Saint Kitts and Nevi's first inhabitants
belonged to the indigenous people of the Caribbean
(formerly called Caribbean Indians). European explorer
Christofer Columbus reached the islands in 1493. There
are divided opinions whether he named the main island
after himself or his patron saint Saint Kristoffer.
The islands were not colonized until a small group of
Englishmen arrived in the main island in 1623 and there
established the first English colony in the Caribbean.
Already the following year, the French established a
community on the island. The indigenous population was
wiped out by a massacre in 1626.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of St. Kitts and Nevis, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In 1628, the smaller island of Nevis was occupied by
the English. Cotton and sugar plantations were built on
the islands. The labor force was sourced from Africa.
Nevi's sugar production flourished and produced big
During the remainder of the 17th century, France,
Spain and England fought for control of Saint Kitts and
Nevis. Despite officially becoming a British colony in
1713, the struggle for power over the territory
continued until the end of the 18th century. A treaty
was established in 1783 by the British, and in 1816 the
island of Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands joined
the colony. From 1871 Saint Kitts and Nevis were
members of the Leewards Islands Federation.
Workers on the plantations lived in difficult
conditions and poverty was widespread, paving the way
for a radical political movement. In 1935, dissatisfied
sugar plantation workers staged a strike that ended in
confrontation with the police and the deaths of several
A few years earlier, the colony had received its
first political party, the Labor Party,
which among other things drove the demand for
independence. The Labor Party and its leader Robert
Bradshaw came to dominate Saint Kitts and Nevis politics
for nearly 50 years. Bradshaw built his political base
among the plantation workers on the main island of Saint
Kitts. He succeeded in improving the conditions of the
sugar workers in the form of higher wages, education and
social benefits. In the cities and the smaller islands,
Bradshaw did not enjoy the same support.