St Kitts

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Thu 24 Feb 2011 21:52
Saint Kitts




The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, located in the Leeward Islands, is a federal two-island nation. It is the smallest sovereign nation in the Americas, in both area and population. The capital city and headquarters of government for the federated state is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller state of Nevis lies about two miles southeast of Saint Kitts, across a shallow channel called "The Narrows". Historically, the British dependency of Anguillar was also a part of this union, which was then known collectively as Saint Christopher-Nevis Anguillar. Saint Kitts and Nevis were amongst the first islands in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean. 



Etymology: Saint Kitts was named "Liamuiga" by the Kalinago Indians who inhabited the island. This name, roughly translated in English means "fertile land," a testimony to the island's rich volcanic soil and high productivity. There is some disagreement over the name which Columbus gave to St. Kitts. For many years it was thought that he named the island San Cristobal, after his patron saint Saint Christopher, the saint of travelling. However, new studies suggest that Columbus named the island Sant Jago (Saint James). The name "San Cristobal" was apparently given by Columbus to the island we now know as Saba, twenty miles northwest. It seems that "San Cristobal" came to be applied to the island of St. Kitts only as the result of a mapping error. No matter the origin of the name, the island was well documented as "San Cristobal" by the 17th century. The first British colonists kept the English translation of this name, and dubbed it "St. Christopher's island." In the 17th century Kit, or Kitt, was a common abbreviation for the name Christopher, and so the island was often informally referred to as "Saint Kitt's island," which was further shortened to "Saint Kitts." 



History: The islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis are two of the Caribbean's oldest colonised territories. Saint Kitts became the first British colony in the West Indies in 1624 and then became the first French colony in the Caribbean in 1625, when both nations decided to partition the island. Five thousand years prior to European arrival, the island was settled by Indian peoples. The latest arrivals, the Kalinago peoples, arrived approximately three centuries before the Europeans. The Kalinago allowed the Europeans to colonise Saint Kitts, while earlier attempts to settle other islands were met with immediate destruction of the colonies by the Indians. The Kalinago were eventually wiped out in the great Kalinago Genocide of 1626. Often overlooked in history is the fact that in the 1600's, under Cromwell's reign, England shipped approximately 25,000 Irish to St. Kitts as slaves to work on the island. In 1629 a Spanish expedition occupied both islands and deported the English and French habitants back to their countries. Although small in size, and separated by only two miles of water, the two islands were viewed and governed as different states until the late 19th century, when they were forcibly unified along with the island of Anguilla by the British. To this day relations are strained, with Nevis accusing Saint Kitts of neglecting its needs. Saint Kitts and Nevis, along with Anguillar became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. Angullians rebelled, and their island was allowed to separate from the others in 1971. St. Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. It is the newest sovereign nation in the Americas. In August 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from St. Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. In late September 1998, Hurricane Georges caused approximately $445 million in damages and limited GDP growth for the year.



GeographyThe highest peak, at 3792 feet, is Mount Liamuiga. The islands are of volcanic origin, with large central peaks covered in tropical rainforest; the steeper slopes leading to these peaks are mostly uninhabited. The majority of the population on both islands lives closer to the sea where the terrain flattens out. There are numerous rivers descending from the mountains of both islands, which provide fresh water to the local population. St. Kitts also has one small lake. It has the Caribbean coast (above) an Atlantic coast (above), white sand, black sand and is a popular place to get married. Many cruise ships visit every week from December to June.



Demographics: As of July 2000, there were 42,696 inhabitants; their average life expectancy was 72.4 years. Emigration has historically been very high and high levels of such in the country has resulted in a continuous decrease in the nation's population by about 25% since its peak of about 51,100 in 1960. Emigration from St. Kitts & Nevis to the US: 1986–1990: 3,513. 1991–1995: 2,730. 1996–2000: 2,101. 2001–2005: 1,756. Emigration from St Kitts & Nevis to the UK: The 2001 Census showed 7,091 Saint Kitts and Nevis born people in the UK, with almost 20,000 of direct descent. The schools have a strict uniform policy. There are two medical schools and one veterinary.




Culture: Saint Kitts and Nevis is known for a number of musical celebrations including Carnival (18th December to 3rd January on Saint Kitts). The last week in June features the St Kitts Music Festival, while the week-long Culturama on Nevis lasts from the end of July into early August. Other festivals on the island of Saint Kitts include Inner City Fest, in February in Molineaux; Green Valley Festival, usually around Whit Monday in village of Cayon; Easterama, around Easter in village of Sandy Point; Fest-Tab, in July or August in the village of Tabernacle; and La Festival de Capisterre, around Independence Day in Saint Kitts and Nevis (19th of September), in the Capisterre region. These celebrations typically feature parades, street dances and salsa, jazz, soca, calypso and steelpan music.



Sports: Cricket is common in Saint Kitts and Nevis, and is the smallest nation on Earth to ever host a World Cup event; it was one of the host venues of the 2007 Cricket World Cup at the national cricket ground - Warner Park. The St Kitts and Nevis national football team is also known as the "Sugar Boyz". The St. Kitts and Nevis Billiard Federation - SKNBF, is the governing body for cue sports across the two islands. Kim Collins is the country's foremost track and field athlete. He has won gold medals in the hundred metres at both the World Championships in Athletics, the Commonwealth Games and at the 2000 Sydney Olympics he was the country's first athlete to reach an Olympic final. The road that leads to the airport is named in his honour.