Saint Kitts and Nevis

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SAINT CHRISTOPHER I NEVIS, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Federacja Saint Christopher i Nevis, Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, państwo w Ameryce Środkowej, w Indiach Zachachodnich, na wyspach Saint Christopher (Saint Kitts) i Nevis w archipelagu Wysp Podwietrznych w Małych Antylach, nad Morzem Karaibskim.

WARUNKI NATURALNE. Wyspy górzyste, pochodzenia wulkanicznego, Saint Christopher (176 km2) wys. do 1156 m, Nevis (93 km2) - do 985 m; wzdłuż wybrzeży rafy koralowe; klimat równikowy wilgotny; latem i jesienią silne cyklony; gorące źródła mineralne.

LUDNOŚĆ. Ludność stanowią (1988): Murzyni (86%), Mulaci (11%), biali (2%); większość wierzących (1985) to protestanci (76,4%), katolicy (10,7%), pozostali (12,9%); przyrost naturalny - 11,5‰ (1989); ludność miejska stanowi 49% (1990); gł. ośr. wyspy Nevis - Charlestown (1,2 tys. mieszk. - 1990).

GOSPODARKA. Podstawą gospodarki jest rolnictwo i obsługa turystów; produkt krajowy brutto na 1 mieszk. 2000 dol. USA (1989); duże znaczenie dla dochodów ludności mają wpływy pieniężne od pracowników zatrudnionych za granicą, równoważące ok. 50% wartości dochodów z eksportu.

USTRÓJ POLITYCZNY. Monarchia konstytucyjna; czł. bryt. Wspólnoty Narodów; konstytucja z 1983; głową państwa jest monarcha bryt., reprezentowany przez mianowanego przez siebie gubernatora generalnego; władza ustawodawcza należy do 1-izbowego Zgromadzenia Nar. o kadencji 5-letniej, złożonego z 3 senatorów mianowanych przez gubernatora i 11 deputowanych wybieranych w wyborach powszechnych; władza wykonawcza należy do rządu powoływanego przez gubernatora spośród członków parlamentu na wniosek premiera i odpowiedzialnego przed parlamentem; na premiera gubernator powołuje przywódcę większości parlamentarnej.

Wyspa Nevis ma własne organy ustawodawcze i wykonawcze; gubernatora reprezentuje mianowany przez niego zastępca.

BASSETERRE, stolica Saint Christopher i Nevis, na wyspie Saint Christopher, port nad M. Karaibskim; 16 tys. mieszk. (1986); przemysł spożywczy, bawełniany; ośrodek handlowo - usługowy; port lotniczy; stacja kablowa o międzynarodowym znaczeniu.

Saint Kitts and Nevis Islands

Saint Kitts and Nevis - general map

Bassetrre - Capitol of Saint Kitts and Nevis map by Caribbean-on-line

Charlestown - map by Caribbean-on-line



Saint Kitts and Nevis


officially Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, also called Saint Christopher and Nevis,
state composed of two islands of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Their combined area is 104 square miles (269 square kilometres). The capital is Basseterre on the island of Saint Kitts.
sovereign democratic state composed of two islands of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The islands were formerly an associated state of the United Kingdom. Their combined area is 104 square miles (269 square km). Basseterre on Saint Kitts is the capital. Saint Kitts and Nevis lie between Anguilla to the north, Antigua to the east, and Montserrat to the south. The population in 1990 was estimated at 43,000.

The land

Saint Kitts and Nevis are related physiographically by a volcanic mountain chain that dominates the central core of both islands. Saint Kitts (23 miles [37 km] long and 5 miles [8 km] wide) is roughly oval in shape except for a long, narrow peninsula to the southeast. On the northern half of the island the mountains rise to their highest point at Mount Liamuiga (3,792 feet [1,156 m]), which has a lake in its forested crater. A 2-mile- (3-kilometre-) wide channel, The Narrows, separates Saint Kitts from Nevis to the southeast. The circularly shaped Nevis, surrounded by coral reefs, covers an area of about 36 square miles (93 square km). The island is almost entirely a single mountain, Nevis Peak (3,232 feet [985 m]), which is flanked by Round Hill (1,014 feet [309 m]) northward and Saddle Hill (1,850 feet [564 m]) southward. Its shores also are rimmed by long stretches of sandy beach. Saint Kitts and Nevis are both well drained by rivers.

Lying in the path of the trade winds, these tropical islands have a moderate climate. The mean annual temperature is 80° F (27° C), with occasional extremes of less than 70° F (21° C) and more than 90° F (32° C). The annual rainfall averages about 55 inches (1,397 mm) on Saint Kitts and about 48 inches (1,219 mm) on Nevis. Rainfall, however, varies with location and elevation. Saint Kitts and Nevis lie in the path of Caribbean hurricanes, which at times have severely damaged the islands.

Heavy vegetation covers much of the mountainous interior, the kind and extent varying with elevation. At higher elevations there is only grass cover, and grazing is common. The grassy slopes descend into tree growth that thickens in places into rain forest. At the lower elevations much natural vegetation has been replaced by cultivated plants.

The people

The Carib Indians, who had driven the more peaceable Arawak Indians from the islands, were themselves driven from the islands by French and British colonists. Most of the 43,000 people who now live on the islands are the descendants of black Africans brought to Saint Kitts and Nevis as slaves. A small percentage are of mixed European and black African blood, and there are lesser populations of Europeans and Asians. Protestant groups, including Anglicans and Methodists, are the predominant religious denominations, and there are also some Moravians, Roman Catholics, and Baha'is. The official language is English. The main population centres are the capital, Basseterre, with a population of 18,500 (1985 est.), and Charlestown on Nevis, with a population of 1,700 (1985 est.). The population growth rate has declined sharply (less than zero) in recent years. With high infant-mortality, death, and emigration rates, the annual rate of population increase has remained low for the region.


When Christopher Columbus visited the islands in 1493, they were occupied by the warlike, cannibalistic Caribs. Columbus gave the island the name Saint Christopher, after his patron saint, but the name was shortened to Saint Kitts by settlers who, arriving from England in 1623, established the first successful English colony in the West Indies at Old Road on the western coast. The name Nevis derives from Columbus' likening that island's cloud-topped peak to las nieves, or “the snows,” when he visited there in 1493. Nevis was settled by the English in 1628.

The French settled on Saint Kitts in 1627, and an Anglo-French rivalry grew in the 17th century, lasting more than 100 years. After a decisive British victory over the French at Brimstone Hill in 1782, control of Saint Kitts was no longer contested. By the Treaty of Versailles (1783), both Saint Kitts and Nevis had become wholly British possessions.

The islands, including nearby Anguilla, were united in 1882. They joined the West Indies Federation (1958) and remained in that association until it was dissolved in 1967. Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla became an associated state of the United Kingdom on Feb. 27, 1967. The islands as a group were granted full internal self-government with the United Kingdom retaining responsibility for defense and foreign affairs. Anguillans complained of domination by the Saint Christopher administration, and in July 1967 they proclaimed independence. The British intervened, however, and the Anguilla Act of July 1971 placed Anguilla directly under British control. Anguilla's union with Saint Christopher and Nevis was formally severed in 1980. A constitutional conference was held in London in 1982, and, despite controversy over special provisions for Nevis, the islands became independent on Sept. 19, 1983, formally adopting the name Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. In 1988 the name was officially changed to Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The economy

Saint Kitts and Nevis continues to be an agricultural society despite encouragement of manufacturing by the government. Sugar has been the mainstay of the economy since colonial times, and the country's economic condition reacts strongly to fluctuations in the sugar market. Nevis grows chiefly cotton, vegetables, and coconuts. Fruit and vegetable growing and livestock raising are principal farming activities. Tourism, although seasonal, is economically important.

The principal manufacturing industries, in addition to sugar refining, are building construction, electronics, clothing, and beverages. Sugar is by far the main export item, accounting for more than one-half of export revenue in recent years. Other exports include molasses, clothing and footwear, electrical machinery, and beverages. Imports include foods, fuels, chemical products, machinery, metal products, and building materials. International trade is carried on chiefly with the United States, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands Antilles, and Canada. The gross national product (GNP) is growing more rapidly than the population; the GNP per capita, however, is low for a Caribbean country.

Transportation on the islands has been fairly well developed, largely in the interests of the sugar trade and tourism. About two-fifths of the roads are paved. The nation is served by two airports, the Golden Rock airport near Basseterre and the smaller Newcastle airport on Nevis. Imports, exports, and tourism centre on Basseterre, the main port, which was improved with the addition of a deepwater harbour in 1981. Rail traffic is confined to about 36 miles (58 km) of track operated by the sugar industry.

Government and social conditions

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis is a constitutional monarchy and a member of the Commonwealth. The British monarch is the head of state and is represented in the country by a governor-general, who is appointed. The head of government is the prime minister, who, along with other ministers, is a member of the Cabinet. The monarch and the National Assembly constitute the Parliament, some of whose members are appointed. Nevis is entitled to no less than one-third of the seats in the National Assembly. The minimum age for voters is 18. The island of Nevis, while represented in the National Assembly, also has its own legislature and enjoys a certain amount of autonomy within the federal structure. The national constitution includes provisions for Nevis to secede from the federation.

Since the time of emancipation (1838), the labourers on Saint Kitts have had little opportunity to improve themselves. The sugar-plantation owners continue to own most of the land. Periodic unemployment and inadequate housing are chronic problems in the young nation. On Nevis the steeper terrain made sugarcane less profitable, and after 1838 sharecropping of Sea Island cotton prevailed; but by the 1970s much land had reverted to scrub secondary growth. The government provides health facilities for the people, and tropical diseases have been virtually eliminated. Education is compulsory for children from 5 to 16 years of age. About 90 percent of the adult population is literate.

A government-owned radio and television service operates on Saint Kitts, and modern telecommunications serve the islands. The public library in Basseterre has a notable collection of rare books on West Indian culture and includes a number of antiquities dating from the Carib culture on the island.

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