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Lush tropical rainforests cover two-thirds of the island, and annual rainfall ranges from 50 inches (127 centimeters) on the coast to 300 inches (762 centimeters) in the mountains.
Its volcanic origin is evident in bubbling sulphur springs and the Boiling Lake, located in the 17,000-acre (6,885 hectare) Trois Pitons National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998).
The British concentrated in Roseau, and overseers ran estates for their absentee owners.
The French, however, lived on small estates and remained well after the British took official control.
A majority of the population, 89 percent, is of African descent, 7 percent are of mixed race, and 2 percent are Carib.
The three-colored cross symbolizes the Trinity of God; yellow represents the main agricultural products (bananas and citrus); white, the clarity of its rivers and waterfalls; and black, the rich volcanic soil and its African heritage.
The last fluent speaker of the Carib language reportedly died in the 1920s, although efforts are now being made to revive that language.
A French-based creole, known officially as Kwéyo`l but also commonly called Patois or Patwa, arose in the early eighteenth century through contact between French colonizers and enslaved West Africans.
People who identify as Syrian, Lebanese, and Chinese own some of the largest businesses in Roseau.
Although there is some ethnic stereotyping, more salient social divisions fall along class, language, education, and rural and urban lines.