World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - St Kitts and Nevis
|Publisher||Minority Rights Group International|
|Cite as||Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - St Kitts and Nevis, 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4954ce0ec.html [accessed 5 May 2016]|
|Comments||In October 2015, MRG revised its World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. For the most part, overview texts were not themselves updated, but the previous 'Current state of minorities and indigenous peoples' rubric was replaced throughout with links to the relevant minority-specific reports, and a 'Resources' section was added. Refworld entries have been updated accordingly.|
St Kitts, together with Nevis constitute a two-island nation located in the eastern Caribbean Sea about 2,100 kilometres southeast of Miami in the USA. The area of the country is about 267 square kilometres.
As in the rest of the Caribbean the original inhabitants of St Kitts and Nevis were Kalinago (Carib) and Taino (Arawak) groups. When Columbus landed in 1493 he named Saint Kitts after his patron Saint. Christopher. Saint Kitts was eventually settled by the English in 1623 and Nevis in 1628. For the next two hundred years shiploads of Africans were brought in to provide forced labour on the sugar plantations. As in the rest of the British Empire slavery on St Kitts was abolished in 1883.
During the 17th and 18th centuries Saint Kitts was seized by the French several times but was finally ceded to Great Britain in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla were united as a British dependency in 1871. They became an internally self-governing member of the West Indies Associated States in 1967. The islands became independent from Britain in 1983 after Anguilla broke away from the dependency in 1980 opting to remain a British overseas territory.
Main languages: English, Creole
Main religions: Christianity (Anglican)
The majority (90 per cent, World Statesman 2000) of the population of St Kitts and Nevis is of African descent. Most of the rest are European-African or East Indian.
Under the 1983 constitution the head of government is the prime minister, who must command a majority of the one chamber national assembly. The head of state is the British monarch, represented by a governor-general.
The principal economic activity is agriculture. The chief products are sugar and molasses. Coconuts, fruits and vegetables are also produced but exports are still largely reliant on the sugar industry. St Kitts has recently developed its tourist industry.