Kingstown

Kingstown is the capital, chief port, and main commercial centre of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Kingstown is the capital, chief port, and main commercial centre of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. With a population of 25,418 (2005), Kingstown is the most populous as well as the largest settlement by area in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is the centre for the island's agricultural industry and a port of entry for tourists. The city lies within the parish of Saint George in the south-west corner of Saint Vincent. Exports include bananas which are shipped mainly to the United Kingdom, coconuts, and arrowroot. The city contains numerous shops, eating places and markets.

It is built partially on reclaimed land and is the location of many important buildings, including the Financial Complex which was built in 1991 and accommodates the Office of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister as well as those of other departments of government, a Court Office of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and almost all of the governmental ministries.

History

France started a settlement here shortly after 1722.

The botanical garden, conceived in 1765, is the oldest in the Western hemisphere. William Bligh, made famous from the Mutiny on the Bounty, brought seeds of the Breadfruit tree here for planting, ca 1793.[2]



Fort Charlotte in the 19th Century

Kingstown is overlooked by Fort Charlotte on Berkshire Hill, just west of town. Over 180 m above the bay, it is the major early 19th century fortification on Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A redoubt accessed by a viaduct, it has guns pointing inland. The British garrison were to use it for holding out against the French while the Royal Navy brought reinforcements from other islands. The British had learnt a lesson when the French invaded the island in 1779, as they landed in Calliaqua, proving that any likely attack on the island would come from any location rather than directly on Kingstown itself.

The fort is named after King George III’s wife Queen Charlotte. The building work started at the turn of the century and was completed by 1806. In its heyday, it supported 600 troops and 34 guns. Some of the old barracks now house a museum with a colourful history of the Black Caribs or Garifuna depicted on its walls. The Island's women prisoners are located within the fort compound, there are between 6-12 residents at any one time. St Vincent still retains the death penalty and the nations gallows are also located nearby. Kingstown has undergone many changes over the years. During the Colonial era it gained the importance as the main control centre for the administration of the affairs of Government. That focus still remains in the post-colonial times. Central Kingstown has become overcrowded as nearly all business with Government departments can only be transacted there during regular office hours.

Recently, Kingstown is known as the site for many of the scenes from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.



Upper Bay Street



Kingstown Bay



The Botanic Gardens

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Tourism

Kingstown is a lively city made up of spectacular arches, historical churches and stone buildings thus making it a major tourist area. There is a Cruise ship facility aptly named the Cruise ship Berth which over the past few years, has generated a lot of interest among vessel operators, resulting in a well sustained level of ship calls and passenger numbers.

Main Sites

  • Botanic Gardens St. Vincent: Located on the northern outskirts of Kingstown are the Botanical Gardens. Peaceful, lush, green and colourful, the gardens are home to a wealth of tropical plants, flowers, trees and birds.Occupying 20 acres, the Gardens were created in 1765 by General Robert Melville, governor of the British Caribbean islands, as a plant breeding centre and 'to provide medicinal plants for the military and improve the life and economy of the colony'. They are one of the oldest of their kind in the western hemisphere, and celebrated their 246th anniversary in 2011.
  • Fort Charlotte: Fort Charlotte is an historic fort with spectacular views overlooking Kingstown. It is located just to the west of Kingstown and perched at 600 feet overlooking the bay - a short drive from Kingstown.Constructed in 1806, Fort Charlotte was a significant fortification that housed around 600 troops and a battery of over 30 canons. The canons were mostly pointed inland, to defend against Caribs.
  • St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption: St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption presbytery and school is a combination of interesting architectural styles dating back to the 1800s. A steeple and sanctuary were added in 1877. During this century massive renovations undertaken by a Benedictine monk resulted in the present eclectic architectural style.
  • St George’s Anglican Cathedral: The nearby St George’s Anglican Cathedral, also built in the 1800s has impressive stained glass windows. St. George’s Cathedral was dedicated in 1820, financed in part from the sale of lands taken from the Caribs. The nave, the lower stages of the tower and the galleried interior are of the Georgian period. The two Victorians transepts were added between 1880 and 1887. Ironically, under the chandelier is a large stone slab memorializing Major Leith, who allegedly duped and killed Carib Paramount Chief Chatoyer in 1795.

Transportation

Bus

Minibus

Kingstown is made up of many streets, lanes and roads. Located in the city is a Bus terminal built in 1988 where civilians commute with omnibuses and minibuses ("vans") all across the island and since all the highways lead to the city it makes this much easier and more convenient. Outside than private transport, minibuses are the most utilised means of transport in the country. They are a lively way of getting around and a good introduction to the most popular recent tunes as well as a mode of transport.

Omnibus

Omnibuses are similar to minibuses in the routes that they travel. They however have a higher capacity of passengers they can carry.

Private taxi

Private taxis mainly provide transport to tourists or visitors but may offer their services to civilians. They can be found parked at outside different locations throughout the city and are also available at airport or at any hotel lobby.

Ferry

Ferries run daily between Saint Vincent and the Grenadine Islands and dock at Grenadine Wharf. The Grenadine ferries start their journeys at the Grenadines Dock on the waterfront in Kingstown, from where it is possible to make the journey down through the islands by boat all the way to Grenada. There are many ferries each day for Bequia but no ferries put in at Mustique. Ferries are reasonably priced and fairly regular.Fast ferries are now available that allow for faster commute time at a low cost.

Education

Of the 77 schools located in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 18 are situated in Kingstown, 8 primary, 9 secondary and 1 college- The Kingstown Technical College. Several of the schools located there were established over 100 years ago such as the Saint Vincent Grammar School (est. 1908) and the Saint Vincent Girls' High School (est. 1911). Also located in the city is an Open Campus of The University of the West Indies.



Financial Complex

Suburbs

  • Arnos Vale is a town in southern Saint Vincent, in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is located to the southeast of the capital, Kingstown. The country's main airport, the E. T. Joshua Airport, is located at Arnos Vale and is one of the first places visitors to the small Caribbean island see when they visit the country. The area is also home to the new football and cricket stadium, the Arnos Vale Sports Complex.
  • Campden Park is a small town located on the outskirts of Kingstown. It is also the location of the Campden Park Container Port
  • Calliaqua is a town in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It is located in the far south of the main island of Saint Vincent, close to the island's southernmost point. Its main economic activity is fishing.