Europeans first landed on the island in either 1492 or 1502 during Spain's early exploration of the Caribbean
Although the French pirate Francois de Clerc (also known as Jambe de Bois, due to his wooden leg) frequented Saint Lucia in the 1550s, it was not until years later, around 1600, that the first European camp was started by the Dutch, at what is now Vieux Fort.
The French officially claimed the island in 1635 but it was the English that started the next European settlement in 1639, which was wiped out by the Caribs. It was not until 1651 that the French came, this time from Martinique, commanded by De Rousselan, who held the island until his death in 1654.
In 1664, Thomas Warner (son of the governor of St Kitts) claimed Saint Lucia for England.
Near the end of the 18th century a French revolutionary tribunal was sent to Saint Lucia, headed by captain La Crosse. Only a short time later the British invaded again, France permanently ceding Saint Lucia in 1815
A 1924 constitution gave the island its first form of representative government. Ministerial government was introduced in 1956, and in 1958 St. Lucia joined the short-lived West Indies Federation, a semi-autonomous dependency of the United Kingdom. When the federation collapsed in 1962, following Jamaica’s withdrawal, a smaller federation was briefly attempted. After the second failure, the United Kingdom and the six windward and leeward islands - Grenada, St. Vincent, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis and Anguilla, and St. Lucia - developed a novel form of cooperation called “associated statehood”.
As an associated state of the United Kingdom from 1967 to 1979, St. Lucia had full responsibility for internal self-government but left its external affairs and defense responsibilities to the United Kingdom. This interim arrangement ended on February 22, 1979, when St. Lucia achieved full independence.
The badge of the Island, adopted in 1889 was a picture of the island with a harbour in which are anchored four sailing ships. On the left pier there is the royal ensign, on the right one the red ensign. In base is the motto: statio haud malefida carinis. (An in no way Unsafe Anchorage).
The first coat of arms of the Island was granted on the 16th of August 1939. It was:
Arms: Sable, a bamboo cross Or, in the first and the fourth quarters a rose and in the second and the third quarters a fleur-de-lys all Or.
Crowned with the Imperial State Crown.
Motto: statio haud malefida carinis.
After the granting of internal autonomy on the 1st of March 1967 the coat of arms was changed and augmented:
Arms: Or, a bamboo cross Sable charged with a roundel, thereon a chiefs-stool Or, in the first and the fourth quarters a rose and in the second and the third quarters a fleur-de-lys all Sable.
Crest: On a helmet guardant, a hand holding a torch, all Or.
Supporters: Two parrots Or.
Motto: The LAND The PEOPLE The LIGHT, in golden lettering on a black ribbon.
When on the 22nd of February 1979 complete independence was granted the achievement was changed again:
Arms: Azure, between a Tudor-rose Argent and Gules in the first and the fourth quarter, and a fleur-de-lys Or in the second and the third quarter, a bamboo-cross charged with a chiefs-stool Or.
Crest: On a steel helmet guardant, lambrequined Azure and Or, a hand holding a torch and two sugar-cane leaves in saltire, all proper.
Supporters: Two parrots proper, billed Or.
Motto: THE • LAND THE • PEOPLE THE • LIGHT.
The roses and the fleurs-de-lys are for the British and the French who contested the Island for a long time. The bamboo-croos is for the flora and religion of the Island and the stool, which has to be an african chiefs-stool, is for the ethnic origin of the islanders. The supporters, two Jacquot parrots (Amazona versicolor, Psittacidea), represent the fauna. In the crest the torch symbolizes the importance of St. Lucia for the navigation in the Caribbean.
The Coat of Arms of Saint Lucia is the official seal of the Government of Saint Lucia. It may not be used or reproduced in any form without the approval of the Government.
The official grant of the coat of arms of St. Lucia reads:
š See illustration in the head of this essay
TO SERVE AND PROTECT
The achievement of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force consists of the crowned arms of St. Lucia, surrounded by a garland and the name of the sevice on a listel below.
The motto of the service is “TO SERVE AND PROTECT”.
© Hubert de Vries 2007-10-09 Updated 2010-02-19;