Saint Kitts, also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island, is an island in the West Indies. The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Kitts and the neighbouring island of Nevis constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Saint Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow 3-kilometre (2 mi) channel known as "The Narrows".
Saint Kitts became home to the first Caribbean British and French colonies in the mid-1620s. Along with the island nation of Nevis, Saint Kitts was a member of the British West Indies until gaining independence on September 19, 1983.
The island is one of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. It is situated about 2,100 km (1,300 mi) southeast of Miami, Florida, US. The land area of Saint Kitts is about 168 km2 (65 sq mi), being approximately 29 km (18 mi) long and on average about 8 km (5.0 mi) across.
Saint Kitts has a population of around 40,000, the majority of whom are of African descent. The primary language is English, with a literacy rate of approximately 98%. Residents call themselves Kittitians.
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest fortress ever built in the Western Caribbean. The island of Saint Kitts is home to the Warner Park Cricket Stadium, which was used to host 2007 Cricket World Cup matches. This made Saint Kitts and Nevis the smallest nation to ever host a World Cup event. Saint Kitts is also home to several institutions of higher education, including Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Windsor University School of Medicine, and the University of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Map showing Saint Kitts and Nevis
|Area||174 km2 (67 sq mi)|
|Length||29 km (18 mi)|
|Width||8 km (5 mi)|
|Highest elevation||1,156 m (3,793 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Liamuiga|
|2 divisions of Saint Kitts|
|Largest settlement||Basseterre (pop. 15,500)|
|Pop. density||208.33 /km2 (539.57 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||African descent, South Asian, British, Portuguese, Lebanese|
The capital of the two-island nation, and also its largest port, is the town of Basseterre on Saint Kitts. There is a modern facility for handling large cruise ships there. A ring road goes around the perimeter of the island with smaller roads branching off it; the interior of the island is too steep for habitation.
Saint Kitts is 10 km (6.2 mi) away from Sint Eustatius to the north and 3 km (1.9 mi) from Nevis to the south. St. Kitts has three distinct groups of volcanic peaks: the North West or Mount Misery Range; the Middle or Verchilds Range and the South East or Olivees Range. The highest peak is Mount Liamuiga, formerly Mount Misery, a dormant volcano 1,156 m high.
The youngest volcanic center is Mt. Liamuiga, 5 km in diameter and rising to an elevation of 1155 m. Its last eruption was 1620 years ago, corresponding with the Steel Dust series of pyroclastic deposits on the western flank. The Mansion Series of pyroclastic deposits and andesite with basalt layers occur on the northern flank, along with mudflows. This volcano has a crater 900 m wide and 244 m deep, plus two distinct parasitic domes consisting primarily of andesite, Brimstone Hill and Sandy Point Hill which is coalesced with Farm Flat. Brimstone Hill is noted for having limestone on its flanks, which was dragged upward with the formation of the dome 44,400 years ago. Mt. Liamuiga partially overlays the Middle Range to the southeast. This Middle Range is another stratovolcano 976 m in height with a small summit crater containing a lake. Next in line is the 900 m South East Range, 1 Myr in age, consisting of four peaks. Ottley's dome and Monkey Hill dome are on the flanks, while the older volcanoes represented by Canada Hills, and Conaree Hills lie past the airport and Bassaterre on the southeast flank. The Salt Dome Peninsula contains the oldest volcanic deposits, 2.3-2.77 Myr in age, consisting of at least nine Pelean domes rising up to 319 m in height, which includes Williams Hill and St. Anthony's Peak.
St. Kitts was originally settled by pre-agricultural, pre-ceramic "Archaic people", who migrated south down the archipelago from Florida. In a few hundred years they disappeared, to be replaced by the ceramic-using and agriculturalist Saladoid people around 100 BC, who migrated to St. Kitts north up the archipelago from the banks of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Around 800 AD, they were replaced by the Igneri people, members of the Arawak group.
Around 1300, the Kalinago, or Carib people arrived on the islands. These agriculturalists quickly dispersed the Igneri, and forced them northwards to the Greater Antilles. They named Saint Kitts "Liamuiga" meaning "fertile island", and would likely have expanded further north if not for the arrival of Europeans.
The first English colony was established in 1623, followed by a French colony in 1625. The English and French briefly united to massacre the local Kalinago, and then partitioned the island, with the English colonists in the middle and the French on either end. In 1629, a Spanish force sent to clear the islands of foreign settlement seized St. Kitts. The English settlement was rebuilt following the 1630 peace between England and Spain.
The island alternated repeatedly between English (then British) and French control during the 17th and 18th centuries, as one power took the whole island, only to have it switch hands due to treaties or military action. Parts of the island were heavily fortified, as exemplified by the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Brimstone Hill and the now-crumbling Fort Charles.
The island originally produced tobacco; but it changed to sugar cane in 1640, due to stiff competition from the colony of Virginia. The labour-intensive cultivation of sugar cane was the reason for the large-scale importation of African slaves. The importation began almost immediately upon the arrival of Europeans to the region.
The purchasing of enslaved Africans was outlawed in the British Empire by an Act of Parliament in 1807. Slavery was abolished by an Act of Parliament which became law on 1 August 1834. This emancipation was followed by four years of apprenticeship, put in place to protect the planters from losing their labour force.
August the 1st is now celebrated as a public holiday and is called Emancipation Day. In 1883, Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla were all linked under one presidency, located on Saint Kitts, to the dismay of the Nevisians and Anguillans. Anguilla eventually separated out of this arrangement, in 1971, after an armed raid on Saint Kitts.
Sugar production continued to dominate the local economy until 2005, when, after 365 years of having a mono-culture, the government closed the sugar industry. This was due to huge losses and European Union plans to greatly cut sugar prices.
For purposes of governing, the island is divided into nine parishes:
Saint Kitts & Nevis uses the Eastern Caribbean dollar, which maintains a fixed exchange rate of 2.7-to-one with the United States dollar. The US dollar is almost as widely accepted as the Eastern Caribbean dollar.
For hundreds of years, Saint Kitts operated as a sugar monoculture, but due to decreasing profitability, the government closed the industry in 2005. Tourism is a major and growing source of income to the island, although the number and density of resorts is less than on many other Caribbean islands. Transportation, non-sugar agriculture, manufacturing and construction are the other growing sectors of the economy.
Saint Kitts is dependent on tourism to drive its economy. Tourism has been increasing since 1978. In 2009, there were 587,479 arrivals to Saint Kitts compared to 379,473 in 2007, which represents an increase of just under 40% growth in a two-year period. As tourism grows, the demand for vacation property increases in conjunction.
Saint Kitts & Nevis also acquires foreign direct investment from their unique citizenship by investment programme, outlined in their Citizenship Act of 1984. Interested parties can acquire citizenship if they pass the government's strict background checks and make an investment into an approved real estate development. Purchasers who pass government due diligence and make a minimum investment of US$400,000, into qualifying government approved real estate, are entitled to apply for citizenship of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Many projects are approved under the citizenship by investment programme, and the main qualifying projects of interest can be found within the Henley Estates market overview .
The country hosts an annual St. Kitts Music Festival.
The Basseterre Ferry Terminal facilitates travel between Saint Kitts and sister island Nevis.
The narrow-gauge (30 inches) St Kitts Scenic Railway circles the island and offers passenger service from its headquarters near the airport, although the service is geared more for tourists than as day-to-day transportation for residents. Built between 1912 and 1926 to haul sugar cane from farms to the sugar factory in Basseterre, since 2003 the railway has offered a 3.5 hour, 30-mile circle tour of the island on specially designed double-decker open-air coaches, with 12 miles of the trip being by bus.
Saint Kitts is or was the residence of:
Basseterre is the capital and largest city of Saint Kitts and Nevis with an estimated population of 14,000 in 2018. Geographically, the Basseterre port is located at 17°18′N 62°44′W, on the south western coast of Saint Kitts Island, and it is one of the chief commercial depots of the Leeward Islands. The city lies within Saint George Basseterre Parish.
Basseterre is one of the oldest towns in the Eastern Caribbean.Economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis
The economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis has traditionally depended on the growing and processing of sugar cane; decreasing world prices have hurt the industry in recent years. Tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore banking activity have assumed larger roles. Most food is imported. The government has undertaken a program designed to revitalize the faltering sugar sector. It is also working to improve revenue collection in order to better fund social programs. In 1997, some leaders in Nevis were urging separation from Saint Kitts on the basis that Nevis was paying far more in taxes than it was receiving in government services, but the vote on cessation failed in August 1998. In late September 1998, Hurricane Georges caused approximately $445 million in damages and limited GDP growth for the year.
The economy of St. Kitts and Nevis experienced strong growth for most of the 1990s but hurricanes in 1998 and 1999 contributed to a sharp slowdown. Real economic growth was 0.75% in 2002 after a decline of 4.3% in 2001. The economy experienced a mixed performance during 2002, with some sectors experiencing positive growth while others experienced varying levels of decline. The construction sector recorded a 4.51% decline, manufacturing and hotels and restaurants also recorded significant declines of 4.01 and 9.89% respectively, and sugar production fell by 5.1%. Significant new investment in tourism, including a 648-room Marriott hotel and convention center that opened in December 2002, as well as continued government efforts to diversify the economy, are expected to improve economic performance. Consumer prices have risen marginally over the past few years. The inflation rate was 3%-4% for most of the 1990s.
St. Kitts and Nevis is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues a common currency (the East Caribbean dollar) for all members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries. There is an extensive parallel economy denominated in US$, which is the de facto currency for many business transactions.
St. Kitts is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications (ECTEL) authority, which is developing the regulations to liberalize the telecommunications sector in the region by 2004.Football in Saint Kitts and Nevis
The sport of association football in the country of Saint Kitts and Nevis is run by the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association. The association administers the national football team, as well as the SKNFA Super League and the N1 League (inactive since 2010).History of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis have one of the longest written histories in the Caribbean, both islands being among Spain's and England's first colonies in the archipelago. Despite being only two miles apart and quite diminutive in size, Saint Kitts and Nevis were widely recognized as being separate entities with distinct identities until they were forcibly united in the late 19th century.List of Prime Ministers of Saint Kitts and Nevis
This page contains a list of Prime Ministers of Saint Kitts and Nevis.List of ambassadors of the United States to Saint Kitts and Nevis
The United States Ambassador to Saint Kitts and Nevis (or, prior to 3 August 1988, to Saint Christopher and Nevis) is the official representative of the government of the United States to the government of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The title of the ambassador is United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and is concurrently the ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Saint Christopher and Nevis on 20 September 1983, but no U.S. mission has ever been established at Basseterre. After 25 June 1988, all relations were handled by the Embassy at St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda. When that Embassy closed on 30 June 1994, all diplomatic functions have been handled out of the U.S. Embassy at Bridgetown, Barbados, where the U.S. Ambassador to Saint Kitts and Nevis is resident.Military ranks of Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Military ranks of Saint Kitts and Nevis are the military insignia used by the Saint Kitts and Nevis Defence Force. Being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Saint Kitts and Nevis shares a rank structure similar to that of the United Kingdom.Monarchy of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a constitutional monarchy in which a monarch is head of state. The present monarch is Elizabeth II, who is also Sovereign of the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen's constitutional roles are mostly delegated to the Governor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Royal succession is governed by the English Act of Settlement of 1701, which is part of constitutional law.
From June 1983 the two islands of Saint Christopher (otherwise known as Saint Kitts) and of Nevis have been a sovereign democratic federal state which may be formally styled Saint Christopher and Nevis or Saint Kitts and Nevis or the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis or the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.Music of Saint Kitts and Nevis
The music of Saint Kitts and Nevis is known for a number of musical celebrations including Carnival (December 17 to January 3 on Saint Kitts). The last week in June features the St Kitts Music Festival, while the week-long Culturama on Nevis lasts from the end of July into early August.In addition, there are other festivals on the island of Saint Kitts. There is Inner City Fest in February in Molineaux Green Valley Festival usually around Whit Monday in the village of Cayon, Easterama around Easter (April) in the village of Sandy Point, Fest-Tab, around July-August in the village of Tabernacle, and La festival de Capisterre, around Independence Day in Saint Kitts and Nevis (19 September), in the Capisterre region. These celebrations typically feature parades, street dances and salsa, jazz, soca, calypso and steelpan music.National Assembly (Saint Kitts and Nevis)
The National Assembly is the parliament of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The assembly has 14 or 15 members (depending upon circumstances), 11 of whom are elected for a five-year term in single-seat constituencies and are known as Representatives. The remaining four are called Senators; three are appointed by the governor-general and the fourth is the attorney-general (i.e. an ex officio member).
The 1983 constitution mandates at least three senators, or four if an attorney-general is not one of these three appointed senators. The number can be increased by the parliament as long as it doesn't exceed two thirds of the number of representatives. Except for the attorney-general, the senators are appointed by the governor-general, acting on the advice of the prime minister in two of the appointments and the leader of the opposition for the third one.
The parliament has a speaker and deputy speaker elected by the members of the parliament during its first meeting following a general election. They do not have to be members of it; but if they are then they cannot also be in the cabinet or parliamentary secretaries.
The current speaker of the National Assembly of Saint Kitts and Nevis is Anthony Michael Perkins, who has been in office since June 2016. He succeeded Franklin Brand.Nevis
Nevis is a small island in the Caribbean Sea that forms part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies. Nevis and the neighbouring island of Saint Kitts constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Nevis is located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, about 350 km east-southeast of Puerto Rico and 80 km west of Antigua. Its area is 93 square kilometres (36 sq mi) and the capital is Charlestown.
Saint Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow 3-kilometre (2 mi) channel known as "The Narrows". Nevis is roughly conical in shape with a volcano known as Nevis Peak at its centre. The island is fringed on its western and northern coastlines by sandy beaches which are composed of a mixture of white coral sand with brown and black sand which is eroded and washed down from the volcanic rocks that make up the island. The gently-sloping coastal plain (1 km (0.62 mi) wide) has natural freshwater springs as well as non-potable volcanic hot springs, especially along the western coast.
The island was named Oualie ("Land of Beautiful Waters") by the Caribs and Dulcina ("Sweet Island") by the early British settlers. The name Nevis is derived from the Spanish Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (which means Our Lady of the Snows); the name first appears on maps in the 16th century. Nevis is also known by the sobriquet "Queen of the Caribees", which it earned in the 18th century when its sugar plantations created much wealth for the British.
Nevis is of particular historical significance to Americans because it was the birthplace and early childhood home of Alexander Hamilton. For the British, Nevis is the place where Horatio Nelson was stationed as a young sea captain, and is where he met and married a Nevisian, Frances Nisbet, the young widow of a plantation-owner.
The majority of the approximately 12,000 Nevisians are of primarily African descent, with notable British, Portuguese and Lebanese minority communities. English is the official language, and the literacy rate, 98 percent, is one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis ( (listen)), also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, is an island country in the West Indies. Located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, it is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere, in both area and population. The country is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as queen and head of state.
The capital city is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller island of Nevis lies approximately 3 km (2 mi) southeast of Saint Kitts across a shallow channel called "The Narrows".
The British dependency of Anguilla was historically also a part of this union, which was then known collectively as Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla. To the north-northwest lie the islands of Sint Eustatius, and Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten and Anguilla. To the east and northeast are Antigua and Barbuda, and to the southeast is the small uninhabited island of Redonda, and the island of Montserrat, which currently has an active volcano (see Soufrière Hills).
Saint Kitts and Nevis were among the first islands in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean, and thus has also been titled "The Mother Colony of the West Indies".Saint Kitts and Nevis at the Olympics
Saint Kitts and Nevis first participated at the Olympic Games in 1996, and have competed in every Summer Olympic Games since. The country has never competed at the Winter Olympic Games.
Saint Kitts and Nevis have competed only in athletics and have never won a medal.Saint Kitts and Nevis national football team
The Saint Kitts and Nevis national football team is the national team of Saint Kitts and Nevis and is controlled by the St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association. They are affiliated to the Caribbean Football Union of CONCACAF.
They are nicknamed The Sugar Boyz due to the sugar cultivation on the island of St. Kitts.Saint Kitts and Nevis passport
The Saint Kitts and Nevis passport is issued to citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis for international travel. Prior to 1983, Saint Kitts and Nevis was an associated state of the United Kingdom. The passport is a Caricom passport as Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the Caribbean Community.Saint Kitts and Nevis–United Kingdom relations
Saint Kitts and Nevis and the United Kingdom have a long history of colonial activity and later diplomatic relations.
During the late 17th century, France and England battled for control over Saint Kitts. It was ceded to Britain in 1713. Saint Kitts and Nevis, along with Anguilla, became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. Anguillians rebelled, and separated from the others in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983.
Saint Kitts and Nevis maintains a High Commission in South Kensington in London. In turn, the United Kingdom maintains a High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados which also serves as High Commission to Saint Kitts and Nevis.Saint Kitts and Nevis–United States relations
Saint Kitts and Nevis – United States relations are bilateral relations between Saint Kitts and Nevis and the United States.Visa policy of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Visitors to Saint Kitts and Nevis must obtain a visa unless they come from one of the 104 visa exempt countries.
Cruise ship passengers can visit Saint Kitts and Nevis for up to 24 hours without a visa.