Castries

Castries
View of the port of Castries
Castries
Motto(s): 
Statio Haud Malefida Carinis  ("A Safe Harbour for Ships")[1]
Map of Castries Quarter, the district containing the city of Castries
The Quarter of Castries, showing Castries city (red dot)
Coordinates: 14°01′N 60°59′W / 14°01′N 60°59′W / 14.017; -60.983

Castries z/ (About this soundlisten), population 20,000, aggl. 53,639, is the capital and largest city of Saint Lucia, an island country in the Caribbean. The quarter with the same name had a population of 70,000 on 22 May 2013 and stretches over an area of 80 km2 (31 sq mi).

Castries is in a flood gut and is built on reclaimed land. It houses the seat of government and the head offices of many of foreign and local businesses. The city's design is in a grid pattern. Its sheltered harbour receives cargo vessels, ferry boats, and cruise ships. It houses duty-free shopping facilities such as Point Seraphine and La Place Carenage. Many restaurants offer menus from local to Chinese. Supermarkets and other shopping facilities provide goods. The city is well served by a bus system and taxi service.

St Lucia's main post office is in Castries. Because most parts of the country do not use standard street addresses, mail is largely sent to P.O. boxes. Any mail sent without a town name ends up in the Castries post office.

Castries is the birthplace of Arthur Lewis, winner of the 1979 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, as well as of Derek Walcott, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature.

History

In 1650, the fort aupres du Petit Cul-de-Sac et de la riviere du Carénage was founded by a group of 40 Frenchmen led by de Rousselan, when St. Lucia was purchased by Capt. du Parquet and Monsieur Houel from the French West India Company. The capital was moved to the south side of the harbor in 1769 by Gov. Baron de Micoud. In 1785, the village of Carénage was renamed Castries, after Charles Eugène Gabriel de La Croix, marquis de Castries, the French Minister of the Navy and Colonies.[4]

In 1835, the British built the western wharf in preparation for the coaling trade and the first steamship arrived in 1841, the RMS Solway.[4]:163,243–244

During World War II on 9 March 1942, the German U-161 sailed into Castries harbor at night and sank two allied ships,[4]:275[5] including the Canadian ocean liner RMS Lady Nelson, which was subsequently refloated in the harbour and taken to Canada to be converted to a hospital ship.

Castries has been rebuilt many times, following major fires on 15 Oct. 1805, 6 April 1813, and most notably on 19 June 1948.[4]:124–125,289