|Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis1
Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis
|Motto: "Country Above Self"|
|Anthem: O Land of Beauty!
Royal anthem: God Save the Queen
(and largest city)
|Demonym||Kittitian (or, alternately, Kittian), Nevisian|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy and Federal constitutional monarchy|
|-||Monarch||Queen Elizabeth II|
|-||Governor-General||Sir Cuthbert Sebastian|
|-||Prime Minister||Dr. Denzil Douglas|
|-||from the United Kingdom||19 September 1983|
|-||Total||261 km2 (207th)
101 sq mi
|-||July 2005 estimate||42,696 (209th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2008 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2008 estimate|
|HDI (2007)||▼ 0.825 (high) (54th)|
|Currency||East Caribbean dollar (
|Drives on the||left|
|1||Or "Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis".|
The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis (also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis), located in the Leeward Islands, is a federal two-island nation in the West Indies. It is the smallest sovereign nation in the Americas, in both area and population.
The capital city and headquarters of government for the federated state is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller state of Nevis lies about 2 miles (3 km) southeast of Saint Kitts, across a shallow channel called "The Narrows".
Historically, the British dependency of Anguilla was also a part of this union, which was then known collectively as Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla. Saint Kitts and Nevis are geographically part of the Leeward Islands. To the north-northwest lie the islands of Saint Eustatius, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, and Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten. 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 amongst 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.
Saint Kitts was named "Liamuiga" by the Kalinago Indians who inhabited the island. This name, roughly translated in English means "fertile land", a testimony to the island's rich volcanic soil and high productivity.
Nevis's pre-Columbian name was "Oualie", which translates to "land of beautiful waters", presumably referred to the island's many freshwater springs and hot volcanic springs.
Christopher Columbus, upon sighting what we now call Nevis in 1498, gave that island the name San Martin (Saint Martin). However, the confusion of numerous, poorly charted small islands in the Leeward Island chain, meant that the name ended up being accidentally transferred to another island, the one which we now know as the French/Dutch island Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten.
The current name "Nevis" is derived from a Spanish name Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (The original name was the archaic Spanish "Noestra Siñora delas Neves"), by a process of abbreviation and anglicization. This Spanish name means Our Lady of the Snows. It is not known who chose this name for the island, but it is a reference to the story of a 4th century Catholic miracle: a snowfall on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. Presumably the white clouds which usually wreathe the top of Nevis Peak reminded someone of the story of a miraculous snowfall in a hot climate. The island of Nevis, upon first British settlement was referred to as "Dulcina", a name meaning "sweet one". Its original Spanish name, "Nuestra Señora de las Nieves", was eventually kept however, though it was soon shortened to "Nevis".
There is some disagreement over the name which Columbus gave to St. Kitts. For many years it was thought that he named the island San Cristobal, after his patron saint Saint Christopher, the saint of travelling. However, new studies suggest that Columbus named the island Sant Jago (Saint James). The name "San Cristobal" was apparently given by Columbus to the island now known as Saba, 20 miles northwest. It seems that "San Cristobal" came to be applied to the island of St. Kitts only as the result of a mapping error. No matter the origin of the name, the island was well documented as "San Cristobal" by the 17th century. The first British colonists kept the English translation of this name, and dubbed it "St. Christopher's island". In the 17th century Kit, or Kitt, was a common abbreviation for the name Christopher, and so the island was often informally referred to as "Saint Kitt's island", which was further shortened to "Saint Kitts".
Today, the Constitution refers to the nation as both "Saint Kitts and Nevis" and "Saint Christopher and Nevis", but "Saint Kitts and Nevis" is the form commonly used both at home and abroad.
The islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis are two of the Caribbean's oldest colonised territories. Saint Kitts became the first British colony in the West Indies in 1624 and then became the first French colony in the Caribbean in 1625, when both nations decided to partition the island.
Five thousand years prior to European arrival, the island was settled by Native Americans. The latest arrivals, the Kalinago peoples, arrived approximately 3 centuries before the Europeans. The Kalinago allowed the Europeans to colonise Saint Kitts, while earlier attempts to settle other islands were met with immediate destruction of the colonies by the Indians. The Kalinago were eventually wiped out in the great Kalinago Genocide of 1626.
The island of Nevis was colonised in 1628 by British settlers from Saint Kitts. From there, Saint Kitts became the premier base for British and French expansion, as the islands of Antigua, Montserrat, Anguilla and Tortola for the British, and Martinique, the Guadeloupe archipelago and St. Barths for the French were colonised from it.
In 1629 a Spanish expedition occupied both islands and deported the English and French inhabitants back to their respective countries.
Although small in size, and separated by only 2 miles (3 km) of water, the two islands were viewed and governed as different states until the late 19th century, when they were forcibly unified along with the island of Anguilla by the British. To this day relations are strained, with Nevis accusing Saint Kitts of neglecting its needs.
Saint Kitts and Nevis, along with Anguilla, became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. Angullians rebelled, and their island was allowed to separate from the others in 1971. St. Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. It is the newest sovereign nation in the Americas. In August 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from St. Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. In late September 1998, Hurricane Georges caused approximately $412,104,972.76 in damages and limited GDP growth for the year.
Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, was born in Nevis; he spent his childhood there and on St. Croix, then belonging to Denmark, and now one of the United States Virgin Islands.
The country is an independent Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, represented in St. Kitts and Nevis by a Governor-General, who acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The prime minister is the leader of the majority party of the House, and the cabinet conducts affairs of state.
St. Kitts and Nevis has a unicameral legislature, known as the National Assembly. It is composed of fourteen members: eleven elected Representatives (three from the island of Nevis) and three Senators who are appointed by the Governor-General. Two of the senators are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, and one on the advice of the leader of the opposition. Unlike in other countries, senators do not constitute a separate Senate or upper house of parliament, but sit in the National Assembly, alongside representatives. All members serve five-year terms. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are responsible to the Parliament.
The federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis is divided into fourteen parishes: nine divisions on Saint Kitts and five on Nevis. They are as follows:
The islands are of volcanic origin, with large central peaks covered in tropical rainforest; the steeper slopes leading to these peaks are mostly uninhabited. The majority of the population on both islands lives closer to the sea where the terrain flattens out. There are numerous rivers descending from the mountains of both islands, which provide fresh water to the local population. St. Kitts also has one small lake.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a twin-island federation whose economy is characterised by its dominant tourism, agriculture and light manufacturing industries. Sugar was the primary export from the 1640s on, but rising production costs, low world market prices, and the government's efforts to reduce dependence on it have led to a growing diversification of the agricultural sector. In 2005, the government decided to close down the state-owned sugar company, which had experienced losses and was a significant contributor to the fiscal deficit. Former sugar plantations still dominate the St. Kitts landscape, however many of the cane fields are being burned to make room for land development, especially on the northern side of the island, in the parishes of Saint John Capisterre and Christchurch. The agricultural, tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore-banking sectors are being developed and are now taking larger roles in the country’s economy. The growth of the tourism sector has become the main foreign exchange earner for Saint Kitts and Nevis. The country has also developed a successful apparel assembly industry and one of the largest electronics assembly industries in the Caribbean.
During the 1990s, Saint Kitts and Nevis registered an annual GDP growth of 5.5 percent, but the strong growth was interrupted by devastating hurricanes in 1998 and 1999. Post-hurricane reconstruction led to an economic resumption in 2000 with GDP growing 6.2 percent. The year 2001 began well enough although the post-hurricane construction boom was over and growth was slowing from its 2000 rate. But after September 11, tourism arrivals dropped off precipitously and activity in related sectors of the economy such as road construction and retail sales declined along with tourism. As a result, the GDP growth declined substantially in 2001 and 2002. Economic activity has recovered since 2003, mainly driven by strong growth in tourism. In view of its high level of public debt, the country needs a prudent fiscal policy to ensure sustainable economic growth.
For a number of years this Caribbean paradise has been dependent on tourism to drive its economy. One such project driving the tourism of St. Kitts and Nevis is the new Ocean's Edge development. As well as driving the economy through tourism Ocean’s Edge is also an approved project of the Citizenship by Investment Programme of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis provided for in the Citizenship Act 1984. Purchasers who make a minimum investment of US$350,000* in a unit or a villa plot will be entitled to apply for Citizenship of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Economic growth is currently being supported by new programs that are being developed to help improve the local communities in Saint Kitts. By 2012, A development on Saint Kitts, Kittitian Hill (also approved for citizenship by investment), will be a centre point for improving the economy by leading several new community programs such as:
Continued development from within Saint Kitts is planned and it will continue to support future economic growth of the Island.
There are seven publicly administered high/secondary level schools in St Kitts-Nevis, and several private secondary schools.
Merged in2010 to form Immaculate Conception Catholic School - Kindergarten to Grade 11 - the traditional Caribbean final secondary school grade.
As of July 2000, there were 42,696 inhabitants; their average life expectancy was 72.4 years. Emigration has historically been very high, and high levels of such in the country has resulted in a continuous decrease in the nation's population by about 25% since its peak of about 51,100 in 1960.
Emigration from St. Kitts & Nevis to the United States:
Saint Kitts and Nevis is known for a number of musical celebrations including Carnival (18 December to 3 January 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.
Additional festivals on the island of Saint Kitts include Inner City Fest, in February in Molineaux; Green Valley Festival, usually around Whit Monday in village of Cayon; Easterama, around Easter in village of Sandy Point; Fest-Tab, in July or 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.
Cricket is common in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Top players are contributed to the West Indies cricket team. Runako Morton a current middle-order batsman on the main squad, is from Nevis. Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest nation on Earth to ever host a World Cup event; it was one of the host venues of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
The St. Kitts and Nevis national football team, also known as the "Sugar Boyz", has experienced some international success in recent years, progressing to the semifinal round of qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in the CONCACAF region. Led by Glence Glasgow they defeated U.S. Virgin Islands and Barbados before they were outmatched by Mexico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Billiard Federation - SKNBF, is the governing body for cue sports across the two islands. The SKNBF is a member of the Caribbean Billiards Union - CBU, with the SKNBF President Ste Williams holding the post of CBU Vice President.
Kim Collins is the country's foremost track and field athlete. He has won gold medals in the 100 metres at both the World Championships in Athletics and Commonwealth Games, and at the 2000 Sydney Olympics he was the country's first athlete to reach an Olympic final. He and three other athletes represented St. Kitts and Nevis at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
American writer and former figure skater and triathlete Kathryn Bertine was granted dual citizenship in an attempt to make the 2008 Summer Olympics representing St. Kitts and Nevis in women's cycling. Her story was chronicled online at ESPN.com as a part of its E-Ticket feature entitled "So You Wanna Be An Olympian?" She ultimately failed to earn the necessary points for Olympic qualification.
|Government||constitutional monarchy with Westminster-style parliament|
|Currency||East Caribbean dollar (XCD)|
|Area||261 sq km|
|Population||38,958 (July 2006 est.)|
|Religion||Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic|
|Calling Code||+1 869|
|Time Zone||UTC -4|
As if it were the custom in the Caribbean, St-Kitts and Nevis changed hands many times between English and French, which has left it a heritage of cities with names from both countries. Contrariwise, the architecture there is very Anglo-Saxon (Style Victorian) with driving on left and especially in downtown Basseterre: Circus Place the reproduction of the 'Berkeley Memorial Clock'.
The islands became an associated state of the United Kingdom with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. In 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.
There are also several ancient British fortifications which have been restored with minutiae and reproducing the tiniest details of original construction. St-Kitts and Nevis will be called to be developed in the near future, in fact many projects are in progress or completion, notably vast dockings to accommodate the largest liners and cruisers with terminals, loading docks, etc.
What is really remarkable on St-Kitts and Nevis is the natural aspect. Many tropical birds which one rarely finds elsewhere are present in great concentration in the nature and there are also the famous monkeys which, it is said, were introduced by the pirates. An all-new road permits going to the southeast end of St-Kitts (Turtle Beach) where one feels that a certain febrility in the air will make of this part of the island an appreciated place. Indeed, one has only to take a little adventure in the underwoods with some fruit in hand to see oneself quite soon surrounded by monkeys coming gently to meet one to get fed. For the inhabitants of the islands, on the other hand, the monkeys are not perceived as as big a joy, for these pretty little hairy beings plunder the harvest and nose around everywhere they can go.
Tropical tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November).
With coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a three-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island. The highest point is Mount Liamuiga (St Kitts) at 1,156 meters. there is a great pic of saint kitts at google
There is a cruise ship terminal as well as a marina for yachts in Basseterre.
Take a catamaran/snorkel excursion with Blue Water Safaris or Leeward Island Charters.
You can also charter a boat with No Problem Boat Charters.
For ferry from St Kitts (Majors Bay) to Nevis (Cades Bay) you can take the Sea Bridge which runs from 8AM till 7PM. For times go to .
There is a scenic railroad tour  that goes through portions of the narrow gauge railroad formerly used for the sugar mill. If more than one large cruise ship visits the island, organized train tours can fill the train.
Taxis and buses outnumber those needing them in St. Kitts. Be sure to negotiate upfront the costs of the trip, pay special attention if the fare is in US or EC dollars.
Temporary drivers licenses are available, as well as several car rentals agencies.
There are many popular tour guides in St. Kitts that will give you a tour of the island. One such tour guide is Thenford Grey's Island Tours or Grey's Island Excursions .
Micro buses form the public transportation system on the island. These are much cheaper than taxis and can be flagged down while in route. If they are full the driver will flash their lights and proceed on. Service does not generally extend to Frigate Bay or the Southern Peninsula. That is the domain of taxis. Taxis and Buses use the same format of Micro buses, the difference is that taxis have a yellow license plate and start with the letter T and buses have a green one which starts with the letter H. Bus fare varies but in 2005 was between 1.25 EC and 5 EC depending on length of trip.
The language of Saint Kitts and Nevis is English. However if you have never visited the Caribbean before you may have difficulty understanding the patois, or more correctly the Creaole, of the locals which is based on the English language but to the untrained ear sounds nothing like it. For example "a-come" means coming "a-knock" means knocking. Most notable is the simplification of use of pronouns as in "I and I" which replaces all other pronouns like she/he, we/my, yours, hers/his and ours. The Caribbean patois has its roots not only in African languages (west, central and Nigerian), standard English, Scottish and Spanish but also Perso-Arabic and Sanskrit. Unusually the end result is not just a language but also a philosophical statement which emphasises the group relationship rather than the personal.
See also discussion of this topic under BasseTerre.
Contrary to the myth that all Caribbean countries are expensive, prices on Nevis are pretty reasonable. Fuel is expensive as it has to be imported but as the island is small you won't be using that much anyway. Many everyday products can be bought at a reasonable price and depending where you go eating out is affrodable for most. Fresh food although limited in choice by American and British standards is also reasonably priced.
There are many dining options in St. Kitts. Some of the popular restaurants are:
You'll find lots of beach bars located in the Frigate Bay and South East Peninsula.
The Mount Liamuiga hiking excursion offered by many cruise ship lines involves some climbing, at times necessitating the scaling of rocks by hand. To reach the last lookout, you have to grab onto a rope and hoist yourself onto a rock ledge and climbing over large fallen trees.
The trails are not marked, and consist of little more than a space between two trees, or two rocks and can be muddy, there is little shelter from the rain, and no toilets.
It is important when in the city and other public places (airport, downtown, stores) to be sure to wear shoes and a shirt. It is a sign of disrespect to be wearing beach attire in the city. Loud public swearing is also looked down upon and you can be fined for it.
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Saint Kitts and Nevis