Did you know storm records for the Lesser Antilles date as far back as 1756?
Between 1756 and 1831, St. Lucia experience six hurricanes. The biggest one occurred on October 10, 1780 and killed an estimated 22,000 people in Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Martinique combined.
On October 21, 1817, another devastating storm arrived on the shores of St. Lucia killing 46 slaves along with Major-General Seymour, who died in the ruins of Government House.
Eyewitnesses described the country as a wreck and the abundant crop of canes, which in a very short time would have been cut, was either torn out of the ground or laid flat by the violent wind. The ground provisions were completely destroyed and the Negroes, whose owners had no means of alleviating their hunger was left wandering about for shelter.
Also dead were 160 mules and horses, more than 300 head of cattle, together with an vast number of sheep, hogs, etc. The estimated total loss was £550,807.
In 1819, barely on the road to recovery, a tropical storm hit St. Lucia, causing disastrous flooding and landslides. Once again, property, animals and crops were destroyed.
Subsequent years saw several more earthquakes. However another dreadful hurricane in August 1831 claimed the 1,500 lives in Barbados and caused much suffering in St. Vincent. St. Lucia escaped somewhat lightly with the light of ten or twelve lives and some damage to housing, crops and shipping.
Source: A History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis & Devaux -2012
This feature runs every Tuesday and Thursday. It is compiled by daughter of the soil Anselma Aimable, a former agricultural officer and former correspondent for Caribbean Net News, who has a deep interest in local culture and history. Send ideas and tips to [email protected]