October 1780 Hurricanes
October 1780 Hurricanes

Did you know from 1756 – 1831 St. Lucia was laid waste by six hurricanes?

The most devastating occurred on October 10, 1780, October 21, 1817 and August 11, 1831.

The hurricane of 1780 was probably the most destructive that was ever experienced in this hemisphere. It ravaged the whole of the Lesser Antilles but its main force was felt in Barbados, Martinique, St. Vincent and St. Lucia. The loss of human lives in these four islands were calculated at twenty-two thousand.

With respect to the hurricane of 1817 no detailed information was collected since there was no newspapers being published in St. Lucia at that time. The loss of life was not as great as that of 1780. However, the damage done to estates, other property as well as shipping severely affected the agricultural and mercantile communities.

The hurricane of August 1831 ravaged St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Vincent. Barbados suffered the most destruction while St. Lucia suffered the least.

Did you know that during the hurricane season the feeling of fear was so intense by the public that special prayers were offered in churches around the island?

The “Miserere mei, Deus” (Have mercy on me, God) and other prayers were offered during the period of the hurricane months, and at the conclusion of the hurricane season the “Te Deum” (Te Deum Laudamus/Thee, O God we Praise) was sung as a public thanksgiving.

Source: St. Lucia: Historical, Statistical and Descriptive by Henry Hegart Breen – 1844

This feature runs every 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]


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