Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the indigenous people of these islands were animists and polytheists. They believed that spirits inhabit everything in the world, and they venerated spirits and deities.
African slaves brought with them similar spiritist beliefs when they came to Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.
Catholics & Protestants
Christianity was introduced during the 18th century through European colonialism. The French first brought Catholicism, while the British later introduced Protestantism. Many of the African slaves converted to Anglicanism and Methodism soon after the British abolished slavery.
However, the last few decades have seen tremendous growth of evangelical denominations. Evangelicals have nearly doubled. Seventh-Day Adventists have gained the most. Baptists and various pentecostal/charismatic groups are also multiplying quickly.
Spiritual Baptists represent an indigenous Caribbean movement among some with African descent. It is basically a syncretistic mixture of core Christian beliefs with influences from African spiritist practices. They are known for worship services that include shouting, syncopated clapping, dancing, African rhythms, bell ringing, flag waving, candle bearing, speaking in tongues, and even convulsions. Although they insist on being identified as Christian, they remain greatly influenced by the worldview of old African religions. Spiritual Baptists were banned for a time, but now the movement is legal and influential.
Updated December 2010