Saint Kitts and Nevis, officially the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, is also called Saint Christopher and Nevis. This Caribbean two-island country is located in the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. Their combined area is 104 square miles (269 square km). The capital city is Basseterre on the island of St Kitts and the main town on Nevis is Charlestown.
St. Kitts was formed by volcanoes, all of which are now dormant. The tallest is the 3,792ft Mount Liamuiga, which is thought to have last erupted some 200 years ago. The strait that separates St. Kitts and Nevis is known as the Narrows, and lives up to the name: in places it’s just two miles wide.
The Cibony were the first people to live on the islands, possibly dating back 2900 years. Like many of the Caribbean islands, they were followed by the Arawak peoples, or Taino around 800 AD. The Caribs followed and had expanded north of St. Kitts by the time of the Spanish conquest. Peak native populations occurred between 500 and 600 AD.
Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean, and has a complex history fighting for control over the centuries. It is the most recent British territory in the Caribbean to gain independence in 1983.
The economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis has traditionally depended on the growing and processing of sugar cane; decreasing world prices in the 1980’s have hurt the industry. Tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore banking activity have assumed larger roles in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Of Note: The Green Vervet Monkey scampers freely beside the roads and beaches. Their ancestors were the pets of 17th-century French settlers, brought over from West Africa. Records suggest they soon escaped to establish a native population, and they’ve been thriving ever since.