Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Official name: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Area: 389 square kilometers (150 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Soufrière (1,234 meters/4,049 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Western

Time zone: 8 A.M. = noon GMT

Longest distances: Saint Vincent Island: 29 kilometers (18 miles) from north to south; 18 kilometers (11 miles) from east to west

Land boundaries: None

Coastline: 84 kilometers (52 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (often simply called Saint Vincent) is part of the Windward Islands group of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, north of the island of Grenada. With an area of about 389 square kilometers (150 square miles), the country is twice the size of Washington, D.C. Saint Vincent is divided into six parishes. The island of Saint Vincent itself is by far the largest of these; with an area of 344 square kilometers (133 square miles), it accounts for almost 90 percent of the country's total area.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has no outside territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

Saint Vincent has a tropical climate with an average temperature of 26°C (79°F). September is the warmest month, with an average temperature of 27°C (81°F), and January is the coolest, with an average temperature of 25°C (77°F). On Saint Vincent, yearly rainfall averages 231 centimeters (91 inches); in the mountainous regions, however, rainfall averages more than 380 centimeters (150 inches). The rainy season occurs from May or June through December. In most of the Grenadines, rainfall is the only source of fresh water.

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

Saint Vincent is a volcanic island that still has the active volcano, Soufrière, in its northern mountains. The remainder of the island contains rugged land, except for the lowlands and a valley in the interior, which are home, respectively, to tropical rainforests and Saint Vincent's best farmland. The Grenadines are generally rugged but low-lying.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Seacoast and Undersea Features

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is located between the Caribbean Sea to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Coral reefs surround the Grenadines. An underwater depression called the Tobago Basin lies to the east of the islands.

Sea Inlets and Straits

The Saint Vincent Passage is found north of that island. The Martinique Channel is situated to the south and separates the country from Grenada. The North Mayreau Channel lies between the Grenadine islands of Mayreau and Canouan.

Greathead Bay is located on the southern coast of Saint Vincent Island. The capital city of Kingstown is located on the shores of Kingstown Bay, also on the southern coaSaint

Islands and Archipelagos

The island of Saint Vincent itself is by far the largest in the country, with an area of 344 square kilometers (133 square miles). The Grenadines are a group of low-lying islands south of Saint Vincent, with wide beaches and coral reefs surrounding them. Union Island, Mayreau, Mustique, Canouan, Bequia, and many other uninhabited rocks, reefs, and cays are part of the Grenadines that belong to Saint Vincent. The remaining islands of the Grenadines belong to Grenada.

Coastal Features

Saint Vincent's eastern and western coasts are comprised of alternating rock cliffs and stretches of black sand beaches. The Grena-dines have low-lying land, wide beaches, and shallow harbors and bays.

6 INLAND LAKES

The Soufrière volcano on Saint Vincent contains a crater lake that is 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) wide.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

Rivers in Saint Vincent tend to be short and straight. The longest river is the Colonarie. It lies slightly northeast of Kingstown and is the site of a hydroelectric power plant.

The Falls of Baleine, located on the northern end of Saint Vincent, can be reached only by boat. These freshwater cascades drop about 18 meters (60 feet) to a natural pool. The area is a designated wildlife reserve.

8 DESERTS

There are no desert regions in Saint Vincent.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

The lowlands on Saint Vincent are covered with coconut and banana trees and arrowroot. Some of the island's most fertile farmland is housed in the Mesopotamia Valley, which is northeast of Kingstown. Forests and woodlands comprise 36 percent of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with most of Saint Vincent's interior containing tropical rainforest.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

Saint Vincent is dominated by a central volcanic range of mountains with four peaks: Soufrière, Richmond, Grand Bonhomme, and Saint Andrew. The Soufrière volcano is the country's highest peak. It is 1,234 meters (4,049 feet) high. A rugged landscape with steep slopes comprises most of the remaining areas of Saint Vincent. A volcanic ridge between Saint Vincent and Grenada that runs north to south forms the Grenadines. Mount Tobaoi (308 meters/1,010 feet), the highest point in the Grenadines, is found on Union Island.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

There are no significant caves or canyons in Saint Vincent.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

There are no major plateau regions in Saint Vincent.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

Black Point Tunnel is a passage of about 107 meters (350 feet) that links Grand Sable with Byrea Bay. British slaves constructed the tunnel to provide a transportation route for sugar exports.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Windward and Leeward Islands of the eastern Carribean are named for their relationship to the prevailing eastern blowing winds. "Windward" is the direction from which the wind blows, or the side that is most exposed to the wind. "Leeward" indicates the direction toward which the wind is blowing.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Philpott, Don. Saint Vincent & Grenadines . Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 1996.

Potter, Robert B. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines . Santa Barbara, CA: Clio, 1992.

Walker, Cas. Focus on the Carribean . London: Evans Brothers, 1992.

Walton, Chelle Koster. Caribbean Ways: A Cultural Guide . Westwood, MA: Riverdale, 1993.

Web Site

Welcome to St. Vincent & The Grenadines. http://www.svgtourism.com (accessed June 13, 2003).

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