St. Kitts and Nevis
The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
(also known as the Federation of Saint
Christopher and Nevis), located in the Leeward Islands, is a federal
two-island nation in the West Indies. It is
the smallest sovereign nation in the Americas, in both area and population.
The smaller state of Nevis lies about
3 km southeast of Saint Kitts.
Historically, the British
dependency of Anguilla was also a part of this
union, which was then known collectively as Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla.
The islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis are two of the Caribbean's oldest colonized 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. The island of Nevis
was colonized in 1628 by British settlers from Saint Kitts. From there, Saint
Kitts became the premier base for British and French expansion, as the islands
of Antigua, Montserrat, Anguilla and Tortola for the British, and Martinique,
the Guadeloupe archipelago and St. Barths for
the French were colonized from it.
Although small in size, and
separated by only 3 km 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.
Kitts and Nevis, along with Anguilla, 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.