This port has a Natural Harbor
Fertile Soil (Sugar)
History[edit | edit source]
Charlestown is the largest town on St. Nevis island. Saint Kitts and Nevis has one of the longest written histories in the Caribbean, both islands being amongst Europe's first colonies in the Lesser Antilles archipelago. Despite being only 2 miles apart and quite diminutive in size, Saint Kitts and Nevis were widely recognized as being separate entities with separate identities, until they were forcefully unified in the late 19th century
Pre-Columbian[edit | edit source]
The first settlers to arrive to the islands were a pre-agricultural, pre-ceramic people, who migrated down the archipelago from Florida. These hunter-gatherers for years were mistakenly thought to be the Ciboney, an Amerindian race from Cuba. However, archaeological evidence has proven that they were in actuality a group labelled "Archaic people". In a few hundred years, the Archaic people disappeared.
Around 100 B.C., the ceramic-using and agriculturalist Saladoid people came to the islands, migrating up the archipelago from the banks of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. These people were then replaced in 800 A.D. by the Igneri people, members of the Arawak tribe. They were a peace-loving pro-religious people who migrated up the same path from the Orinoco. They heavily settled it, climaxing to an estimated population of 5,000.
Around 1300 A.D., the Kalinago, or Carib people arrived on the islands. The war-like Kalinago people quickly dispersed the Igneri, and forced them northwards to the Greater Antilles. They named Saint Kitts Liamuiga meaning "fertile island", and Nevis Oualie meaning "land of beautiful waters". The islands of Liamuiga and Oualie marked the furthest the Kalinago ever reached northwards, in terms of permanent residence, and probably would have succeeded in occupying the entire archipelago had the Europeans not came. Both islands, were major bases used by the Kalinago from the South to raid the Eastern Taino peoples of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and were critically important for the Kalinago trade routes to the North.
Colonization[edit | edit source]
The first Europeans to arrive at the islands were the Spanish under Christopher Columbus. He named St. Nevis was named Nuestra Señora de las Nieves or "Our Lady of the Snows", because of its large volcanic peak, which due to heavy cloud covering at its top made Columbus mistakenly believe that it was capped with snow. The next European encounter occurred in 1607 when Captain John Smith stopped at St. Nevis for five days before founding the colony of Virginia. Captain Smith documented the many hot springs in St. Nevis, whose waters had remarkable curative abilities against skin ailments and bad health.
The history of St. Nevis is less tumultuous than neighboring St. Kitt. The island was colonised by Anthony Hilton and 80 settlers from Saint Kitts in 1628. The island quickly grew very profitable from tobacco trading, and was able to secure prime investment from Britain. It was able to evade much of the conflict and devastation that nearby Saint Kitts suffered, and its riches were so great it was nicknamed "Queen of the Caribees." in 1640, like St. Kitts, it switched over to sugar cane production and its wealth continued to grow. By 1660, it was officially the most profitable colony in the British crown per capita. Its gross profits were great as well, as they surpassed that of all 13 American colonies combined, up until the 19th century, despite being thousands of times smaller. St. Nevis' riches however, made it a target for pirates and other European nations.
In 1690, a massive earthquake and tsunami destroyed the city of Jamestown, then the capital of St. Nevis. So much damage was done to it that the city was completely abandoned. It is reputed that the whole city sank into the sea, but since then, the land has moved over at least 100 yards to the west. That means that anything left of Jamestown would now be underground. The capital was moved south to the town of Charlestown, and the island's successful sugar trade quickly bounced back.
Whilst St. Kitts improved with peace following the British takeover in 1713, St. Nevis was seeing a decline. The years of monocrop cultivation, as well as heavy amounts of soil erosion due to the high slope grade on the island, caused its sugar production to continuously decrease. A heavy French raid in 1706 further complicated the situation, and damaged the island's agriculture extensively. It proved to never fully recover.
To make up for sugar losses in St. Nevis, the island opened its first hotel in 1778. The first such establishment in the Western Hemisphere, the Bath Hotel was constructed over the site of one of the island's famous hot springs. The island thus became the first place in the Americas to officially practice tourism. St. Nevis's popularity as a destination grew, and it continued to be in the favour of the British elite.