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This article was written on 19 Aug 2010, and is filled under To: St. Kitt.

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Welcome to St. Kitts

Welcome to St. Christopher, or St. Kitts, a gorgeous island known for its well-preserved natural sites. It was home to the first British settlement in the New World and retains strong traditions inherited from the colonial period. Visitors should also check out sister island Nevis.


HISTORY

When the first Europeans arrived to St. Kitts, the island was already inhabited by Arawak and Carib Indians. Christopher Columbus discovered the island 1493 and named it St. Christopher. The English came much later, in 1623, and soon after their arrival St. Kitts became the theatre of brutal confrontations between Britain and France for dominance. Having been defeated at Brimstone Hill in 1782, the French finally ceded the island to the British in 1783.

During the colonial period large-scaled sugar plantations were established and African slaves were imported to do the backbreaking work on the fields. Slavery was banned throughout the British Empire in 1834, and St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla were merged together in 1882. The union lasted until 1967, when Anguilla finally parted ways from its siblings. St. Kitts and Nevis became fully independent in 1983.

The islands’ main export took a serious hit when the world sugar prices decreased in the 1980s, and the government responded by switching from sugar production to tourism and finances. St. Kitts experienced robust economic development until 1998, when a series of hurricanes swept over the island. Following massive financial losses, St. Kitts announced in 2005 that it would abandon the sugar business.

St. Kitts is the larger and the most densely populated of the two islands, but remains relatively underdeveloped. The lack of development is even more evident in Nevis, where traffic lights are still absent. Both islands are dotted with volcanoes, tropical rain forests, secluded beaches, historical sights, and sugarcane fields. Most of the country’s 49 900 inhabitants are descended from African slaves, but there are a few people of European ancestry as well. English is the official language.

ACTIVITIES

You’ll find some pretty good beaches on both islands, including Friar’s and Frigate Bay on St. Kitts and Pinney’s and Oualie Beach on Nevis.

Both islands have plenty of activities to keep you busy, such as diving, boat rides, kayaking, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, horseback riding, and hiking through the majestic rain forests.

Excellent golf courses attract a lot of visitors to both S. Kitts and Nevis.

If you’re looking for exotic cuisine, you’ll like what St. Kitts and Nevis have to offer.

Other reading: Caribbean Attractions

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