 Charles I of England granted the island to Lord Carlisle. Charles II granted it to Lord Willoughby in 1672, and then possession was disputed by the British, French and Spanish. All these claims were resisted by the Caribs. In 1773, under an Anglo/Carib treaty, the Caribs were allowed to continue to live independently in the north of the island.
France took the island in 1779, but restored it to Britain in 1783 under the Treaty of Versailles. There was a Carib revolution in 1795/96, with some French help from Martinique. When this had been crushed, the rebels were deported to the island of Roatan in the Bay of Honduras. In 1812 La Soufrière erupted and devastated much of the island, which had subsisted on a plantation economy. In the second half of the 19th century the sugar market slumped, and that lasted until the end of the century. A series of natural disasters also followed, including a hurricane and a further eruption of La Soufrière in 1902 which devastated the northern half of the island and killed 2000 people.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' move to full independence started relatively late, in 1962, after the break up of the West Indies Federation. It became a self-governing state in association with Britain in 1969 and full independence came in October of 1979.
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