A popular Caribbean tourist destination, St. Kitts and Nevis lies in the northern part of the Leeward Island chain. Nevis is the smaller and less developed of the two islands.
Geography: Volcanic in origin, with forested, mountainous interiors. Nevis has hot and cold springs.
Climate: Tropical, tempered by trade winds. Little seasonal variation in temperature. Moderate rainfall.
People and Society: The majority of the population are descended from former African slaves. There are small numbers of Europeans, and South Asians, and a community of Lebanese. Levels of emigration are high, and overseas remittances are an important source of national income. The government has pledged to retrain sugar workers. Native professionals and civil servants have largely replaced the former expatriate elite. The secessionist movement on Nevis remains an issue.
The Economy: Successful tourist industry is vulnerable to downturns in US market. Financial services. Once-key sugar industry closed down in 2005.
Insight: Nevis has been renowned as a spa since the 18th century, and is known as the “Queen of the Caribbean”
Official Name: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis
Date of Formation: 1983
Total Area: 101 sq. miles (261 sq. km)
Density: 332 people per sq. mile
Languages: English*, English Creole
Religions: Anglican 33%, Methodist 29%, other 22%, Moravian 9%, Roman Catholic 7%
Ethnic Mix: Black 95%, Mixed race 3%, White 1%, other and Amerindian 1%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: East Caribbean $ = 100 cents