St Kitts: Wikis

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Saint Christopher

Sobriquet: Saint Kitts
Saint Kitts and Nevis-CIA WFB Map.png
Map of Saint Kitts
Geography
LocationSaintKitts.PNG
Location Caribbean Sea
Coordinates 17°15′N 62°40′W / 17.25°N 62.667°W / 17.25; -62.667
Archipelago Leeward Islands
Area 168 square kilometres (65 sq mi)
Length 29 kilometres (18 mi)
Width 8 kilometres (5.0 mi)
Highest point Mount Liamuiga (1,156 metres (3,793 ft))
Country
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Largest city Basseterre (pop. 15,500)
Demographics
Population 35,000
Density 208.33 /km2 (539.6 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups African descent

Saint Kitts (also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island (Saint-Christophe in French) 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. Together with the island of Nevis, Saint Kitts constitutes one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The island is situated at about 1,300 miles (2,100 km) southeast of Miami, Florida, in the United States. It has a land area of about 68 sq. miles (168 km²), being 18 by 5 miles (29 by 8 km).

Saint Kitts has a population of around 35,000, the majority of whom are mainly of African descent. The primary language is English, with a literacy rate of approximately 98%. Residents call themselves Kittitians.

Saint Kitts is one of the historic centres of the Caribbean. The first successful British colony in the West Indies was founded on the island in 1624, and the island was subsequently used as a base to settle most of the neighbouring islands for Britain. It also became the site of the first successful French colony in the West Indies (with Britain and France splitting the island between them) in 1625, and was then used to settle other Caribbean territories for France.

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest fortress ever built in the Eastern Caribbean. The island is also home to the Warner Park Cricket Stadium, which was used to host 2007 Cricket World Cup matches. This made St. Kitts and Nevis the smallest nation on Earth to ever host a World Cup event.

The island is also an education centre, with the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine [1], Windsor University School of Medicine, and the International University of Health Sciences[2](IUHS).

Contents

Geography

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 here. There is a ring road which goes around the perimeter of the island; the interior of the island is too steep for habitation.

St. Kitts is six miles (10 km) away from Saint Eustatius to the north and two miles (3 km) 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 some 3,792 feet (1,156 m) high.

An aerial view of north-west St. Kitts. Brimstone Hill is visible in the centre-bottom of the picture.

Brimstone Hill

In February of 1782, a French fleet of nearly 50 ships appeared on the horizon off St. Kitt's and Nevis. Headed by Admiral Count François Joseph Paul de Grasse, whose flagship was the exceptionally imposing 130-gun Ville de Paris, the fleet had been dispatched to force the British from the rich sugar colonies of St. Kitts & Nevis—and that meant dislodging them from Brimstone Hill, otherwise known as The Gibraltar of the West Indies. Situated almost 800 feet above sea level, this remarkable fortress is one of the most dramatic spots in the entire Caribbean, both historically and aesthetically. It commands astounding views of the Caribbean, including Nevis, Sint Eustatius, Montserrat, Saba, St. Martin and Saint Barthélemy. Brimstone Hill sprawls over 38 acres, and its massive Fort George citadel is defended by seven-foot-thick walls of black volcanic stone - then better known as brimstone. In 1782 Brimstone Hill had been under nearly continuous construction (by slave labour) for almost nine decades. The 8,000-man French siege force, supported by de Grasse's substantial fleet, calmly set to its task. After a month of almost continuous bombardment, and despite staunch resistance by Brimstone's 1,000 British troops, the French succeeded finally in punching 40-foot holes in the citadel's thick walls. Knowing their situation finally to be without hope, the British surrendered. The French siege commander, the Marquis de Bouille, paid tribute to their heroic defence by allowing the British garrison to leave Brimstone Hill as an undefeated force, in full uniform and with standards held aloft. One year later, when the Treaty of Versailles returned St. Kitts to British rule, the same honor was accorded to the French garrison.

BrimstoneHill02.jpg

Brimstone Hill was abandoned in 1851, and the fort suffered neglect and vandalism for the next century. In 1965, when the site became a national park, intensive restoration returned the imposing fortress perched atop the hill to its original grandeur. Tours of Brimstone Hill are conducted daily, and highlights include the hospital, ammunition stores, artillery officer's quarters, the Prince of Wales Bastion, and the Citadel of Fort George.

Parishes

Parishes of Saint Kitts and Nevis

There are nine parishes on the island of St. Kitts:

Economy


Kittitians use the Eastern Caribbean dollar which maintains a fixed exchange rate of 2.67-to-one with the United States dollar. The US dollar is just as widely accepted as the Eastern Caribbean dollar.

For hundreds of years, St. 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 other Caribbean islands. Transportation, non-sugar agriculture, manufacturing and construction are the other growing sectors of the economy [3].

This Caribbean paradise is 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. There is also the Christophe Harbour development which is now under way and will transform the South East Peninsulsa. As well as driving the economy through tourism Ocean’s Edge and Christophe Harbour are also approved projects 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.

In addition to this, in hopes of expanding tourism, the country hosts its annual St. Kitts Music Festival.

New programs are being developed to help improve the local communities in Saint Kitts and the economy. By 2012, A development on Saint Kitts, Kittitian Hill, will be a centre point for improving the economy by leading several new community programs such as:

  • A Hospitality Institute that will train local people in the hospitality trade rather than simply importing skilled workers.
  • An Agricultural Extension Programme that will work with the local farming community to assist in the selection of sustainable crops and farming techniques such as organic farming. There will also be a regular Saturday Farmers Market, allowing direct trading between guests and farmers.
  • A Computer and Internet Access Programme that will introduce the one-laptop-per-child programme in the surrounding communities and assist getting children broadband internet access and suitable online training.
  • A Small Business Development Programme that will encourage entrepreneurship in the immediate community and the development of small business. Continued development from within Saint Kitts is planned and it will continue to support future economic growth of the Island.

History

Battle of St. Kitts, 1782, as described by an observer in a French engraving titled "Attaque de Brimstomhill".

During the last Ice Age, the sea level was 200 feet (60 m) lower and St. Kitts and Nevis were one island with Saint Eustatius (also known as Statia) and Saba.

St. Kitts was originally settled by pre-agricultural, pre-ceramic "Archaic people", who migrated 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, which migrated to St. Kitts 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 tribe.

Around 1300, the Kalinago, or Carib people arrived on the islands. These war-like people 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.

Early European contact with St. Kitts included the Spanish under Christopher Columbus, and a French Huguenot settlement at Dieppe in 1538. The first permanent settlement was an English colony in 1623, followed by a French colony in 1625. The British and French briefly united to massacre the local Kalinago (preempting a Kalinago plan to massacre the Europeans), and then partitioned the island, with the English in the middle and the French on either end.

The island alternated repeatedly between English and French control over the century, as one power took the whole island, only to have it switch hands due to treaties or further military action. Parts of the island were heavily fortified, as exemplified by UNESCO World Heritage Site at Brimstone Hill and the now-crumbling Fort Charles. The island became British for the final time in 1783.

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Arts & Culture

Culture refers to the total way of life that is learnt and shared by any society. It is the combination of the arts, customs, beliefs and institutions created by a group of people at a particular time and place which forms part of our cultural heritage.

Our cultural heritage includes everything that has been handed down to us by our ancestors that continues to affect our patterns of behaviour and the way we live. However, for a thought or action to be considered cultural, it must be commonly shared by some population or group of individuals. It includes the way we dance or sing or play music. It is the way we speak, the expressions and the languages we use. It is the special foods we cook, and the way they are prepared. It is the stories that we tell or write about ourselves and the land around us. It is the toys and handicrafts we create, the way we build our homes and the traditional methods we use to fish or farm. Our culture is made up of all these things, it even includes the way we enjoy ourselves. A great aspect of our culture is our folklore such as; Clowns, Moko-Jumbies, Masquerade, Bull, and Actors. All come on display in the tremendous exuberance at Christmas time during our carnival to entertain and educate the community about our culture.[1]

Modern communities in Saint Kitts are helping improve the economy and are helping to attract more tourists. Tourism levels between 2007 and 2008 increased by 9.4%[2]. This growth is supported by new quality destinations in Saint Kitts and some new communities have focused on embracing the historic arts and culture of the Island to create authentic growth. The planned Kittitian Hill community on Saint Kitts will complete in 2012 and has focused on enhancing the island art community. Because of this, these developers have included A Postproduction Facility & multi-media lab, A Professional Screening Room with 150 seats for film viewing, 12 Artist Studios for local businesses to produce and sell their art and crafts within the community, An Art Gallery that will curate several shows throughout the year drawn from local, regional and international talent, A Kittitian Hill Film Institute that is focused on giving back to the community and enhancing the film industry in the Caribbean, and to help complement the St. Kitts Music Festival, Kittitian Hill will be home to the Island's own Film Festival, expected to be on par with festivals such as the Sundance Film festival, run by the telluride film festival team. Author Neil Strauss recently gained citizenship with St. Kitts while writing his book Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life.

African slavery

The island originally produced tobacco, but changed to sugar cane in 1640 due to stiff competition from the colony of Virginia. The labour-intensive farming 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 that became law on 1 August 1834. This emancipation was followed by four years of apprenticeship, put in place to protect the plantation owners from losing their labour force. The 1st August is now celebrated as a public holiday and is called Emancipation Day. In 1883 St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla were all linked under one presidency, located on St. Kitts, to the dismay of the Nevisians and Anguillans. Anguilla eventually separated out of this arrangement in 1971, after an armed raid on St. Kitts.

Sugar production continued to dominate the local economy until 2005, when, after 365 years as a monoculture, the government closed the sugar industry. This was due to the industry's huge losses and European Union plans to cut sugar prices by large amounts in the near future.

Transportation

Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport serves St. Kitts.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ St. Kitts Tourism Authority
  2. ^ Saint Kitts Tourism Authority, 2009

External links


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