Today, I bring you some information about St. Kitts island, the sister island to my new home of Nevis. From Wikipedia:
Saint Kitts (also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island)) 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. Saint Kitts and the neighboring island of Nevis constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The island is one of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. It is situated about 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles) southeast of Miami. The land area of St. Kitts is about 168 km2 (65 square miles), being approximately 29 kilometers (18 miles) long and on average about 8 kilometers (5.0 miles) across.
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.
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest fortress ever built in the Eastern Caribbean.
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 there. A ring road goes around the perimeter of the island, with smaller roads branching off of it; the interior of the island is too steep for habitation.
Saint Kitts is 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) away from Sint Eustatius to the north and
3 kilometers (1.9 miles) 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 1,156 meters high.
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 many other Caribbean islands. Transportation, non-sugar agriculture, manufacturing and construction are the other growing sectors of the economy.
St. Kitts is dependent on tourism to drive its economy. Tourism has been increasing since
1978. In 2009, there were 587,479 arrivals to Saint Kitts compared to 379,473 in 2007, which represents an increase of just under 40% growth in a two-year period. As tourism grows, the demand for vacation property increases in conjunction.
St. Kitts & Nevis also acquires foreign direct investment from their unique citizenship by investment program, outlined in their Citizenship Act of 1984. Interested parties can acquire citizenship if they pass the government’s strict background checks and make an investment into an approved real estate development. Purchasers who pass government due diligence and make a minimum investment of US$400,000, into qualifying government-approved real estate, are entitled to apply for citizenship of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
During the last Ice Age, the sea level was 200 feet (61 meters) lower and St. Kitts and Nevis were one island, along with Sint Eustatius (also known as Statia).
St. Kitts was originally settled by pre-agricultural, pre-ceramic “Archaic people,” who migrated south 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, who migrated to St. Kitts north 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 group.
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.
A Spanish expedition under Christopher Columbus discovered and claimed the island for
Spain in 1493. A short-lived French Huguenot settlement was established at Dieppe Bay in 1538. The first English colony was established 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. In 1629, a Spanish force sent to clear the islands of the area of foreign settlement seized St. Kitts but the English settlement was rebuilt following the peace between England and Spain in 1630.
The island alternated repeatedly between English and French control during the 17th and 18th centuries, as one power took the whole island, only to have it switch hands due to treaties or further military action. It was in 1783 that the island became British for the final time.
Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport serves St. Kitts. British Airways flies in twice a week from London and daily connections from Miami and New York are available. The Basseterre Ferry Terminal facilitates travel between St. Kitts and sister island Nevis.