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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, independent country in the West Indies, consisting of the island of Saint Vincent and the northern islands of the Grenadines group. Part of the Windward Islands group in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lies south of Saint Lucia and north of Grenada. The largest of the Grenadines include Bequia, Canouan, Mustique, Mayreau, and Union.

An active volcano named La Soufriere dominates the island of Saint Vincent. Except for this volcanic peak, lush green rain forests blanket the mountainous interior of the island. The sandy beaches and coral reefs of the Grenadines make these small islands popular with travelers, especially the wealthy who arrive by yacht or small aircraft. The country does not yet have an airport that can handle large international airplanes.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the third smallest country in the Western Hemisphere in area, after Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada. The country’s total area is 389 sq km (150 sq mi), of which the island of Saint Vincent constitutes 344 sq km (133 sq mi). The capital and principal port, Kingstown (population, 2003 estimate; 29,000), is located on the southwestern coast of Saint Vincent. Most of the country’s people are descended from black Africans who were brought to the islands as slaves.

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