An island country of the West Indies in the Windward Islands south of Martinique. The island was probably sighted by Columbus in 1502. Resistance from the Carib inhabitants defeated several attempts at colonization by the English in the early 1600s, although France succeeded in establishing a settlement in the mid-1600s. The island changed hands several times between the two powers until the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1814), when it passed definitively to Great Britain. St. Lucia joined the West Indies Federation (1958–1962), gaining self-government in 1967 and full independence in 1979. Castries is the capital.