Island nation in the West Indies, in the Windward Island s, including the island of St. Vincent and the small Grenadine Island s to the N. The capital is Kingstown.
After Columbus discovered the island in 1498, European efforts at colonization were met with fierce resistance from the native Carib Indians. The island was not settled until 1762 by the British. Captured by the French in 1779, it was returned to Great Britain in 1783. The British finally deported most of the Caribs to Roatan Island off Honduras in 1797 and into the 19th century introduced Portuguese, East Indian, and black African slave labor to work the plantations.
Volcanic eruptions by Mt. Soufriere in 1902, and again in 1979, destroyed much of the economy. Part of the West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962, the island s have formed a self-governing state under Great Britain since 1969 and gained independence in 1979.
In 1980 and 1987, 1998, and 1999 hurricanes devastated the island ’s agriculture and infrastructure.