St Kitts and Nevie
Overview of Island
St. Kitts & Nevis are a two-island country and the smallest state in the Leeward Islands located north of Antigua and about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. Their combined area is 104 sq. miles. 23 miles long and 5 miles wide.
Nevis is surrounded by coral reefs and lies 2 miles (3+ km) southeast of St. Kitts across a channel known as The Narrows.
Originally named “Liamuiga” (fertile land) by the Caribs who inhabited the islands until the early 1600’s.
Capital: Basseterre Language: English
Population: 42,696 (2000)
The Ciboney Indians were the first to inhabit the island as early as 3000 years ago. They were followed by the Arawak or Taino in 800 AD, then the Caribs who had expanded the settlement north of the Island by the time the Spanish arrived.
Christopher Columbus first spotted St. Kitts in 1493, as well as Nevis. The latter's name was derived from the description of the clouds atop Nevis Peak "the snows" and St. Kitts was shortened from Saint Christopher.
It was settled by The English in 1628 and its strategic location and valuable sugar trade led to an advanced and luxurious development that was among the best in the colonial Caribbean.
France and Britain raged war over its colonization until 1713 when France ceded control to Britain by th Treaty of Utrecht and again in 1783 by the Peace of Paris treaty after the French captured Brimstone Hill.
The Islands were officially united by federal act in 1882 and became an independent state in association with the United Kingdom in 1967 with full internal self-government. Anguilla complained of dominance by St. Kitts and in July 1971 the Island was placed directly under the control of Britain formerly severing its ties with St. Kitts and Nevis in 1980. These 2 became independent in 1983.
A drop in world sugar prices through the mid 1980's that grossly affected the economy forced the country to divert its interests and focused their attention on tourism and the hosting of offshore financial services industry. The nationalized sugar industry was finally closed in 2005.
The people of St. Kitts and Nevis are largely black with a smaller population of mixed African and white minority (Mulatto). There are also small groups of South Asian and white persons. About 2/3 of the population live in rural areas.