Saint Kitts and Nevis
OFFICIAL NAME: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
CAPITAL CITY: Basseterre
POPULATION: 50,300 (2011)
AREA: 269 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): English, Creole-English
RELIGION: Anglicans 25%, Methodists 25%, Pentecostals 8%, Brethren 8%, other Protestants 19%, Catholics 7%, others 8%
COIN: East Caribbean dollar
CURRENCY CODE: XCD
ENGLISH NAME: Saint Kitts and Nevis
POPULATION COMPOSITION: afrocaribiere 95%, white, mixed and other 5%
GDP PER residents: $ 12,728 (2011)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 68 years, women 72 years (2005)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.745
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 72
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: –
Saint Kitts and Nevis, formerly Saint Christopher and Nevis, an independent island nation in the northern Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. The economy of the two islands is predominantly based on tourism. The country is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and has Eastern Caribbean dollars as its currency.
The flag was officially introduced at independence in 1983. According to the official interpretation of the symbolism of the flag, the green color stands for the fertility of the country, the yellow for the sunshine, the red for the struggle for freedom, and the black for the African heritage; the stars stand for hope and freedom.
The two islands are both mountainous and part of the same volcanic mountain range. The smaller Nevis is shaped like an almost circular mountain, 985 m high, and is separated from the larger Saint Kitts (Mount Liamuiga, 1156 m) by a 3 km wide strait, The Narrows.
The tropical climate is characterized by an almost constant northeast passage with few temperature variations. Most of the precipitation falls from May to November. In September 1998, the islands were hit hard by Hurricane George, which left more than half of its residents homeless.
One third of the area is cultivated, but a large part of the food supply is imported. The former dependence on sugar production has now been replaced by tourism, some light industry and offshore banking.
The population is predominantly descendants of Africans who were introduced as slaves to work on the sugar plantations. English is the official language. Nevis has a fairly independent position in the federation with own parliament.
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To reduce food imports and dependence on a sugar industry in crisis, the government decided in 2000 to promote the production of milk and basic crops such as yams, sweet potatoes and vegetables. At the same time, corporation taxation has been reduced and facilities for cruise ships have been improved in the hope of attracting more industry and more tourists. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park with a British military facility from the 1600’s and 1700’s. was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 as a significant and valuable testament to European expansion and the use of Africans as slave labor.
When Christopher Columbus called at Saint Kitts in 1493, the island was inhabited by Caribbean people. In 1623, English colonists founded England’s first colony in the Caribbean, and the island became an important starting point for further colonization. In 1628 the first Englishmen settled on Nevis, and for the next 150 years the British, French, and Spaniards rivaled for power over the islands; at the Peace of Paris in 1783 they were ratified as British.
In 1958-62, the islands were part of the West Indies Federation. In 1967, together with Anguilla, they gained status as an associate state with internal self-government; Anguilla was formally seceded from the federation in 1980. Despite strong opposition from Nevis, the islands gained independence within the Commonwealth in 1983.
There continued to be opposition to the community, and in 1998, Nevis held a referendum on secession, with more than half, but not the required two – thirds, voting for independence. Kennedy Simmonds (b. 1936) of the People’s Action Movement was the country’s first prime minister. St. The Kitts and Nevis Labor Party won the election in 1995, and the party’s leader Denzil Douglas (b. 1953) took office in 2010 for the fourth term.