St. Kitts & Nevis: Historic Island

These two islands are the Caribbean’s oldest colonised territories and the Carib people were on island when Columbus explored it in 1493. He named it after his patron saint, St Christopher and later was shortened to St. Kitts, his nickname. 

It was considered the mother colony with the locals known as Kittitians and Nevisians respectively. Basseterre is the capital located in St. Kitts. The British settled on St. Kitts & Nevis in 1623 and in 1672 the French settled on St. Kitts with Anglo-French rivalry spanning 100 years.

A crucial British victory over the French at Brimstone Hill in 1782, gave the British control until its independence in 1983. The main industry of St Kitts and Nevis consists of tourism, sugar processing, salt and cotton and the people here mostly cultivate rice, sugarcane, yams, vegetables and fish. Both islands are volcanic with a warm, wet climate and sandy beaches.

Since the 1970s, tourism has replaced sugar as the traditional mainstay ofthe economy. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry, after several decades of losses. To compensate for lost jobs, the government has embarked on a programme to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy, such as export-oriented manufacturing and offshore banking.

The undeveloped beach at Majors bay.

The roots of an old growth tree on Mt. Nevis expanding in alien-like fashion.

The first view many see of St. Kitts is Basseterre from above.


The brimstone hill Fortress national park, known as the Gibraltar of the West Indies, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a must see during your visit. Prepare to have your breath taken away by the views.

Watch out for african green, or vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) who have lived on the islands for more than 300 years, and may outnumber the humans.

St. Kitts is the wilder of the sister islands: Don’t miss Reggae beach - the place to chillax and at night don’t miss the undisputed No. 1 hotspot The Strip on Frigate Bay for dancing and party lovers.

The First Anglican Church in the Caribbean, and the oldest church on Nevis, St. Thomas’ Lowland was built in 1643. It is located on the main road about three miles north of Charlestown, and was built to serve the town of Jamestown, the island’s original capital that disappeared. The church is perched high on a hill overlooking St. Kitts.

Alexander hamilton. The Founding Father of the United States, was born in Nevis in approximately 1755.


Hiking Mount Nevis peak, referred to locally as “The Trail”, is one of the Caribbean’s tougher hikes. Climb to the 3,500-foot-high crater rim of Mount Nevis’ dormant volcano. Again, you can enjoy a spectacular view, if it is not cloudy.


FIONA SAWERS is a Partner at Move to Dominica, a relocation specialist, Editor of 100+ Things To Do in Dominica and a volunteer at St Luke’s Primary School, Pointe Michel.