Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Independence Day is observed on 27 October.
This year marks the country’s 43rd anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Caribbean, located in the southeast Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. Its 369 square kilometres territory consists of the main island of Saint Vincent and two-thirds of the northern part of the Grenadines – a chain of 32 smaller islands.
The first contact with Europeans took place on 22 January 1498 when Christopher Columbus sighted the main island naming it after Saint Vincent, whose feast day is 22 January.
Over the centuries possession of the islands was disputed by the British, French and Spanish and strongly resisted by the Caribs.
Britain won the European rights to the islands under the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, with a plantation economy based on sugar and slave trading emerging in the 19th century.
St Vincent and the Grenadines was a member of the Federation of the West Indies. After its dissolution in 1962, and the movement of the larger Caribbean countries to gain independence, the transition towards independence began.
St. Vincent was granted “associate statehood” status by Britain on 27 October 1969. While this gave St. Vincent complete control over its own internal affairs, it fell short of complete independence.
It was exactly ten years later, on 27 October 1979, when St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence following a referendum.
It became a constitutional monarchy with the late Queen Elizabeth II as the head and Milton Cato as first prime minister.