Saint Kitts

Saint Kitts

Infobox Islands
name = Saint Christopher

image caption = Map of Saint Kitts
image size =

map_custom = no
native name =
native name link =
nickname = Saint Kitts
location = Caribbean Sea
coordinates = coord|17|15|N|62|40|W|display=inline
archipelago = Leeward Islands
total islands =
major islands =
area = convert|168|km2|sqmi
length = convert|29|km|mi
width = convert|8|km|mi
highest mount = Mount Liamuiga
elevation = convert|1156|m|ft
country = Saint Kitts and Nevis
country admin divisions title =
country admin divisions =
country admin divisions title 1 =
country admin divisions 1 =
country admin divisions title 2 =
country admin divisions 2 =
country largest city = Basseterre
country largest city population = 15,500
population = 35,000
population as of =
density = 208.33
ethnic groups = African descent
additional info =

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 coord|17|15|N|62|40|W|, 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 [] , Windsor University School of Medicine, and Robert Ross International University of Nursing.


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.

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 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, Montserrat, Saba, St. Martin and St. Barts. 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 labor) 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 defense 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.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.


There are nine parishes on the island of St. Kitts:
* Christ Church Nichola Town
* Saint Anne Sandy Point
* Saint George Basseterre
* Saint John Capisterre
* Saint Mary Cayon
* Saint Paul Capisterre
* Saint Peter Basseterre
* Saint Thomas Middle Island
* Trinity Palmetto Point


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 [] .

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


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.

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.

* Lord Hercules George Robert Robinson was governor of Saint Christopher from 1855 to 1859.
* Robert Bradshaw was a major political figure in St. Kitts from 1932 to his death in 1978.
* [ Official Name: The Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis]
* [ The History of St. Kitts Nevis: a Black Perspective]


Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport serves St. Kitts.


ee also

* Culture of St. Kitts and Nevis
* [
* Nevis, St. Kitts' sister island.

External links

* [ Saint Kitts Tourism Authority] - Official Site
* [ Christmas Sports in Saint Kitts/Nevis]
* [ Saint Kitts Music Festival]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Saint Kitts — Saint Kitts, westind. Insel, s. Saint Christopher …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Saint Kitts — (spr. ßent), Insel, s. Saint Christopher …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Saint-Kitts — Île Saint Christophe Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saint Christophe. Île Saint Christophe Saint Kitts (en) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Saint Kitts — Île Saint Christophe Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saint Christophe. Île Saint Christophe Saint Kitts (en) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Saint Kitts — St. Kitts und Nevis St. Kitts (engl. Saint Kitts) ist eine Insel in der Karibik. Sie ist auch noch unter ihrem früheren Namen Saint Christopher bekannt. St. Kitts bildet zusammen mit der Insel Nevis den Inselstaat St. Kitts und Nevis. Während der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Saint Kitts — noun the largest of the islands comprising Saint Christopher Nevis • Syn: ↑Saint Christopher, ↑St. Christopher, ↑St. Kitts • Instance Hypernyms: ↑island • Part Holonyms: ↑Saint Kitts and Nevis, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Saint Kitts — or Saint Christopher geographical name island British West Indies in the Leewards; chief town Basseterre area 68 square miles (177 square kilometers); with Nevis, forms independent state of Saint Kitts Nevis (capital Basseterre area 104 square… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Saint Kitts — noun An island in the West Indies, the northern island of the federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Syn: Saint Christopher Island See Also: Kittsian …   Wiktionary

  • Saint Kitts And Nevis — Introduction Saint Kitts and Nevis Background: First settled by the British in 1623, the islands became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and… …   Universalium

  • Saint Kitts und Nevis — Saint Kịtts und Nevis     Kurzinformation:   Fläche: 262 km2   Einwohner: (2000) 45 000   Hauptstadt: Basseterre   Amtssprache: Englisch   Nationalfeiertag: 19. 9.   …   Universal-Lexikon