A chronology of key events:
1501 - St Lucia sighted by Christopher Columbus.
1635 - The French establish a colony on St Lucia.
1660 - The French sign a treaty with the indigenous Carib people.
1814 - France cedes St Lucia to Britain following the Treaty of Paris; Britain proclaims the island a crown colony and brings in African slaves to work on the sugar cane plantations.
1834 - Slavery abolished.
1871-1956 - St Lucia a member of the Leeward Islands Federation.
1924 - St Lucia granted representative government.
1936 - St Lucia given a constitution providing for a majority of elected representatives in the legislative council.
1951 - St Lucia granted universal adult suffrage.
1958-62 - St Lucia a member of the Federation of the West Indies.
1964 - St Lucia ceases sugar cane production.
1967 - St Lucia becomes fully self-governing in internal affairs, with Britain remaining in charge of external matters and defence.
1979 - St Lucia becomes independent with John Compton, leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) as prime minister.
1979 - Allan Louisy becomes prime minister after his St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) wins the general election.
1981 - Louisy resigns following a split in the SLP and is replaced by the attorney-general, Winston Cenac.
1982 - John Compton returns to power after his UWP wins a decisive victory in the general election.
1987 - The UWP wins a narrow victory in the general election.
1992 - The UWP wins another general election.
1992 - Derek Walcott, a native of the capital, Castries, wins the Nobel Prize for literature.
1993 - Fall in the price of bananas leads to unrest and strikes by farmers and agricultural workers.
1996 - John Compton resigns and is succeeded by Vaughan Lewis as prime minister.
Kenny Anthony elected
1997 - Kenny Anthony becomes prime minister after his SLP-led coalition wins the country's biggest ever landslide in the general election.
2002 September - Tropical Storm Lili destroys about half of the banana crop. In some places entire plantations are wiped out.
2003 July - Parliament amends constitution to replace oath of allegiance to British monarch with pledge of loyalty to St Lucians.
2003 November - New criminal code passed, with controversial clauses on imprisonment for spreading "false news" and legalisation of abortion in some circumstances.
2004 July - Volcanic twin peaks - the Pitons - are declared a Unesco world heritage site.
Sir John Compton's last term
2006 December - Sir John Compton's UWP wins general elections.
2007 April - St Lucia says it will re-establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan, 10 years after it broke off relations in favour of China.
2007 September - Prime minister Sir John Compton dies, is replaced by Stephenson King.
Return of Kenny Anthony
2011 December - Kenny Anthony becomes prime minister after his SLP wins a snap general election.
2013 November - A Jamaican police team arrives to conduct an independent investigation into alleged extra-judicial killings by St Lucia's police in the 2010-11.
2014 May - St Lucia says it is planning to switch from the Privy Council in London to the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal.
2014 June - A law criminalising gang membership - aimed at curbing the growing problem of gang-related violence - comes into force.
2016 June - United Workers Party beats Labour in early parliamentary elections. Allen Chastanet becomes prime minister.