The Breadfruit

For many people, the breadfruit is seen as a symbol of St. Vincent, tied to the nation's culture and heritage. Its uniquely shaped leaf can be seen engraved into flower pots along the bayfront of Kingstown. The breadfruit itself forms part of the country’s national dish of roasted breadfruit and fried jack fish.

History of the Breadfruit

On January 23, 1793 Captain William Bligh anchored the HMS Providence off Kingstown and completed his ambition of bringing breadfruit plants here from Tahiti. His first attempt resulted in the infamous mutiny on the Bounty. After being adrift for 47 days in the Pacific, Captain Bligh returned and, it is said, one of the trees now growing in Kingstown’s Botanical Gardens is a descendant of one of his original breadfruit plants. Breadfruits were used as an economical source of food during slavery. Read about our Breadfruit Festival held annually in August.


Arrowroot is a traditional Amerindian crop. It is a starchy tuber that, when harvested, is washed, pulped, drained and dried to produce a powder that is used as a replacement for flour in bread making, as well as an ingredient in puddings, biscuits, cakes and sauces. Interstingly, it was said that arrowroot was also used to draw toxins from flesh wounds made by the poison arrows used by indigenous people.

St. Vincent is one of the few places in the world where this ancient and traditional crop is still cultivated for both domestic and overseas consumption. Visitors to the Owia area of St. Vincent's north east may see arrowroot crops growing on the lush green hillsides.

Vincy Cuisine & Specialties

The breadfruit is just one of a veritable cornucopia of ground provisions, vegetables, fruits and spices that are farmed and harvested here in St Vincent. Kingstown’s Friday and Saturday market is a great place to investigate and sample all the wonderful produce that we grow here.

Look out for yams, dasheen, eddoes, bananas, plantains, christophenes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbages, carrots, sweet peppers, seasoning peppers, hot peppers and so much more. If you enjoy cooking, you will really love it!

And if your preference is simply for eating, then don’t worry, all nine of our islands have talented chefs, cooks and an assortment of eateries from roadside snackettes to fine dining restaurants.

Traditional chicken or meat dishes are usually accompanied by fresh local vegetables, ground provisions, rice and peas. Whilst chicken is very common and we prepare it in a variety of ways, you should also look out for specialties such as curried goat or lambi (queen conch).

Our fresh fish dishes include mahi mahi, tuna, bonito, kingfish, snapper, flying fish and occasionally marlin – it all depends on what is in season. In St. Vincent’s west coast village of Barrouallie, ‘black fish’ (pilot whale) is a local delicacy. Fresh lobster, squid and octopus are other very popular seafood dishes.

As for drinks, well don’t leave St. Vincent & the Grenadines without having sampled at least one bottle (maybe more) of Hairoun beer, or a glass (or two) of Sunset rum. Both are produced here in St. Vincent and both taste great!


Carib Indians aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century. Enslaved Africans - whether shipwrecked or escaped from Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada and seeking refuge in mainland St. Vincent, or Hairouna as it was originally named by the Caribs - intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Garifuna or Black Caribs.

In 1763, St. Vincent was ceded to Britain. Restored to French rule in 1779, St. Vincent was regained by the British under the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Great Britain officially recognized the end of the American Revolution. Ancillary treaties were also signed with France and Spain, known as the Treaties of Versailles of 1783, part of which put St. Vincent back under British control.

Conflict between the British and the Black Caribs, led by defiant Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer, continued until 1796, when General Sir Ralph Abercromby crushed a revolt fomented by the French radical Victor Hugues. More than 5,000 Black Caribs were eventually deported to Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras. Joseph Chatoyer is a national hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

From 1763 until independence, St. Vincent passed through various stages of colonial status under the British. A representative assembly was authorized in 1776, Crown Colony government installed in 1877, a legislative council created in 1925, and universal adult suffrage granted in 1951.

Fort Charlotte

During this period, the British made several unsuccessful attempts to affiliate St. Vincent with other Windward Islands in order to govern the region through a unified administration. The colonies themselves, desirous of freedom from British rule, made a notable attempt at unification called West Indies Federation, which collapsed in 1962. St. Vincent was granted associate statehood status on October 27, 1969, giving it complete control over its internal affairs.

Following a referendum in 1979, under Milton Cato St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence on the 10th anniversary of its associate statehood status, October 27, 1979.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines celebrated 30 years of Independence in 2009 with an extensive Homecoming timetable of events.