St. Vincent was originally called Hairouna, Land of the Blessed, by the Caribs, who had ousted the original Arawaks. The Caribs prevented any European settlement until the 18th century. The French arrived and began growing coffee, cotton, tobacco and sugar on plantation. Like the rest of the Caribbean, African slaves were brought to work the plantation, along with the Caribs.
The original Caribs—Yellow Caribs, they came to be known—were joined by survivors from a slave ship that sank and came to be known as Black Caribs. For the remainder of the 18th century, the Caribs, Yellow and Black, the French and the British fought for control of St. Vincent. The British were victorious and shipped most of the remaining Caribs to an island off of Honduras.
While the Brits abolished slavery in 1807, it was not until 1834 when slavery was finally abolished in the British Empire, as well as in St. Vincent and in other British colonies.
In 1902, when the underlying plates of the earth’s surface were wreaking havoc in St. Pierre, Martinique 115 miles away, La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent erupted, killing 2,000 and damaging much of the country’s farmland.
In 1969, St. Vincent was given complete control over its internal affairs and in October 1979, SVG became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence.
The population of SVG was 103,220, as of 2013, with nearly 25,000 living in the capital city of Kingstown in St. Vincent. The language is English and the currency is the East Caribbean dollar (EC$). Today the economy revolves around agriculture, with bananas and coconut palms the major cash crops. Tourism continues to be a growing business, particularly on St. Vincent.