Population: 50,314 (July 2011 estimate)
Area: 100 square miles (261 sq km)
Coastline: 84 miles (135 km)
Highest Point: Mount Liamuiga at 3,792 feet (1,156 m)
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a country located in the West Indies region of the Caribbean Sea. It is made up of two islands (the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis). Saint Kitts is the larger of the two islands making up the country and the capital and largest city, Basseterre, is located on that island. Saint Kitts and Nevis is considered the smallest country in the Americas based on its area and population
History of Saint Kitts and Nevis
In 1493, Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of Saint Kitts and gave it the name Saint Christopher. During this same voyage, Columbus also discovered a nearby island and gave it the name Nevis. Europeans did not begin settling on the islands until many years later in the 1600s. In 1623 the English arrived on the islands and shortly thereafter the French arrived. At that time the English changed the name of the larger island to Saint Kitts Island and colonization of the island grew considerably following the initial arrival of the English.
Beginning in 1628 both the English and France had joint control over the island of Saint Kitts. As a result, there were periods of war between the two countries during the 17th century that destroyed the island's economy (U.S. Department of State). At the same time, Nevis was only under the control of the English and it continued to grow. In 1713 Saint Kitts was ceded to the English under the Treaty of Utrecht. In 1782 however France seized both Saint Kitts and Nevis. One year later however the Treaty of Paris returned the islands to England.
From 1871 to 1956 the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis were a part of the Leeward Islands colony and from 1958 to 1962 they were a part of the West Indies Federation. In 1967 the two islands and Anguilla became a self-governing state in association with Great Britain (U.S. Department of State). Shortly thereafter however Anguilla seceded from the islands.
Saint Kitts and Nevis, under the official name the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, achieved full independence on September 19, 1983.
Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Today Saint Kitts and Nevis is considered a parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm. Its executive branch of government consists of a chief of state (Queen Elizabeth II) and a head of government (the prime minister), while its legislative branch is made up of a unicameral National Assembly. The country's judicial branch of government consists of the Easter Caribbean Supreme Court and it is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Saint Kitts and Nevis is divided into 14 parishes for local administration.
Economics and Land Use in Saint Kitts and Nevis
The main sector of Saint Kitts and Nevis's economy is tourism and the related service-industries. Other industries in the country include cotton, salt, copra, clothing and footwear manufacturing and beverages (CIA World Factbook). Agriculture also plays a role in Saint Kitts and Nevis's economy and the main products of that industry are sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables, bananas and fish (CIA World Factbook).
Geography and Climate of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis is located in the Caribbean Sea between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago (map). It is a small country with an area of just 100 square miles (261 sq km). Saint Kitts is the larger of the two islands making up the country with an area of 64 square miles (168 sq km), while Nevis has an area of just 36 square miles (93 sq km). The topography of the islands is rugged with volcanic, mountain interiors that are ringed by relatively flat coastal areas. The highest point in the country is Mount Liamuiga, located on Saint Kitts, at 3,792 feet (1,156 m).
The climate of Saint Kitts and Nevis is considered tropical but is moderated by constant winds (CIA World Factbook). The country also has a rainy season that lasts from May to November. The average January low temperature for the capital city of Basseterre is 75.2˚F (24˚C), while the average September high temperature is 89.6˚F (32˚C).
To learn more about Saint Kitts and Nevis, visit the Geography and Maps page on Saint Kitts and Nevis on this website.
Central Intelligence Agency. (16 August 2011). CIA - The World Factbook - Saint Kitts and Nevis. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sc.html
Infoplease.com. (n.d.). Saint Kitts and Nevis: History, Geography, Government, and Culture- Infoplease.com. Retrieved from: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107930.html
United States Department of State. (12 August 2011). Saint Kitts and Nevis. Retrieved from: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2341.htm
Wikipedia.com. (17 August 2011). Saint Kitts and Nevis - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Kitts_and_Nevis