History and museums, Natural sights
Gros Islet (English: Large Island) is a community located near the northern tip of the island country of Saint Lucia. Originally a quiet fishing village, it has gone on to become one of the more popular tourist destinations in the country.
Originally settled by the Carib (and possibly Arawak), a French map from 1717 provides the first identification of the area as Gros Islet. The community has had a long history of being a Roman Catholic parish, as the first priests who arrived on the island settled in the village in 1749. Gros Islet was first settled by the French from Martinique.
In 1778, as a retaliation for the declaration of war on the British by the French, the British navy captured the island of Saint Lucia from the French, and built a naval base at Gros Islet Bay in 1782 - temporarily changing the name to Fort Rodney. The island as a whole has switched hands between the British and French throughout its existence.
In modern times, the community has continued to flourish. Between 1991 and 2001 the population rose 54%; the highest rise in the country. In 2001, the population was 19,409, making it the second most-populous community in Saint Lucia, up from 13,505 in the 1991 census and 10,164 in the 1980 edition. Of this number, 9,307 were male and 10,102 were female.
A nearby mangrove swamp was dredged to form Rodney Bay Marina and many hotels, resorts and villas have since appeared. However the old village of Gros Islet is still a flourishing district.