A narrow strait separates the two larger islands, which are volcanic in origin, mountainous, and renowned for their scenery. The vast majority of the population are descendants of Africans originally brought to the islands as slaves. English is spoken and Anglicanism is the main religion.
Tourism, manufacturing, and a growing offshore financial industry are important to the economy, and cotton and salt are produced. Machinery, food, electronics, beverages, and tobacco are the main exports. Sugar and molasses were also historically important exports, but financial losses led the government to end sugar production and processing in 2005. Machinery, manufactures, food, and fuel are imported. The United States is the main trading partner.
The country is a parliamentary democracy governed under the constitution of 1983. There is a unicameral, 14-seat legislature, the National Assembly, whose members serve five-year terms; the government is headed by the prime minister. The monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by a governor-general, is the head of state. Administratively, the country is divided into 14 parishes.
Saint Kitts and Nevis were visited by Columbus in 1493, but European settlement did not begin until the British arrived on St. Kitts in 1623. French settlers came to the island two years later. Nevis was first settled by the British in 1628. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 granted the islands to Britain. They were part of the colony of the Leeward Islands (1871-1956) and of the West Indies Federation (1958-62). In 1967, together with Anguilla, they became a self-governing state in association with Great Britain. Anguilla seceded later that year; it was placed under direct control of Great Britain and was formally separated from Saint Kitts and Nevis in 1980. In 1983 the two islands gained full independence. Kennedy Simmonds of the People's Action Movement served as prime minister until 1995, when the opposition Labour party won in the general elections and Denzil Douglas became prime minister. Douglas and Labour were returned to power in the 2000, 2004, and 2010 elections.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS OUTCOMES OF UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW ON SAINT KITTS, AND NEVIS, SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE AND NAMIBIA.
Jun 08, 2011; GENEVA, Switzerland -- The following information was released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human...
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS OUTCOMES OF UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW ON SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS, SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE AND NAMIBIA.
Jun 08, 2011; GENEVA, Switzerland -- The following information was released by the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG): The Human Rights...