SHORT HISTORY OF St. KITTS AND NEVIS
St Christopher (St.Kitts) formerly known as “Liamuiga or fertile Land” the oldest colonised territory was reportedly “discovered” by Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second voyage. It became the first British Colony in the West Indies in 1624 and then became the first French colony in the Caribbean in 1625.
Five thousand years prior to European arrival, the island was settled by Indian people. The latest arrivals, the Kalinago people arrived approximately 3 centuries before the Europeans. They allowed the Europeans to colonise St. Kitts.
St. Kitts is approximately 93 square km in area with a very distinctive shape of a paddle. Most of it is made up of a range of mountains. There is a dormant though not extinct volcano called Mount Misery or Mount Liamuiga as it is now called which is 1,156m high. The natural vegetation is lush. A number of trees ranging from mahogany to bamboo and those bearing fruits from oranges to sour sop. Added to these are palm trees, coconut trees and bay trees.
The estimated population (combined with Nevis) is over 42,600 at the last census in 2005. The capital and largest city is Basseterre, which is also the seat of the Government- known as the Assembly. The Prime Minister is the Leader of the majority party of the House. The newly modernised “Bay front” or Porte Zante is the main entry port for the large Tourist ships which visits the Island.
The official language is English even though there are other languages spoken due to the open immigration policy.
There are seven publicly administered high/secondary level schools on both Islands and several private secondary schools. The education standard is very high.
St.Kitts and Nevis became as associated State with full internal autonomy in 1967. On the 19th September 1983 they achieved independence but maintaining their Commonwealth Realm with Queen Elizabeth !! as Head of State. Her position dates back to 6th February 1952.
NEVIS was originally named “Oualie” which means “land of beautiful waters probably due to the fresh water springs, hot volcanic and clear blue seas. It is reported that Christopher Columbus arrived on the Island in 1498. The name Nevis is derived from a Spanish name Neutral Senora de las Nieves that means Our Lady of the Snow. This reference is probably due to the white clouds, which usually wreathe the top of Nevis Peak
The first inhabitants of the Islands were the Sibonay Indians two thousands years before colonisation. The Arawaks who originated from the Orinoco area of Venezuela soon followed. Colonisation of the Island took place in 1628 by the British settlers from St.Kitts. It is 93km and lies southeast of St.Kitts across a shallow channel called “The Narrows”.
Nevis is rich in history. It was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton in 1757. The most famous visitor to Nevis during the 18th Century was the British Admiral Horatio Nelson whose record of marriage in 1878 remains on view in a local church.
The capital is Charlestown, which is the largest city on the Island and is the seat of the local Parliament.
Both Islands “officially” function as one but Nevis has its own Parliament with 3 seats whose head of Affairs is the Premier.
In 1998 a vote in a referendum to separate from St. Kitts fell short of the 2/3rd majority needed.