Capital and port of St Lucia, on the northwest coast of the island; population (2001 est) 59,600. From its almost enclosed harbour, it exports sugar cane, bananas, limes, coconuts, cacao, and rum. The town processes foodstuffs and drinks, and manufacturing industries include tobacco, textiles, wood, rubber and metal products, chemicals, and printing. The nearby Vigie airport aided the growth of a significant tourist industry.
History Castries was founded by the French in 1650 and in 1814 came under British control. The town was rebuilt after being largely destroyed by fire in 1948 and, when St Lucia gained independence in 1979, Castries became the capital of the new state. In 1981 the town became the headquarters of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), a regional security grouping of six English-speaking island states. It was this organization which, in the Grenada crisis of 1983, requested military intervention by the USA.
Features A notable landmark near Castries is Morne Fortune, a hill that offers a panoramic view of the town and the adjacent coastline.