7 Facts about this tiny American country: Saint Kitts and Nevis

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In this brief video you can find seven little known facts about Saint Kitts and Nevis.

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1. Columbus named the island Sant Yago (Saint James). The name “San Cristóbal” was given by Columbus to the island now known as Saba, 32 km northwest. It seems that “San Cristóbal” came to be applied to the island of St. Kitts only as the result of a mapping error. Christopher Columbus also named the other island Nevis because it looked like a snow capped mountain and the Spanish word for snow is nieves.

2. Basseterre, estimated population 13,000 in 2011, is the capital of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies. The city of Basseterre has one of the most tragic histories of any Caribbean capital, destroyed many times by colonial wars, fire, earthquakes, floods, riots, and hurricanes. Despite all of this, a considerable number of well-restored buildings still exist in downtown Basseterre.

3. It’s said that St. Kitts is so fertile that even the monkeys are green, and you’ll see colonies of them scampering freely beside the roads and beaches. Their ancestors were the pets of 17th-century French settlers, brought over from West Africa. Records suggest they soon escaped to establish a native population, and they’ve been thriving ever since.

4. Both St. Kitts and Nevis are volcanic islands. Because of this they have very dramatic central mountains and have had rather unpredictable geologic history with lush tropical vegetation. They have white beaches and black volcanic beaches depending on what side of the island you are on. One side of the island has black beaches while the other has white beaches.

5. Located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, it is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population. The country is a Commonwealth realm, with the British monarch (currently queen Elizabeth II) as head of state. It is the newest sovereign state in the Americas, having gained independence from the UK in 1983.

6. Brimstone Hill Fortress was named so because of the strong smell of sulphur emanating from underwater vents nearby. The French had not considered it possible to transport cannon up the steep and thickly wooded sides of Brimstone Hill. The construction of the fort then carried on intermittently for just over 100 years.

7. Mount Liamuiga is a 1,156 m stratovolcano which forms the western part of the island of Saint Kitts. The peak is the highest point on the island of Saint Kitts, in the federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and in the entire British Leeward Islands, as well as one of the tallest peaks in the eastern Caribbean archipelago. The last verified eruptions from the volcano were about 1,800 years ago, while reports of possible eruptions in 1692 and 1843 are considered uncertain.

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