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Quick Facts
CapitalBasseterre
Governmentconstitutional monarchy with Westminster-style parliament
CurrencyEast Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Areatotal: 261 sq km (Saint Kitts 168 sq km; Nevis 93 sq km)
water: 0 sq km
land: 261 sq km
Population38,736 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageEnglish
ReligionAnglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic

Saint Kitts and Nevis are a pair of tropical islands in the Caribbean, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago.

Understand

As if it were the custom in the Caribbean, St-Kitts and Nevis changed hands many times between English and French, which has left it a heritage of cities with names from both countries. Contrariwise, the architecture there is very Anglo-Saxon (Style Victorian) with driving on left and especially in downtown Basseterre: Circus Place the reproduction of the 'Berkeley Memorial Clock'.

There are also several ancient British fortifications which have been restored with minutiae and reproducing the tiniest details of original construction. St-Kitts and Nevis will be called to be developed in the near future, in fact many projects are in progress or completion, notably vast dockings to accommodate the largest liners and cruisers with terminals, loading docks, etc.

What is really remarkable on St-Kitts and Nevis is the natural aspect. Many tropical birds which one rarely finds elsewhere are present in great concentration in the nature and there are also the famous monkeys which, it is said, were introduced by the pirates. An all-new road permits going to the southeast end of St-kitts (Turtle Beach) where one feels that a certain febrility in the air will make of this part of the island an appreciated place. Indeed, one has only to take a little adventure in the underwoods with some fruit in hand to see onself quite soon surrounded by monkeys coming gently to meet one to get fed. For the inhabitants of the islands, on the other hand, the monkeys are not percieved as as big a joy, for these pretty little hairy beings plunder the harvest and nose around everywhere they can go.

First settled by the British in 1623, the islands became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. In 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.


Geography


Climate 
tropical tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
Terrain 
volcanic with mountainous interiors
Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m
Natural resources 
arable land
Land use 
arable land: 16.67%
permanent crops: 2.78%
other: 80.55% (1998 est.)
Natural hazards 
hurricanes (July to October)
Environment - current issues 
NA
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note 
with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a three-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island

People

Ethnic groups 
predominantly black some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese
Religions 
Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
Languages 
English


Government

Country name 
conventional long form: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
conventional short form: Saint Kitts and Nevis
former: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis
Government type 
constitutional monarchy with Westminster-style parliament
Capital 
Basseterre
Administrative divisions 
14 parishes; Christ Church Nichola Town, Saint Anne Sandy Point, Saint George Basseterre, Saint George Gingerland, Saint James Windward, Saint John Capesterre, Saint John Figtree, Saint Mary Cayon, Saint Paul Capesterre, Saint Paul Charlestown, Saint Peter Basseterre, Saint Thomas Lowland, Saint Thomas Middle Island, Trinity Palmetto Point
Independence 
19 September 1983 (from UK)
National holiday 
Independence Day, 19 September (1983)

Economy

Economy - overview 
Sugar was the traditional mainstay of the St. Kitts economy until the 1970s. Although the crop still dominates the agricultural sector, activities such as tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore banking have assumed larger roles in the economy. As tourism revenues are now the chief source of the islands' foreign exchange, a decline in stopover tourist arrivals following the September 11 terrorist attacks has eroded government finances. The government revised estimates of 2001 growth down to 1% and faces dim recovery prospects in 2002, given the depressed state of the tourism industry, low sugar prices, and a growing budget deficit.

Contact

Telephone system 
general assessment: good interisland and international connections
domestic: interisland links to Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Martin (Guadeloupe and Netherlands Antilles) are handled by VHF/UHF/SHF radiotelephone
international: international calls are carried by radiotelephone to Antigua and Barbuda and switched there to submarine cable or to Intelsat; or carried to Saint Martin (Guadeloupe and Netherlands Antilles) by radiotelephone and switched to Intelsat

Transportation

Railways 
total: 58 km
narrow gauge: 58 km 0.762-m gauge on Saint Kitts to serve sugarcane plantations (2002)
Highways 
total: 320 km
paved: 136 km
unpaved: 184 km (2000)
Waterways 
none
Ports and harbors 
Basseterre, Charlestown
Merchant marine 
none (2002 est.)
Airports 
2 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
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