February 22, 2022

The Only Country on Earth Named After a Woman

By Paul William

February 22, 2022

Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links which means I receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through them.

There are 195 countries in the world today, but just one is named after a woman: the beautiful Caribbean island St. Lucia.

Below you’ll learn about the woman St. Lucia was named after, what the island used to be called, who owns the island, where it is, and some fun facts!

St. Lucia - caribbean island
St. Lucia – Caribbean Island – The only country named after a woman

Who is St. Lucia named after?

Saint Lucia is named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse, a Christian martyr who died in 382 AD during the Diocletianic Persecution. She was honored all throughout the middle ages and is still celebrated yearly on Saint Lucy’s Day, a traditional feast day observed each December 13th by Western Christians.

Was the island of St. Lucia always named St. Lucia?

St. Lucia actually wasn’t the original name of the island, and it’s changed several times!

It was previously known as both Louanalao and then Hewanorra by the native Arawaks and Caribs, two indigenous peoples of the Caribbean.

The name St. Lucia was given to the island by French and Spanish explorers around 1500-1600.

Is St. Lucia really the only place named after a woman?

The only other country that can possibly claim to be named after a woman is Ireland, which is named after Eire, the Celtic goddess of fertility.

But St. Lucia is the only country named after an actual living female historical figure, as opposed to a deity or character.

Where is St. Lucia located?

St. Lucia is an island in the chain of Caribbean islands between North America and South America.

To give you an idea of how far away it is from the US mainland, the average nonstop flight time from Miami to St. Lucia is about 3.5 hours, which is only about an hour further away than traveling from Miami to the Virgin Islands (2.5 hour flight).

Is St. Lucia part of the Virgin Islands?

People commonly ask if St. Lucia is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The answer is no, St. Lucia is not part of the US virgin islands, and is actually not a US territory at all. As you’ll read in the next section, the island has a storied history of several countries fighting for control, but the United States has never been involved at any point.

Who owns St. Lucia?

If you’re wondering who owns St. Lucia, the answer is a long and complicated one, filled with fighting and international diplomacy.

But here’s the short version:

During the 1600s the English, French, and Dutch all battled for control of Saint Lucia, as they wanted to colonize it for themselves. This fighting lasted until the early 1800s when the French officially ceded control to the English.

Then in 1979, St. Lucia finally became independent under the Commonwealth of Nations, a political association of 54 former British territories.

Final thoughts

It’s safe to say that the island of St. Lucia is the only country on earth named after a real life female historical figure, which is a super cool claim to fame.

If you’re looking for a not-too-far Caribbean destination to kick back and relax, you should be sure to cross this one off your bucket list!

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