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St Lucia Currency

Since 1965, the East Caribbean dollar has circulated in St. Lucia.

St. Lucia shares a common central bank and a common currency (the East Caribbean dollar) with seven other members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The resources and reserves of the member states have been pooled to improve the economic ability of all.

The East Caribbean dollar, which is pegged at EC$2.7169 to US$1.


The history of currency in the British colony of Saint Lucia closely follows that of the British Eastern Caribbean territories in general. Even though Queen Anne's proclamation of 1704 brought the gold standard to the West Indies, silver pieces of eight (Spanish dollars and later Mexican dollars) continued to form a major portion of the circulating currency right into the latter half of the nineteenth century.

 

Britain adopted the gold standard in 1821 and an imperial order-in-council of 1838 resulted in Saint Lucia formally adopting the British sterling coinage in the year 1851. However, despite the circulation of British coins in St. Lucia, the silver pieces of eight continued to circulate alongside them and the private sector continued to use dollar accounts for reckoning. The international silver crisis of 1873 signalled the end of the silver dollar era in the West Indies and silver dollars were demonetized in St. Lucia in 1882. This left a state of affairs, in which the British coinage circulated, being reckoned in dollar accounts at an automatic conversion rate of 1 dollar = 4 shillings 2 pence.

From 1949, with the introduction of the British West Indies dollar, the currency of St. Lucia became officially tied up with that of the British Eastern Caribbean territories in general. The British sterling coinage was eventually replaced by a new decimal coinage in 1955, with the new cent being equal to one half of the old penny.