Photo Credit: Phil Noble - WPA Pool
St. Kitts and Nevis: 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know
St. Kitts and Nevis might not be top of mind when you think of the Caribbean, but the dual-island nation is an unspoiled, natural jewel tucked between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
Like many islands in the Lesser Antilles, it is blessed with pristine beaches and verdant forests. It’s also the birthplace of singer and songwriter Joan Armatrading. But there is so much more to discover about this former epicenter of sugar cane production.
Read on for 10 things you probably didn’t know about St. Kitts and Nevis.
1. Smallest Caribbean Country
In terms of both area (104 square miles) and population (52,834), St. Kitts and Nevis is the smallest country in the Caribbean.
Approximately a quarter of them live in the capital city, Basseterre.
2. The Narrows
The islands are separated by a strait known as The Narrows, which is true to its name at its narrowest measures 3 kilometers wide.
An annual tradition sees participants from across the globe compete in a race between the islands.
3. The National Flower Is The Royal Poinciana
Between the months of May and August, the islands are swathed in a scarlet sheet thanks to the abundance of Royal Poincianas or flamboyants as they are more colloquially known.
The flower is named after the first French governor, Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy.
4. First English Colony in the Caribbean
Christopher Columbus is believed to have first arrived in St. Kitts in 1493 and the island settled by the Europeans in 1623.
Nevis was colonized in 1628.
5. Scenic Railway
The Scenic Railway and Train was used for sugar cane transportation from plantations to the factory in Basseterre. It was built between 1912 and 1926 and is now used to take visitors on three-hour tours around the island.
It is believed to be the last railway in the West Indies.
7. The Monkeys
The island’s iconic green vervet monkeys are believed to now outnumber the residents, with over 60,000 strong.
They are not native to St. Kitts and Nevis, but were likely brought over as pets of 17th-century French settlers.
8. A Volcanic Island
Like most Caribbean islands, St. Kitts and Nevis were formed from now dormant volcanoes. The tallest is Mount Liamuiga which stands at 3,792ft.
It was formerly known as Mount Misery before a name change on Independence Day in 1983.
9. Carnival and Christmas Collide
The St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival aka Sugar Mas is scheduled at the same time as Christmas and the New Year. It’s pretty much #TeamNoSleep at the end of the year.
10. Citizenship by Investment
The Citizenship by Investment Program, which allows becoming naturalized in another country through investing, was founded in St Kitts and Nevis in 1984.
The concept has since been adopted both regionally and internationally.