Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts and Nevis, also called Saint Christopher and Nevis, island state of the Caribbean. Consists of the islands of Saint Kitts (168 km2) and Nevis (93 km2) and is part of the Leeward Islands offshore group. The islands are located west of Antigua and Barbuda, and between Sint Eustatius in the Netherlands Antilles in the northwest and Montserrat in the southeast. Saint Kitts and Nevis was the UK’s first foothold in the Caribbean, and is the smallest state in North and South America in both area and population. Capital: Basseterre.

Saint Kitts and Nevis (name): In the 17th century, Kitt or Kitts was a common abbreviation for Christopher; Saint Kitt’s Island was shortened to Saint Kitts, after Saint Christoffer. Nevis refers to Spanish: Nuestra Señora de las Nievas, the Snow Maiden, who was shortened and anglicised to Nevis.

National anthem is ‘ O Land of Beauty ‘.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

People and society

92.7 percent of the population has African slaves of origin and the rest is of European (2.2 percent), Indian, Southeast Asian and Chinese descent (source: National Census Report 2011, St. Kitts and Nevis). Most live on the coast. More than three-quarters of the population lives on St. Kitts. There is high emigration especially from Nevis due to high unemployment. 32.7 percent of the population is urban (2010).

Life expectancy at birth is 77.99 years for women and 73.09 years for men (CIA World Factbook 2015).

82.4 percent of the population is Christian. 206 percent belong to the Anglican Church while Methodists make up 19.1 percent (2001).

English is the official language. In daily speech a French Creole language is spoken.

State and politics

The country is a parliamentary-democratic federal state. The British monarch is a titular head of state and is represented by a Governor General. The National Assembly with one chamber has 14 representatives; 11 are elected directly in the general election for five years by one-person circles (eight from Saint Kitts and three from Nevis) and three are appointed by the Governor-General.

Saint Kitts and Nevis are divided into 14 parsonages, nine at Saint Kitts and five at Nevis.

The country has a defense force, the Saint Kitts and Nevis Defense Force (SKNDF), with approximately 375 people. It is divided into an infantry unit, a support troop and a coast guard. The most important task of the Land Force is the country’s internal security in cooperation with the local police. The Coast Guard is responsible for the territorial waters and the stopping of drug traffic. Saint Kitts and Nevis participate in the Regional Secuity System, which is a defense collaboration between seven Eastern Caribbean states.

Saint Kitts and Nevis are members of the UN and most of the UN’s special organizations, the World Trade Organization, the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States, CARICOM and the Cotonou Agreement.


The islands were populated from the north about 3000 BCE. of non-farming Stone Age people who originally emigrated from Florida. After about 1000 BCE. and later, farmers came in several waves from the south from the Orinoco area of Venezuela ; these were about the year 800 CE. displaced by peaceful Arawak -bønder also from the Orinoco area. Warrior Kalinagos (Carib Indians) came about 1300 and forced the Arabs away. The Kalinago called Saint Kitts for Laimauiga (fertile island) and Nevis for Oualie (the land of beautiful waters).

Columbus discovered the islands during their second voyage in 1493. In 1538, French Huguenot refugees settled on Saint Kitts. The British tried to colonize the islands in the 17th century, but did not succeed because of opposition from the people. In 1623 an English colony was established at Saint Kitts. Three years later, the English and French agreed to share the island. Nevis was colonized by British from Saint Kitts in 1628. The following year, a Spanish punitive expedition deported the French and English settlers and massacred Kalinago. The French and English settlers soon returned.

From 1642, Saint Kitts was under partial French control; a French Creole language was widespread in the population. At the beginning of the 18th century, English and British fought for control of Saint Kitts. At the peace in Utrecht in 1713 the island became a British colony.

In 1803, the British occupied Saint Kitts and formally became king over the island in 1814. From 1838 to 1958, Saint Kitts and Nevis were part of the British Windward Islands and then part of the West Indies Federation until 1962. In 1967, Saint Kitts and Nevis reached the interior self-government and joined forces with Anguillaan associated state until 1980 when Anguilla was separated and subject to British rule. Due to opposition from the people of Nevis, the independence process took time; full independence was implemented in 1983. Since independence, there has been a somewhat strained relationship between Saint Kitts and Nevis. In 1996, in a referendum, Nevis tried to disassociate himself from Saint Kitts, but did not achieve the necessary two-thirds majority. In 2003, the largest hotel complex in the Eastern Caribbean opened on Saint Kitts.

Economy and business

Agriculture was traditionally the most important trade route, but is replaced by service industries. After harvesting in 2005, the last state sugar industry closed after several decades of losses. Other agricultural sectors have become increasingly important, such as the production of cotton, yams, bananas, peanuts ( peanuts ), vegetables, rice and copra. Of goats, goats, poultry and sheep are most important. There is considerable fishing. Agriculture accounted for 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2014 (CIA World Factbook)

It’s part of the industry. Most important are sugar products such as raw sugar and ethanol, the production of food, rum, beer and other beverages as well as the production of electronics, machinery, cotton and shoes. Industry accounts for 24.8 percent of GDP (CIA World Factbook 2014)

The United States is the most important trading partner. The country has a deficit in both the trade and balance of payments with abroad.

The service industries have become increasingly important to the economy, accounting for 73.5 per cent of GDP (CIA World Factbook 2014). Many tourists come with cruise ships. Offshore banking is significant.

Knowledge and culture

Schooling is free and compulsory for children aged 5-16. The primary school is 7 years old and high school is 5 + 2 years. There are several public and private secondary schools. Several international institutions offer educational programs especially in medicine.

There is a privately owned daily newspaper and two independent weekly newspapers. There is one state commercial radio and television station, ZIZ Radio and Television, and four radio stations.

The country’s best-known author is the essayist, novelist and playwright Caryl Phillips (1958-).

Popular forms of music are carnival music and include salsa, soca, steelpan and calypso. There are several music festivals, including the St Kitts Music Festival in June and Culturama (July-August) in Nevis.

Cricket is the most widely used sport. Equestrian sports are also popular, especially in Nevis.