ST. KITTS AND NEVIS





Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis

CAPITAL : Basseterre

FLAG : Two thin diagonal yellow bands flanking a wide black diagonal band separate a green triangle at the hoist from a red triangle at the fly. On the black band are two white five-pointed stars.

ANTHEM : National Anthem, beginning "O land of beauty."

MONETARY UNIT : The East Caribbean dollar ( EC $) of 100 cents is the national currency. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25 cents and 1 East Caribbean dollar, and notes of 5, 10, 20, and 100 East Caribbean dollars. EC $1 = US $0.37037 (or US $1 = EC $2.70) as of January 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The imperial system is used.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1st Monday in May; Bank Holiday, 1st Monday in August; Independence Day, 19 September; Prince of Wales's Birthday, 14 November; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December; Carnival, 30 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday and Whitmonday.

TIME : 8 AM = noon GMT.


CLIMATE

Temperatures range from 26° C (79° F ) to 32° C (89° F ) all year long. Northeast tradewinds are constant. Rain usually falls between May and November, averaging 109 cm (43 in) a year. High humidity characterizes the summer months.

FLORA AND FAUNA

The upper slopes of Mt. Nevis are well wooded; coconut palms, poincianas, and palmettos are profuse. Lemon trees, bougainvillea, hibiscus, and tamarind are common on both islands. There are some black-faced vervet monkeys on Monkey Hill in St. Kitts.

ETHNIC GROUPS

About 96% of the population are of black African descent. Only about 5% of the population are mulatto, 3% Indo-Pakistani, and 1.5% European.

LANGUAGES

English, sprinkled with local expressions, is the universal language.

RELIGIONS

Christianity is the dominant religion. The Anglican Church, the largest church on the island, claims more than a third of all adherents. Other principal Christian groups are the Church of God, Methodists, Moravians, Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Roman Catholics. There are a small number of Rastafarians and a small Baha'i community. Religious freedom is guaranteed by the constitution.

ARMED FORCES

St. Kitts and Nevis participates in the Eastern Caribbean Regional Security System created jointly with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1985.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

St. Kitts and Nevis became a member of the UN on 23 September 1983 and belongs to ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO and WTrO.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Pasture areas are small, covering some 2.7% of the islands. Pangola and Bermuda grasses provide the bulk of the fodder. Estimates of livestock in 2001 were sheep, 14,000; goats, 14,400; cattle, 4,300 head; and pigs, 4,000.

FISHING

Fishing is a traditional occupation that has not expanded to any great extent; the catch in 2000 was 257 tons (down from 620 tons in 1990). Some exports (primarily lobsters) are made to the Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico; fisheries exports totaled US $245,000 in 2000.

FORESTRY

Both islands have small stands of virgin tropical forest, with palms, poincianas, and palmettos. About 11% of the land area consists of forests. Imports of forest products nearly reached US $1.8 million in 2000.

MINING

The mining sector played a minor role in St. Kitts and Nevis. Raking of salt, the country's fourth-leading industry, was done from time to time. Local quarrying of some materials was used to supplement the construction industry. In 2000, output for sand and gravel was 214,700 tons, up from 50,389 in 1996; crushed stone output was 121,226 tons.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

St. Kitts and Nevis is dependent on outside resources both for industrial technology and for advanced scientific and technical education. The government is currently developing post-secondary education; a technical school was in operation in 1987.

INSURANCE

International, regional, and local insurance companies or agents offer life and property insurance. There are five insurance companies in St. Kitts and Nevis, including Barbados Mutual Life and Assurance Society, British American Insurance, Colonial Life Insurance (Trinidad), St. Kitts and Nevis Insurance, and National Caribbean Insurance.

TAXATION

There is no personal income tax for residents of St. Kitts and Nevis. Corporations are taxed at the rate of 38% of income, but the Fiscal Incentives Act offers generous development and tax concessions. Profit remittances are taxed at a 10% rate; there is also a land tax and a house tax. There is a capital gains tax of 20%.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

St. Kitts and Nevis is bound by the common external tariff of CARICOM and requires an import license for certain durable and nondurable products. CARICOM members have reduced rates to a maximum of 20%.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

There is a public library in Charlestown. The Old Court House in Basseterre houses a museum, and there is a museum of Lord Nelson memorabilia on Nevis.

FAMOUS KITTSIANS AND NEVISIANS

Sir Thomas Warner (d.1649) established the first colony on each island. US statesman Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804) was born in Charlestown.

DEPENDENCIES

St. Kitts and Nevis has no territories or colonies.

Read about the Culture of St. Kitts and Nevis.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cox, Edward L. Free Coloreds in the Slave Societies of St. Kitts and Grenada, 1763–1833. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.

Hamshere, Cyril. The British in the Caribbean. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972.

Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.

Lowenthal, David. West Indian Societies. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.

Merrill, Gordon Clark. The Historical Geography of St. Kitts and Nevis, the West Indies. Mexico: Editorial Fournier, 1958.

Moll, V.P. St. Kitts-Nevis . Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio, 1995.

Olwig, Karen Fog. Global Culture, Island Identity: Continuity and Change in the Afro-Caribbean Community of Nevis. Philadelphia: Harwood, 1993.

Richardson, Bonham C. Caribbean Migrants: Environment and Human Survival on St. Kitts and Nevis. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1983.

Sherlock, Sir Philip M. West Indian Nations: A New History. New York: St. Martin's, 1973.

Williams, Eric Eustace. From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492–1969. London: Deutsch, 1970.

User Contributions:

Alexander Winter
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 10, 2007 @ 1:13 pm
I think St. Kitts needs to get better when it comes to farming and the Beaches close to the garbage dump need to be protected it is a disaster for the nature and hopefully none of the tourists discovers those places.

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