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St. Vincent and the Grenadines Timeline
The Timeline presents a chronology of key events from 1300 to present.

1300: Carib Indians of South America conquer the indigenous Arawak Indians.

1498: Christopher Columbus visits the main island on St Vincent's Day.

1627: St Vincent granted to Britain's Lord Carlisle

1655: Wars between the Carib and French settlers.

1675: Slave shipwrecked off Bequia.  "Negro" slaves swam to St. Vincent and later produced the Black Caribs

1772: First Carib War

1783: Treaty of Versailles recognises St Vincent as a British colony.

1795:97: Britain, with French support, deports 5,000 Caribs to Belize following an uprising.

14 Mar 1796: Death of Joseph Chatoyer, Carib Chief

1812: First recorded eruption of La Soufriere volcano, which resulted in many casualties.


1834: Slavery abolished, forcing plantation owners to free more than 18,000 slaves; foreign labourers indentured.

1838: Abolition of apprenticeship

1856: Executive Council created with 10 persons - 5 from the Legislative Council, 5 from the Assembly

1868: New constitution

1873: Disestablishment of the Church

1897: Local government established - Kingstown

1902: Second eruption of La Soufriere volcano results in the death of 2,000 inhabitants.


1951: St Vincent granted universal adult suffrage.

15 Oct 1951: Eight Army of Liberation wins all eight seats in Legislative Council.

Ebenezer JOSHUA

16 Aug 1954: Independents win five of eight seats in Legislative Council; People’s Political Party (PPP) led by Ebenezer Joshua wins remaining three seats.

3 Oct 1957: PPP wins five of eight seats in Legislative Council in general elections.

1958 - 1962: St Vincent a member of the British-sponsored West Indies Federation.

20 Apr 1961: At elections to the Legislative Council, the ruling PPP win six of the nine seats available and Ebenezer Joshua remains as chief Minster.

22 Aug 1966: PPP retains majority in Legislative Council winning five of nine seats; St. Vincent Labour Party (SVLP) wins remaining four seats.

1966: The Island’s transfer to Associated Status is delayed after a disagreement developed over electoral boundaries following a disputed general election won by the PPP.  The British Government negotiated an agreement by which new boundaries were to be established and new elections held.

7 Apr 1967: St. Vincent’s British Administrator, Hywel George, revoked the appointment of Chief Minister Joshua, dissolved the Legislative Council and assumed complete control of the country.

Milton CATO

19 May 1967:  Leader of SVLP, R. Milton Cato is appointed Chief Minister after winning six of nine seat in the general election held under the new boundary system.  PPP wins remaining three seats.

1 Jul 1968: Entry of St. Vincent into the Carifta Agreement

27 Oct 1969: St. Vincent granted status of an Associated State, giving it internal self-government; Britain retained responsibility for foreign relations and defence affairs.  The agreement was signed by Lord Shepherd, minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Milton Cato, Chief Minister of St. Vincent.


7 Apr 1972: The SVLP and PPP both win six seats at the general elections.  James F. Mitchell, an independent, secures the remaining seat.  Mitchell agrees to form a Government with the PPP and is appointed Premier, with Ebenezer Joshua as Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance.

18 Sep 1974: The House of Assembly passes a vote of “no-confidence” in the Mitchell Government after Joshua and his wife resign from the Government following a disagreement with Mitchell over policy issues.


9 Dec 1974: The SVLP wins 10 of 13 seats in the House of Assembly and forms a government of national unity with Milton Cato as Premier and Joshua as a Minister.

3 Dec 1975: New Democratic Party (NDP) is founded by former Premier James F. Mitchell.

Apr 1978: Cato dismisses Joshua as Minister of Trade and Agriculture, effectively ending the coalition between the SVLP and the PPP.

Independence Signing 1979

27 Oct 1979: St Vincent and the Grenadines become independent with Milton Cato of the centre-left SVLP as Prime Minister.  Sir Sydney Gun-Munro becomes first Governor-General.

5 Dec 1979: SVLP maintains its majority at the general election, obtaining 11 of the 13 seats at stake, and Cato is reappointed Prime Minister.

7 Dec 1979: Revolt on Union Island by a group that wanted more power in the country's new government put down.

Jun 1981: Signing of the Treaty of Basseterre that gave rise to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

1981: Workers stage a general strike in protest at new industrial relations legislation against the background of an economic recession.

1982: Leader of the opposition United People’s Movement (UPM), Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, resigned, accusing the UPM of harbouring Marxist tendencies, and founds a new party, the Movement for National Unity (MNU).


25 Jul 1984: James Mitchell becomes Prime Minister after his centre-right New Democratic Party (NDP) wins a surprising victory in the general election.  The NDP wins nine of 13 elective seats.

22 Jan 1985: Cato retires from politics and is replaced as SVLP leader by Hudson Tannis.  Vincent Beache takes over as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly.

28 Feb 1985: Sir Joseph Eustace replaces Sir Sydney Gun-Munro as Governor-General.

1986: Constitutional amendment was approved by the House to increase the number of seats in the House of Assembly to 15.

3 Aug 1986: Hudson Tannis is killed in an airplane crash and is replaced as SVLP leader by Vincent Beache.

29 Feb 1988: Sir Joseph Eustace demits office.  Henry Harvey Williams acts as Governor-General.

16 May 1989: Mitchell returned to office for second term after his NDP won all 15 parliamentary seats.

20 Sep 1989: Sir David Jack sworn in as Governor-General.

14 Mar 1991: Death of Ebenezer Theodore Joshua

24 Jan 1994: SVLP and the Movement for National Unity (MNU) form an electoral alliance, which later becomes formalised as the Unity Labour Party (ULP), led by Beache.

21 Feb 1994: Mitchell and the NDP returned to office for third term, but with a reduced majority, with 12 of 15 seats in the House of Assembly.  The ULP alliance wins the remaining three seats.

1 Jun 1996: Sir Charles Antrobus sworn in as Governor-General.

10 Feb 1997: Death of Robert Milton Cato


15 Jun 1998: Mitchell and the NDP scrape a fourth consecutive term in the general election, winning 8 of 15 seats.  The ULP wins the remaining seven seats but secures 54.6% of the votes cast.

9 Jul 1998: At the opening session of the House of Assembly, several hundred protesters demonstrate against the new Government, and two ministers are attacked.

Apr 2000: Anti-government protests and industrial action are sparked by a proposal to increase pensions for parliamentarians.

4 May 2000: The Government and opposition reach an accord, which aimed to end the recent political protests, whereby new legislative elections would be called before March 2001.

20 Aug 2000: Mitchell resigns as NDP leader and is replaced by Arnhim Eustace.

27 Oct 2000: Mitchell resigns and is succeeded by his Finance Minister, Arnhim Eustace.


28 Mar 2001: Opposition leader Ralph Gonsalves becomes Prime Minister in elections brought forward from 2003 because of anti-government protests in 2000.

14 Mar 2002: Joseph Chatoyer declared first national hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

3 Jun 2002: Governor-General Sir Charles Antrobus dies in office.  Monica Dacon acts as Governor-General until 2 September 2002.

2 Sep 2002: Sir Frederick Ballantyne sworn in as Governor-General.

Feb 2003: St Vincent and the Grenadines is admitted to the Non-Aligned Movement of developing nations.

Jun 2003: Country is removed from a list of nations deemed uncooperative in the fight against money laundering.

Dec 2005: Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his Unity Labour Party win a second term in general elections.

Nov 2009: Voters reject the proposal to replace the monarchy with a republic in a constitutional referendum.

Dec 2010: Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his Unity Labour Party win a third consecutive term in general elections but with a slim majority (8 of 15 seats).

Jan 2011: Main opposition New Democratic Party denies allegations by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves it was involved in a plot to assassinate him.

7 Nov 2015: PM Gonsalves announced that he advised the Governor-General to dissolve the Ninth Parliament and issue the Writ for elections to be held on 9 December 2015.

1 Aug 2019: Susan Dougan appointed first female Governor-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

DRP= Democratic Republican Party; NDP = New Democratic Party; SVGP = St. Vincent and the Grenadines Green Party; ULP = Unity Labour Party; IND = Independent; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader

A Political Chronology of the Americas




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