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Nevis is a small island in the
Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an Americas, American Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean ...
that forms part of the inner arc of the
Leeward Islands french: Îles-Sous-le-Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Leeward Islands. Clockwise: Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda (; ) is a sovereign state, sovereign island country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying ...

Leeward Islands
chain of the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, in ...
. Nevis and the neighbouring island of
Saint Kitts Saint Kitts, officially the Saint Christopher Island, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land ...
constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Nevis is located near the northern end of the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, ...
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
, about east-southeast of
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
and west of
Antigua Antigua ( ), also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antillas; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen ...

Antigua
. Its area is and the capital is
CharlestownCharlestown or Charles Town may refer to: Places Australia *Charlestown, New South Wales ** Electoral district of Charlestown, an electoral district in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly including the area * Charlestown, Queensland Ireland ...
. Saint Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow channel known as "
The Narrows __NOTOC__ The Narrows is the tidal strait separating the borough (New York City), boroughs of Staten Island, New York, Staten Island and Brooklyn, New York, Brooklyn in New York City, United States. It connects the Upper New York Bay and Lower ...
". Nevis is roughly conical in shape, with a volcano known as Nevis Peak at its centre. The island is fringed on its western and northern coastlines by sandy beaches composed of a mixture of white coral sand with brown and black sand eroded and washed down from the volcanic rocks that make up the island. The gently-sloping coastal plain ( wide) has natural freshwater springs as well as non-potable volcanic
hot spring A hot spring, hydrothermal spring, or geothermal spring is a spring Spring(s) may refer to: Common uses * Spring (season), a season of the year * Spring (device), a mechanical device that stores energy * Spring (hydrology), a natural source of w ...

hot spring
s, especially along the western coast. The island was named ''Oualie'' ("Land of Beautiful Waters") by the Kalinago and ''Dulcina'' ("Sweet Island") by the early British settlers. The name ''Nevis'' is derived from the Spanish ''Nuestra Señora de las Nieves'' (which means Our Lady of the Snows); the name first appeared on maps in the 16th century.Hubbard, Vincent K. (2002). ''Swords, Ships & Sugar: History of Nevis''. Corvallis, Oregon: Premiere, , pp. 20–23 (Captain Gilbert, Captain Smith), 25 (pearl diving), 41–44 (name Dulcina, treaty with Spain, first settlement), 69–70 (privateers, Captain Francis), 79–85 (slave trade, Royal African Company, Queen of the Caribees), 86–102 (Caribs), 113–120 (d'Iberville, buccaneers), 138–139 (Great Britain's wealth derived from West Indian sugar and slave trade, 1776 starvation), 194–195 (Alexandra Hospital), 211–223 (electricity, Anguilla in 1967, OECD blacklist). Nevis is also known by the
sobriquet A sobriquet ( ), or soubriquet, is a nickname A nickname (also moniker) is a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place or thing. Commonly used to express affection, a form of endearment, and sometimes amusement, it can also be u ...
"Queen of the Caribees", which it earned in the 18th century when its sugar plantations created much wealth for the British. Nevis is of particular historical significance to Americans because it was the birthplace and early childhood home of
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
. For the British, Nevis is the place where
Horatio Nelson Vice-admiral (Royal Navy), Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805), also known simply as Admiral Nelson, was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. His inspirational ...

Horatio Nelson
was stationed as a young sea captain, and is where he met and married a Nevisian, Frances Nisbet, the young widow of a plantation-owner. The majority of the approximately 12,000 Nevisians are of primarily African descent, with notable British, Portuguese and Lebanese minority communities. English is the official language, and the literacy rate, 98 percent, is one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.


Etymology

In 1498,
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian ...

Christopher Columbus
gave the island the name ''San Martín'' (Saint Martin). However, the confusion of numerous poorly-charted small islands in the Leeward Island chain meant that this name ended up being accidentally transferred to another island, which is still known as Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten. The current name ''Nevis'' was derived from a Spanish name ''Nuestra Señora de las Nieves'' by process of abbreviation and
anglicisation Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, pronounce, or understand in English English usually ...
. The Spanish name means Our Lady of the Snows. It is not known who chose this name for the island, but it is a reference to the story of a 4th-century Catholic miracle: a snowfall on the
Esquiline Hill The Esquiline Hill (; la, Collis Esquilinus; it, Esquilino ) is one of the seven hills of Rome, Seven Hills of Rome. Its southernmost cusp is the ''Oppius'' (Oppian Hill). Etymology The origin of the name ''Esquiline'' is still under much d ...
in Rome. Presumably the white clouds that usually cover the top of Nevis Peak reminded someone of this story of a miraculous snowfall in a hot climate. Nevis was part of the Spanish claim to the Caribbean islands; a claim pursued until the
Treaty of Madrid (1670)The Treaty of Madrid, also known as the Godolphin Treaty, was a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, b ...
, even though there were no Spanish settlements on the island. According to Vincent Hubbard, author of ''Swords, Ships & Sugar: History of Nevis'', the Spanish ruling caused many of the Arawak groups who were not ethnically Caribs to "be redefined as Kalinago overnight". Records indicate that the Spanish enslaved large numbers of the native inhabitants on the more accessible of the Leeward Islands and sent them to
Cubagua Cubagua or Isla de Cubagua () is the smallest and least populated of the three islands constituting the Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a coun ...
,
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continent A continent is any of several large l ...

Venezuela
to dive for pearls. Hubbard suggests that the reason the first European settlers found so few "Kalinago" on Nevis is that they had already been rounded up by the Spanish and shipped off to be used as slaves.


History


Amerindians

Nevis had been settled for more than two thousand years by Amerindian people prior to having been sighted by Columbus in 1493. The indigenous people of Nevis during these periods belonged to the Leeward Island Amerindian groups popularly referred to as
Arawaks The Arawak are a group of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), o ...
and Kalinago, a complex mosaic of ethnic groups with similar culture and language.Wilson, Samuel (1990). "The Prehistoric Settlement Pattern of Nevis, West Indies". ''Journal of Field Archaeology'', Vol. 16, No. 4 (Winter 1989), p. 427-450. Dominican anthropologist Lennox Honychurch traces the European use of the term "Carib" to refer to the Leeward Island aborigines to Columbus, who picked it up from the on
Hispaniola Hispaniola (, also ; es, La Española; Latin and french: Hispaniola; ht, Ispayola; tnq, Ayiti) is an island in the Caribbean that is part of the Greater Antilles. Hispaniola is the most populous island in the West Indies, and the region's se ...
. It was not a name the Kalinago called themselves.Honychurch, Lennox (1997). "Crossroads in the Caribbean: A Site of Encounter and Exchange on Dominica". ''World Archaeology'' Vol. 28(3): 291–304. "Carib Indians" was the generic name used for all groups believed involved in cannibalistic war rituals, more particularly, the consumption of parts of a killed enemy's body. The Amerindian name for Nevis was ''Oualie'', land of beautiful waters. The structure of the Kalinago language has been linguistically identified as
Arawakan Arawakan (''Arahuacan, Maipuran Arawakan, "mainstream" Arawakan, Arawakan proper''), also known as Maipurean (also ''Maipuran, Maipureano, Maipúre''), is a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a struct ...
.


Colonial era

Despite the Spanish claim, Nevis continued to be a popular stop-over point for English and Dutch ships on their way to the
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
n
continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

continent
. Captain Bartholomew Gilbert of Plymouth visited the island in 1603, spending two weeks to cut twenty tons of
lignum vitae Lignum vitae is a wood, also called guayacan or guaiacum, and in parts of Europe known as Pockholz or pokhout, from trees of the genus ''Guaiacum''. The trees are indigenous to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America (e.g: Venezue ...
wood. Gilbert sailed on to
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
to seek out survivors of the Roanoke settlement in what is now
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
.
Captain John Smith John Smith (baptized 6 January 1580 – 21 June 1631) was an English soldier, explorer, colonial governor, Admiral of New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United ...

Captain John Smith
visited Nevis on his way to Virginia in 1607. This was the voyage that founded Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World. On 30 August 1620
James VI and I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of gover ...

James VI and I
of Scotland and England asserted sovereignty over Nevis by giving a Royal Patent for colonisation to the
Earl of Carlisle Earl of Carlisle is a title that has been created three times in the Peerage of England. History The first creation came in 1322, when the soldier Andrew Harclay, 1st Earl of Carlisle, Andrew Harclay, 1st Baron Harclay, was made Earl of Car ...
. However, actual European settlement did not happen until 1628, when Anthony Hilton moved from nearby Saint Kitts following a murder plot against him. 80 other settlers accompanied him, soon boosted by a further 100 settlers from London who had initially hoped to settle
Barbuda Barbuda () is a small island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in_Lower_Saranac_Lake.jpg.html" ...

Barbuda
. Hilton became the first Governor of Nevis. After the
Treaty of Madrid (1670)The Treaty of Madrid, also known as the Godolphin Treaty, was a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, b ...
between Spain and England, Nevis became the seat of the British colony and the
Admiralty Court Admiralty courts, also known as maritime courts, are courts exercising jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ''Wikt:dictio, dictio'' 'declaration') is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer ...
also sat in Nevis. Between 1675 and 1730, the island was the headquarters for the slave trade for the Leeward Islands, with approximately 6,000–7,000 enslaved West Africans passing through en route to other islands each year. The
Royal African Company The Royal African Company (RAC) was an English mercantile ( trading) company set up in 1660 by the royal Stuart family and City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, cerem ...
brought all its ships through Nevis. A 1678 census shows a community of
Irish people The Irish ( ga, Muintir na hÉireann or ''Na hÉireannaigh'') are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has ...
– 22% of the population – existing as either
indentured servants Indentured servitude is a form of forced labor in which a person (an indenture) is forced to work without salary for a specific number of years for eventual compensation or debt repayment. Historically, it has been used to punish and relocate cap ...
or freemen. Due to the profitable
Slave Trade Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...

Slave Trade
and the high quality of Nevisian
sugar cane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, Perennial plant, perennial grass (in the genus ''Saccharum'', tribe Andropogoneae) that is used for sugar Sugar industry, production. The plants are 2–6 m (6–20 ft) tall w ...

sugar cane
, Nevis soon became a dominant source of wealth for Great Britain and the slave-owning British plantocracy. When the
Leeward Islands french: Îles-Sous-le-Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Leeward Islands. Clockwise: Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda (; ) is a sovereign state, sovereign island country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying ...

Leeward Islands
were separated from
Barbados Barbados is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

Barbados
in 1671, Nevis became the seat of the Leeward Islands colony and was given the nickname "Queen of the Caribees". It remained the colonial capital for the Leeward Islands until the seat was transferred to
Antigua Antigua ( ), also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antillas; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen ...

Antigua
for military reasons in 1698. During this period, Nevis was the richest of the British Leeward Islands. Nevis outranked larger islands like
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

Jamaica
in sugar production in the late 17th century. The planters' wealth on the island is evident in the tax records preserved at the Calendar State Papers in the British
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level Executive (government), executive bodies in the Machinery of governmen ...
Public Records, where the amount of tax collected on the Leeward Islands was recorded. The sums recorded for 1676 as "head tax on slaves", a tax payable in sugar, amounted to 384,600 pounds in Nevis, as opposed to 67,000 each in Antigua and Saint Kitts, 62,500 in
Montserrat Montserrat ( ) is a British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all with a constitutional and historical lin ...

Montserrat
, and 5,500 total in the other five islands. The profits on sugar cultivation in Nevis was enhanced by the fact that the from Nevis yielded an unusually high amount of sugar. A gallon (3.79 litres) of cane juice from Nevis yielded 24 ounces (0.71 litres) of sugar, whereas a gallon from Saint Kitts yielded 16 ounces (0.47 litres). Twenty percent of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
's total sugar production in 1700 was derived from Nevisian plantations. Exports from West Indian colonies like Nevis were worth more than all the exports from all the mainland
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
of North America combined at the time of the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
. The enslaved families formed the large labour force required to work the sugar plantations. After the 1650s, the supply of white indentured servants began to dry up due to increased wages in England and less incentive to migrate to the colonies. By the end of the 17th century, the population of Nevis consisted of a small, wealthy planter elite in control, a marginal population of poor Whites, a great majority of African-descended slaves, and an unknown number of
Maroons Maroons are descendants of Africans in the Americas who formed settlements away from slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, ...
, escaped slaves living in the mountains. In 1780, 90 percent of the 10 000 people living on Nevis were Black. Some of the maroons joined with the few remaining Kalinago in Nevis to form a resistance force. Memories of the Nevisian maroons' struggle under the plantation system are preserved in place names such as Maroon Hill, an early centre of resistance. The great wealth generated by the colonies of the West Indies led to wars among Spain, Britain, and France. The formation of the United States can be said to be a partial by-product of these wars, and the strategic trade aims that often ignored North America. Three
privateers A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. Since robbery under arms was a common aspect of seaborne trade, until the early 19th century all merchant ships carried arms. A sovereign or delega ...
(
William Kidd William Kidd, also known as Captain William Kidd or simply Captain Kidd ( – 23 May 1701), was a Scottish sea captain who was commissioned as a privateer A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commi ...

William Kidd
being one of them) were employed by the British Crown to help protect ships in Nevis' waters. During the 17th century, the French, based on Saint Kitts, launched many attacks on Nevis, sometimes assisted by the Kalinago, who in 1667 sent a large fleet of canoes along in support. In the same year, a Franco– Dutch invasion fleet was repelled off Nevis by an English fleet. Letters and other records from the era indicate that the English on Nevis hated and feared the Amerindians. In 1674 and 1683, they participated in attacks on Kalinago villages in
Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago : ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is the generally spoken language in Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language: ; french: Dominique; Do ...

Dominica
and , despite a lack of official approval from
the Crown The Crown is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

the Crown
for the attack. On Nevis, the English built Fort Charles and a series of smaller fortifications to aid in defending the island. This included Saddle Hill Battery, built in 1740 to replace a deodand on Mount Nevis.


Emancipation

In 1706,
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville (16 July 1661 – 9 July 1706) was a soldier, ship captain, explorer, colonial administrator, knight of the order of Saint-Louis, adventurer, privateer, trader, member of Compagnies Franches de la Marine and founder o ...
, the French Canadian founder of
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
in North America, decided to drive the English out of Nevis and thus also stop pirate attacks on French ships; he considered Nevis the region's headquarters for
piracy Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publi ...
against French trade. During d'Iberville's invasion of Nevis, French
buccaneer up"Buccaneer of the Caribbean" from Howard Pyle's ''Book of Pirates''. Buccaneers were a kind of privateer A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. Since robbery under arms was a co ...

buccaneer
s were used in the front line, infamous for being ruthless killers after the pillaging during the wars with Spain where they gained a reputation for torturing and murdering non-combatants. In the face of the invading force, the English militiamen of Nevis fled. Some planters burned the plantations, rather than letting the French have them, and hid in the mountains. It was the enslaved Africans who held the French at bay by taking up arms to defend their families and the island. The slave quarters had been looted and burned as well, as the main reward promised the men fighting on the French side in the attack was the right to capture as many slaves as possible and resell them in
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and ...

Martinique
. During the fighting, 3,400 enslaved Nevisians were captured and sent off to Martinique, but about 1,000 more, poorly armed and militarily untrained, held the French troops at bay, by "murderous fire" according to an eyewitness account by an English militiaman. He wrote that "the slaves' brave behaviour and defence there shamed what some of their masters did, and they do not shrink to tell us so." After 18 days of fighting, the French were driven off the island. Among the Nevisian men, women and children carried away on d'Iberville's ships, six ended up in Louisiana, the first persons of African descent to arrive there. One consequence of the French attack was a collapsed sugar industry and during the ensuing hardship on Nevis, small plots of land on the plantations were made available to the enslaved families in order to control the loss of life due to starvation. With less profitability for the absentee plantation owners, the import of food supplies for the plantation workers dwindled. Between 1776 and 1783, when the food supplies failed to arrive altogether due to the rebellion in North America, 300–400 enslaved Nevisians starved to death. On 1 August 1834, slavery was abolished in the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. In Nevis, 8,815 slaves were freed. The first Monday in August is celebrated as
Emancipation Day Emancipation Day is observed in many former European colonies in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label= Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Ame ...
and is part of the annual Nevis Culturama festival. A four-year apprenticeship programme followed the abolishment of slavery on the plantations. In spite of the continued use of the labour force, the Nevisian slave owners were paid over £150,000 in compensation from the British Government for the loss of property, whereas the enslaved families received nothing for 200 years of labour. One of the wealthiest planter families in Nevis, the Pinneys of Mountravers Plantation, claimed £36,396 (worth close to £1,800,000 today) in compensation for the slaves on the family-owned plantations around the Caribbean.Personal stories: Traders and Merchants – John Pinney
In ''Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery'', a project by City Museum and the University of the West of England's Faculty of Humanities. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
Because of the early distribution of plots and because many of the planters departed from the island when sugar cultivation became unprofitable, a relatively large percentage of Nevisians already owned or controlled land at emancipation.Baker Motley, Constance (1998). ''Equal Justice Under Law. An Autobiography.'' New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. . An excerpt from the autobiography, describing her search in Nevis church records for her family's history during the era of slavery, is available online a

Retrieved 8 August 2006.
Others settled on crown land. This early development of a society with a majority of small, landowning farmers and entrepreneurs created a stronger middle class in Nevis than in Saint Kitts, where the sugar industry continued until 2006. Even though the 15 families in the wealthy planter elite no longer control the arable land, Saint Kitts still has a large, landless working class population.


1800 to the present day

Nevis was united with Saint Kitts and
Anguilla Anguilla ( ) is a British Overseas Territories, British overseas territory in the Caribbean. It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north ...

Anguilla
in 1882, and they became an
associated state An associated state is the minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a (usually larger) nation, for which no other specific term, such as protectorate, is adopted. The details of suc ...
with full internal autonomy in 1967, though Anguilla seceded in 1971. Together, Saint Kitts and Nevis became independent on 19 September 1983. On 10 August 1998, a referendum on Nevis to separate from Saint Kitts had 2,427 votes in favour and 1,498 against, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed. Before 1967, the local government of Saint Kitts was also the government of Nevis and Anguilla. Nevis had two seats and Anguilla one seat in the government. The economic and infrastructural development of the two smaller islands was not a priority to the colonial federal government. When the hospital in Charlestown was destroyed in a hurricane in 1899, planting of trees in the squares of Saint Kitts and refurbishing of government buildings, also in Saint Kitts, took precedence over the rebuilding of the only hospital in Nevis. After five years without any proper medical facilities, the leaders in Nevis initiated a campaign, threatening to seek independence from Saint Kitts. The British Administrator in Saint Kitts, Charles Cox, was unmoved. He stated that Nevis did not need a hospital since there had been no significant rise in the number of deaths during the time Nevisians had been without a hospital. Therefore, no action was needed on behalf of the government, and besides, Cox continued, the Legislative Council regarded "Nevis and Anguilla as a drag on St. Kitts and would willingly see a separation". A letter of complaint to the metropolitan
British Foreign Office The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It was created on 2 September 2020 through the merger of the Foreign & Commonwealth Off ...
gave result and the federal government in Saint Kitts was ordered by their superiors in London to take speedy action. The Legislative Council took another five years to consider their options. The final decision by the federal government was to not rebuild the old hospital after all but to instead convert the old Government House in Nevis into a hospital, named Alexandra Hospital after Queen Alexandra, wife of King
Edward VII Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of Engla ...

Edward VII
. A majority of the funds assigned for the hospital could thus be spent on the construction of a new official residence in Nevis. After d'Iberville's invasion in 1704, records show Nevis' sugar industry in ruins and a decimated population begging the
English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of b ...
and relatives for loans and monetary assistance to stave off island-wide starvation. The sugar industry on the island never fully recovered and during the general depression that followed the loss of the West Indian sugar
monopoly A monopoly (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...

monopoly
, Nevis fell on hard times and the island became one of the poorest in the region. The island remained poorer than Saint Kitts until 1991, when the fiscal performance of Nevis edged ahead of the fiscal performance of Saint Kitts for the first time since the French invasion. Electricity was introduced in Nevis in 1954 when two generators were shipped in to provide electricity to the area around Charlestown. In this regard, Nevis fared better than Anguilla, where there were no paved roads, no electricity and no telephones until 1967. However, electricity did not become available island-wide on Nevis until 1971. An ambitious infrastructure development programme was introduced in the early 2000s which included a transformation of the Charlestown port, construction of a new deep-water harbour, resurfacing and widening the Island Main Road, a new airport terminal and control tower, and a major airport expansion, which required the relocation of an entire village in order to make room for the runway extension. Modernised classrooms and better-equipped schools, as well as improvements in the educational system, have contributed to a leap in academic performance on the island. The pass rate among the Nevisian students sitting for the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams, the Cambridge General Certificate of Education Examination (GCE) and the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examinations is now consistently among the highest in the English-speaking Caribbean.


Hurricanes

* September 1989: there was a considerable amount of damage from
Hurricane Hugo Hurricane Hugo was a powerful Cape Verde tropical cyclone that inflicted widespread damage across the northeastern Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label= Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Car ...
. * September 1998, there was a great deal of damage from
Hurricane Georges Hurricane Georges () was a powerful and long-lived Cape Verde , national_anthem = () , official_languages = Portuguese , national_languages = Cape Verdean Creole , capital = Praia , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , demonym ...

Hurricane Georges
. * November 1999: Nevis was hit by
Hurricane Lenny Hurricane Lenny was the fourth strongest November Atlantic hurricane An Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm is a tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressu ...

Hurricane Lenny
, which caused some heavy damage to the island's infrastructure on the western coast, because of the storm's unusual track from west to east. * October 2008: Nevis was brushed with the edge of Hurricane Omar. Among other establishments, The Four Seasons Resort Nevis was forced to close to undergo repairs. Hurricane Omar thus caused the loss of 600 jobs for over 2 years; the resort reopened on 15 December 2010. * August 2010: there was some damage on Nevis from Hurricane Earl. * September 2010, there was some damage from
Hurricane Igor Hurricane Igor was the most destructive tropical cyclone on record to strike the Canadian island of Newfoundland. It originated from a broad area of low pressure that moved off the western coast of Africa on September 6, 2010. Tracking slow ...
. * September 2017, there was damage from
Hurricane Irma Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful Cape Verde hurricane that caused widespread destruction across its path in September 2017. Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands french: Îles-Sous-le-Vent , im ...

Hurricane Irma
.


Geography

The formation of the island began in mid-Pliocene times, approximately 3.45 million years ago. Nine distinct eruptive centres from different geological ages, ranging from mid-Pliocene to
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
, have contributed to the formation. No single model of the island's geological evolution can, therefore, be ascertained. Nevis Peak ( is the dormant remnant of one of these ancient
stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical A cone is a three-dimensional space, three-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a flat base (frequently, though not necessarily, circular) to a point called the ...

stratovolcano
es. The last activity took place about 100,000 years ago, but active
fumaroles __NOTOC__ A fumarole (or ''fumerole'' – the word ultimately comes from the ''fumus'', "smoke") is an opening in a planet's which emits and es such as , , , and . The steam forms when superheated water boils as its pressure drops when it ...
and hot springs are still found on the island, the most recent formed in 1953. The composite cone of Nevis volcano has two overlapping summit craters that are partially filled by a lava dome, created in recent, pre-Columbian time. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows were deposited on the lower slopes of the cone simultaneously. Nevis Peak is located on the outer crater rim. Four other lava domes were constructed on the flanks of the volcano, one on the northeast flank (Madden's Mount), one on the eastern flank (Butlers Mountain), one on the northwest coast (Mount Lily) and one on the south coast (Saddle Hill, with a height of 375 metres). The southernmost point on the island is Dogwood Point which is also the southernmost point of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. During the last ice age, when the sea level was 60 m lower, the three islands of Saint Kitts, Nevis and
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (, ), also known locally as Statia (),Tuchman, Barbara W. ''The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution'' New York: Ballantine Books, 1988. is an island in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes ...

Sint Eustatius
(also known as Statia) were connected as one island.
Saba Saba (, ; , ) is a Caribbean island which is the smallest Caribbean Netherlands, special municipality (officially “Public body (Netherlands), public body”) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scene ...

Saba
, however, is separated from these three by a deeper channel. There are visible wave-breaking reefs along the northern and eastern shorelines. To the south and west, the reefs are located in deeper water and are suitable for scuba diving. The most developed beach on Nevis is the 6.5 km long Pinney's Beach, on the western or Caribbean coast. There are sheltered swimming beaches in Oualie Bay and Cades Bay. The eastern coast of the island faces into the Atlantic Ocean and can have strong surf in parts of the shore which are unprotected by fringing
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
s. The colour of the
sand Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock (geology), rock and mineral particles. Sand has various compositions but is defined by its grain size. Sand grains are smaller than gravel and coarser than silt. Sand can also refer ...

sand
on the beaches of Nevis is variable: on a lot of the bigger beaches the sand is a yellow-grey in colour, but some beaches on the southern coast have darker, reddish, or even black sand. Under a microscope it becomes clear that Nevis sand is a mixture of tiny fragments of coral, many
foraminifera Foraminifera (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
, and small crystals of the various mineral constituents of the
volcanic rock Volcanic rock (often shortened to volcanics in scientific contexts) is a rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by t ...

volcanic rock
of which the island is made.


Geology

Seven volcanic centers make up Nevis. These include Round Hill (3.43 ), Cades Bay (3.22 Ma), Hurricane Hill (2.7 Ma), Saddle Hill (1.8 Ma), Butlers Mountain (1.1 Ma), Red Cliff and Nevis Peak (0.98 Ma). These are mainly
andesite Andesite ( or ) is an extrusive volcanic rock of intermediate composition. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and rhyolite. It is fine-grained (aphanitic) to porphyritic in texture, and is composed predominantly of so ...

andesite
and
dacite Dacite () is a volcanic rock Volcanic rock (often shortened to volcanics in scientific contexts) is a formed from erupted from a . In other words, it differs from other by being of origin. Like all rock types, the concept of volcanic rock ...
lava dome In volcanology Volcanology (also spelled vulcanology) is the study of volcanoes, lava, magma and related geology, geological, geophysical and geochemistry, geochemical phenomena (volcanism). The term ''volcanology'' is derived from the La ...
s, with associated block and ash flows, plus
lahar A lahar (, from jv, ꦮ꧀ꦭꦲꦂ) is a violent type of mudflow A mudflow or mud flow is a form of mass wasting involving "very rapid to extremely rapid surging flow" of debris that has become partially or fully liquified by the addition ...
s. Nevis Peak has the highest elevation, at 984 m. Cades Bay and Farm Estate Soufriere are noted areas of
hydrothermal Hydrothermal circulation in its most general sense is the circulation of hot water (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC ...
activity. Water has been piped since 1911 from a
spring Spring(s) may refer to: Common uses * Spring (season), a season of the year * Spring (device), a mechanical device that stores energy * Spring (hydrology), a natural source of water * Spring (mathematics), a geometric surface in the shape of a heli ...
called the "Source", located 1800 feet up the mountain, to storage tanks at Rawlins Village, and since 1912, to Butler's Village. Additional drinking water comes from Nelson's Spring near Cotton Ground and Bath Spring.
Groundwater Groundwater is the water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known form ...

Groundwater
has been extracted since the 1990s, and mixed with the Source water.


Colonial deforestation

During the 17th and 18th centuries, massive
deforestation deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...

deforestation
was undertaken by the planters as the land was initially cleared for sugar cultivation. This intense land exploitation by the sugar and cotton industry lasted almost 300 years, and greatly changed the island's
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
. In some places along the windswept southeast or "Windward" coast of the island, the landscape is radically altered compared with how it used to be in pre-colonial times. Due to extreme land erosion, the topsoil was swept away, and in some places at the coast, sheer cliffs as high as have developed. Thick forest once covered the eastern coastal plain, where the Amerindians built their first settlements during the Aceramic period, complementing the ecosystem surrounding the
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
just offshore. It was the easy access to fresh water on the island and the rich food source represented by the ocean life sheltered by the reef that made it feasible for the Amerindians to settle this area around 600 BC. With the loss of the natural vegetation, the balance in runoff nutrients to the reef was disturbed, eventually causing as much as 80 percent of the large eastern fringing reef to become inactive. As the reef broke apart, it, in turn, provided less protection for the coastline. During times of maximum cultivation, sugar cane fields stretched from the coastline of Nevis up to an altitude at which the mountain slopes were too steep and rocky to farm. Nonetheless, once the sugar industry was finally abandoned, vegetation on the leeward side of the island regrew reasonably well, as scrub and secondary forest.


Water resources

Nevis has several natural freshwater springs (including Spring). The island also has numerous non-potable volcanic
hot spring A hot spring, hydrothermal spring, or geothermal spring is a spring Spring(s) may refer to: Common uses * Spring (season), a season of the year * Spring (device), a mechanical device that stores energy * Spring (hydrology), a natural source of w ...

hot spring
s, including most notably the Bath Spring near Bath village, just south of the capital Charlestown. After heavy rains, powerful rivers of rainwater pour down the numerous
ravine A ravine is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the scie ...

ravine
s (known as ghauts). When the water reaches the coastline, the corresponding coastal ponds, both freshwater and brackish, fill to capacity and beyond, spilling over into the sea. With modern development, the existing freshwater springs are no longer enough to supply water to the whole island. The water supply now comes mostly from Government wells. The major source of potable water for the island is groundwater, obtained from 14 active wells. Water is pumped from the wells, stored and allowed to flow by gravity to the various locations.The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
"Chapter 9: St. Kitts and Nevis"
. In Programme of Action for the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS POA). United Nations, 2003-09-29. Retrieved 28 August 2007.


Climate

The climate is tropical with little variation, tempered all year round (but particularly from December through February) by the steady north-easterly winds, called the
trade winds The trade winds or easterlies are the permanent east-to-west prevailing winds that flow in the Earth's equatorial region. The trade winds blow mainly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of E ...
. There is a slightly hotter and somewhat rainier season from May to November. Nevis lies within the track area of tropical storms and occasional hurricanes. These storms can develop between August and October. This time of year has the heaviest rainfalls.


Economy

The official currency is the
Eastern Caribbean dollar The Eastern Caribbean dollar (symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, p ...
(EC$), which is shared by eight other territories in the region. The in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean estimates the annual per capita
Gross Domestic Product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the ...
(GDP) on Nevis to be about 10 percent higher than on St. Kitts."EU & the Eastern Caribbean: St Kitts and Nevis Overview"
. The European Commission's Delegation in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. Retrieved 8 August 2006.


Tourism

The major source of revenue for Nevis today is tourism. During the 2003–2004 season, approximately 40,000 tourists visited the island. A five-star hotel ''(The Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies)'', four exclusive restored plantation inns, and several smaller hotels including Oualie Beach Resort are currently in operation. Larger developments along the west coast have recently been approved and are in the process of being developed.


Offshore banking

The introduction of secrecy legislation has made offshore financial services a rapidly growing economic sector in Nevis. Incorporation of companies, international insurance and reinsurance, as well as several international banks, trust companies, asset management firms, have created a boost in the economy. During 2005, the Nevis Island Treasury collected $94.6 million in annual revenue, compared to $59.8 million during 2001. In 1998, 17,500 international banking companies were registered in Nevis. Registration and annual filing fees paid in 1999 by these entities amounted to over 10 percent of Nevis' revenues. The offshore financial industry gained importance during the financial disaster of 1999 when
Hurricane Lenny Hurricane Lenny was the fourth strongest November Atlantic hurricane An Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm is a tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressu ...

Hurricane Lenny
damaged the major resort on the island, causing the hotel to be closed down for a year and 400 of the 700 employees to be laid off. In 2000, the
Financial Action Task Force The Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering) (FATF), also known by its French name, ''Groupe d'action financière'' (GAFI), is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat m ...
, part of the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD), issued a blacklist of 35 nations which were said to be non-cooperative in the campaign against tax evasion and
money laundering Money laundering is the process of changing large amounts of money obtained from crimes, such as drug trafficking Uncoated tablets, consisting of about 90% acetylsalicylic acid, along with a minor amount of inert fillers and binders. Aspi ...
. The list included the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.


Politics

The political structure for the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis is based on the Westminster Parliamentary system, but it is a unique structure in that Nevis has its own unicameral legislature, consisting of Her Majesty's representative (the Deputy Governor General) and members of the Nevis Island Assembly. Nevis has considerable autonomy in its legislative branch. The constitution actually empowers the Nevis Island Legislature to make laws that cannot be abrogated by the National Assembly.See section 3 and 4 about Nevis Island Legislature and Administration in ''The Saint Christopher and Nevis Constitution Order 1983''. Published online b
Georgetown University
and also b

Retrieved 8 August 2006.
Nevis has a constitutionally protected right to secede from the federation, should a two-thirds majority of the island's population vote for independence in a local referendum. Section 113.(1) of the constitution states: "The Nevis Island Legislature may provide that the island of Nevis shall cease to be federated with the island of Saint Christopher and accordingly that this Constitution shall no longer have effect in the island of Nevis." Nevis has its own premier and its own government, the Nevis Island Administration. It collects its own taxes and has a separate budget, with a current account surplus. According to a statement released by the Nevis Ministry of Finance in 2005, Nevis had one of the highest growth rates in gross national product and per capita income in the Caribbean at that point.


Elections

Nevis elections are scheduled every five years. The Nevis elections of 2013, called on 23 January 2013, was won by the party in opposition, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), led by Vance Amory. The CCM won three of the five seats in the Nevis Island Assembly, while the incumbent party, the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), won two. In the federal elections of 2010, the CCM won two of the three Nevis assigned Federal seats, while the NRP won one. Of the eight Saint Kitts assigned federal seats, the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party won six and the People's Action Movement (PAM) two.


Movement for constitutional reform

Joseph Parry (politician), Joseph Parry, leader of the opposition, has indicated that he favours constitutional reform over secession for Nevis. His party, the NRP, has historically been the strongest and most ardent proponent for Nevis independence; the party came to power with secession as the main campaign issue. In 1975, the NRP manifesto declared that: "The Nevis Reformation Party will strive at all costs to gain secession for Nevis from St. Kitts – a privilege enjoyed by the island of Nevis prior to 1882." A cursory proposal for constitutional reform was presented by the NRP in 1999, but the issue was not prominent in the 2006 election campaign and it appears a detailed proposal has yet to be worked out and agreed upon within the party. In ''Handbook of Federal Countries'' published by Forum of Federations, the authors consider the constitution problematic because it does not "specifically outline" the federal financial arrangements or the means by which the central government and Nevis Island Administration can raise revenue: "In terms of the NIA, the constitution only states (in s. 108(1)) that 'all revenues...raised or received by the Administration...shall be paid into and form a fund styled the Nevis Island Consolidated Fund.' [...] Section 110(1) states that the proceeds of all 'takes' collected in St. Kitts and Nevis under any law are to be shared between the federal government and the Nevis Island Administration based on population. The share going to the NIA, however, is subject to deductions (s. 110(2)), such as the cost of common services and debt charges, as determined by the Governor-General (s.110(3)) on the advice of the Prime Minister who can also take advice from the Premier of Nevis (s.110(4))."Griffiths, Ann Lynn and Karl Nerenberg (2002). ''Handbook of Federal Countries''. Ed. Karl Nerenberg. Published McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP, 2002. , p. 274. According to a 1995 report by the Commonwealth Observer Group of the Commonwealth Secretariat, "the federal government is also the local government of St Kitts and this has resulted in a perception among the political parties in Nevis that the interests of the people of Nevis are being neglected by the federal government which is more concerned with the administration of St Kitts than with the federal administration."


Secession movement

Simeon Daniel, Nevis' first Premier and former leader of the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) and Vance Amory, Premier and leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), made sovereign independence for Nevis from the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis part of their parties' agenda. Since independence from the United Kingdom in 1983, the Nevis Island Administration and the Federal Government have been involved in several conflicts over the interpretation of the new constitution which came into effect at independence. During an interview on Voice of America in March 1998, repeated in a government-issued press release headlined "PM Douglas Maintains 1983 Constitution is Flawed", Prime Minister Denzil Douglas called the constitution a "recipe for disaster and disharmony among the people of both islands". A crisis developed in 1984 when the People's Action Movement (PAM) won a majority in the Federal elections and temporarily ceased honouring the Federal Government's financial obligations to Nevis. Consequently, cheques issued by the Nevis Administration were not honoured by the Bank, public servants in Nevis were not paid on time and the Nevis Island Administration experienced difficulties in meeting its financial obligations.The Concerned Citizens Movement (1996)
"The Way Forward For The Island Of Nevis." ''Nevis, Queen of the Caribees''.
Nevis Island Administration, September 1996. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
There is also substantial support in Nevis for British Overseas Territory status similar to
Anguilla Anguilla ( ) is a British Overseas Territories, British overseas territory in the Caribbean. It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north ...

Anguilla
's, which was formerly the third of the tri-state Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla colony.


Legislative motivation for secession

In 1996, four new bills were introduced in the National Assembly in Saint Kitts, one of which made provisions to have revenue derived from activities in Nevis paid directly to the treasury in Saint Kitts instead of to the treasury in Nevis. Another bill, The Financial Services Committee Act, contained provisions that all investments in Saint Kitts and Nevis would require approval by an investment committee in Saint Kitts. This was controversial, because ever since 1983 the Nevis Island Administration had approved all investments for Nevis, on the basis that the constitution vests legislative authority for industries, trades and businesses and economic development in Nevis to the Nevis Island Administration.Phillips, Fred (2002). Commonwealth Caribbean Constitutional Law. Cavendish Publishing, 2002, . All three representatives from Nevis, including the leader of the opposition in the Nevis Island Assembly, objected to the introduction of these bills into the National Assembly in Saint Kitts, arguing that the bills would affect the ability of Nevis to develop its offshore financial services sector and that the bills would be detrimental to the Nevis economy. All the representatives in opposition in the National Assembly shared the conviction that the bills if passed into law, would be unconstitutional and undermine the constitutional and legislative authority of the Nevis Island Administration, as well as result in the destruction of the economy of Nevis. The constitutional crisis initially developed when the newly appointed Attorney General refused to grant permission for the Nevis Island Administration to assert its legal right in the Courts. After a decision of the High Court in favour of the Nevis Island Administration, the Prime Minister gave newspaper interviews stating that he "refused to accept the decision of the High Court". Due to the deteriorating relationship between the Nevis Island Administration and the Federal Government, a Constitutional Committee was appointed in April 1996 to advise on whether or not the present constitutional arrangement between the islands should continue. The committee recommended constitutional reform and the establishment of an island administration for Saint Kitts, separate from the Federal Government. The Federal Government in Saint Kitts fills both functions today and Saint Kitts does not have an equivalent to the Nevis Island Administration. Disagreements between the political parties in Nevis and between the Nevis Island Administration and the Federal Government have prevented the recommendations by the electoral committee from being implemented. The problematic political arrangement between the two islands, therefore, continues to date. Nevis has continued developing its own legislation, such as The Nevis International Insurance Ordinance and the Nevis International Mutual Funds Ordinance of 2004,As reported by the Premier at the official Web site fo
Nevis Financial Services Departments and the Ministry of Finance, Nevis
. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
but calls for secession are often based on concerns that the legislative authority of the Nevis Island Administration might be challenged again in the future.


Fiscal motivation for secession

The issues of political dissension between Saint Kitts and Nevis are often centred around perceptions of imbalance in the economic structure. As noted by many scholars, Nevisians have often referred to a structural imbalance in Saint Kitts' favour in how funds are distributed between the two islands and this issue has made the movement for Nevis secession a constant presence in the island's political arena, with many articles appearing in the local press expressing concerns such as those compiled by Everton Powell in "What Motivates Our Call for Independence": * Many of the businesses that operate in Nevis are headquartered in Saint Kitts and pay the corporate taxes to Saint Kitts, despite the fact that profits for those businesses are derived from Nevis. * The vast majority of Nevisians and residents of Nevis depart the Federation from Saint Kitts. This meant that departure taxes are paid in Saint Kitts. * The bulk of cargo destined for Nevis enters the Federation through Saint Kitts. Custom duties are therefore paid in Saint Kitts. * The largest expenditure for Nevis, approximately 29 percent of the Nevis Island Administration's recurrent budget, is education and health services, but the Nevis Island Legislature has no power to legislate over these two areas. * Police, defense and coast guard are a federal responsibility. Charlestown Police Station, which served as the Headquarters for police officers in Nevis, was destroyed by fire in December 1991. Police officers initially had to operate out of the ruin, until the Nevis Island Administration managed to raise the resources to re-house the police. * Nevis experiences an economic disadvantage because of preferential treatment by the federal government for development of Saint Kitts. The division of foreign aid and various forms of international assistance toward development and infrastructure are especially contentious issues. Lists showing the disparities in sharing have been compiled by Dr. Everson Hull, a former Economics professor of Howard University, and are available online.


1998 referendum

A referendum on secession from the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis was held in 1998. Although 62% voted in favor of a secession, a two-thirds majority would have been necessary for the referendum to succeed.


Government

The island of Nevis is divided into five administrative subdivisions called parishes, each of which has an elected representative in the Nevis Island Assembly. The division of this almost round island into parishes was done in a circular sector pattern, so each parish is shaped like a pie slice, reaching from the highest point of Nevis Peak down to the coastline. The parishes have double names, for example Saint George Gingerland. The first part of the name is the name of the patron saint of the parish church, and the second part of the name is the traditional common name of the parish. Often the parishes are referred to simply by their common names. The religious part of a parish name is sometimes written or pronounced in the possessive: Saint George's Gingerland. The five parishes of Nevis are: * Saint George Gingerland * Saint James Windward * Saint John Figtree * Saint Paul Charlestown * Saint Thomas Lowland


Culture

''Culturama'', the annual cultural festival of Nevis, is celebrated during the Emancipation Day weekend, the first week of August. The festivities include many traditional folk dances, such as the Masquerade ceremony, masquerade, the Moko jumbies on stilts, Cowboys and Indians, and Plait the Ribbon, a May pole dance. The celebration was given a more organised form in 1974, including a Miss Culture Show and a Calypso music, Calypso Competition, as well as drama performances, old fashion Troupes (including Johnny Walkers, Giant and Spear, Bulls, Red Cross and Blue Ribbon), arts and crafts exhibitions and recipe competitions. According to the Nevis Department of Culture, the aim is to protect and encourage indigenous folklore, in order to make sure that the uniquely Caribbean culture can "reassert itself and flourish".


Language

The official language is English, yet Saint Kitts Creole (known on the island as 'Nevisian' or 'Nevis creole') is also widely spoken. The local creole is actually more widely spoken on Nevis than on the neighbouring island.


Music, theatre and dance

Nevisian culture has since the 17th century incorporated African, European and East Indian cultural elements, creating a distinct Afro-Caribbean culture. Several historical anthropologists have done field research Nevis and in Nevisian Immigration, migrant communities in order to trace the creation and constitution of a Nevisian cultural community. Karen Fog Olwig published her research about Nevis in 1993, writing that the areas where the Afro-Caribbean traditions were especially strong and flourishing relate to kinship and subsistence farming. However, she adds, Afro-Caribbean cultural impulses were not recognised or valued in the colonial society and were therefore often expressed through Euro-Caribbean cultural forms. Examples of European forms appropriated to express Afro-Caribbean culture are the Nevisian and Kittitian ''Tea Meetings'' and ''Christmas Sports''. According to anthropologist Roger D. Abrahams, these traditional performance art forms are "Nevisian approximation of British performance codes, techniques, and patterns". He writes that the Tea Meetings were staged as theatrical "battles between decorum and chaos", decorum represented by the ceremony chairmen and chaos the hecklers in the audience, with a diplomatic King or a Queen presiding over the battle to ensure fairness. The Christmas Sports included a form of comedy and satire based on local events and gossip. They were historically an important part of the Christmas celebrations in Nevis, performed on Christmas Eve by small troupes consisting of five or six men accompanied by string bands from different parts of the island. One of the men in the troupe was dressed as a woman, playing all the female parts in the dramatisations. The troupes moved from yard to yard to perform their skits, using props, face paint and costumes to play the roles of well-known personalities in the community. Examples of gossip about undesired behaviour that could surface in the skits for comic effect were querulous neighbours, adulterous affairs, planters mistreating workers, domestic disputes or abuse, crooked politicians and any form of stealing or cheating experienced in the society. Even though no names were mentioned in these skits, the audience would usually be able to guess who the heckling message in the troupe's dramatised portrayals was aimed at, as it was played out right on the person's own front yard. The acts thus functioned as social and moral commentaries on current events and behaviours in Nevisian society. This particular form is called "Bazzarding" by many locals. Abrahams theorises that Christmas Sports are rooted in the pre-emancipation Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations, when the enslaved population had several days off.Abrahams, Roger D. (1973). "Christmas Mummings on Nevis." North Carolina Folklore Journal (1973): pp. 120–31. American folklorist and musicologist Alan Lomax visited Nevis in 1962 in order to conduct long-term research into the black folk culture of the island. His field trip to Nevis and surrounding islands resulted in the anthology ''Lomax Caribbean Voyage'' series. Among the Nevisians recorded were chantey-singing fishermen in a session organised in a rum shop in Newcastle; Santoy, the Calypsonian, performing Calypso music, calypsos by Nevisian ballader and local legend Charles Walters to guitar and Cuatro (instrument), cuatro; and string bands, fife players and drummers from Gingerland, performing quadrilles. The island is also known for "Jamband music", which is the kind of music performed by local bands during the "Culturama Festival" and is key to "Jouvert" dancing. The sounds of the so-called "Iron Band" are also popular within the culture; many locals come together using any old pans, sinks, or other kits of any sort; which they use to create sounds and music. This form of music is played throughout the villages during the Christmas and carnival seasons.


Architecture

A series of earthquakes during the 18th century severely damaged most of the colonial-era stone buildings of Charlestown. The Georgian architecture, Georgian stone buildings in Charlestown that are visible today had to be partially rebuilt after the earthquakes, and this led to the development of a new architectural style, consisting of a wooden upper floor over a stone ground floor; the new style resisted earthquake damage much more effectively. Two famous Nevisian buildings from the 18th century are Hermitage Plantation, built of
lignum vitae Lignum vitae is a wood, also called guayacan or guaiacum, and in parts of Europe known as Pockholz or pokhout, from trees of the genus ''Guaiacum''. The trees are indigenous to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America (e.g: Venezue ...
wood in 1740, the oldest surviving wooden house still in use in the Caribbean today, and the Bath Hotel, the first hotel in the Caribbean, a luxury hotel and spa built by John Huggins in 1778. The soothing waters of the hotel's
hot spring A hot spring, hydrothermal spring, or geothermal spring is a spring Spring(s) may refer to: Common uses * Spring (season), a season of the year * Spring (device), a mechanical device that stores energy * Spring (hydrology), a natural source of w ...

hot spring
and the lively social life on Nevis attracted many famous Europeans including Antigua-based Admiral Nelson, and Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, (future William IV of the United Kingdom), who attended balls and private parties at the Bath Hotel. Today, the building serves as government offices, and there are two outdoor hot-spring bathing spots which were specially constructed in recent years for public use. An often repeated legend appears to suggest that a destructive 1680 or 1690 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the buildings of the original capital Jamestown on the west coast. Folklore, Folk tales say that the town sank beneath the ocean, and the tsunami is blamed for the escape of (possibly fictional) pirate Red Legs Greaves. However, archaeologists from the University of Southampton who have done excavations in the area, have found no evidence to indicate that the story is true. They state that this story may originate with an over-excited Victorian letter writer sharing somewhat exaggerated accounts of his exotic life in the tropical colony with a British audience back home. One such letter recounts that so much damage was done to the town that it was completely evacuated, and was engulfed by the sea. Early maps do not, however, actually show a settlement called "Jamestown", only "Morton's Bay", and later maps show that all that was left of Jamestown/Morton's Bay in 1818 was a building labelled "Pleasure House". Very old bricks that wash up on Pinney's Beach after storms may have contributed to this legend of a sunken town; however, these bricks are thought to be dumped ballast from 17th and 18th century sailing ships.


Notable people

* Arthur Anslyn MBE, marine expert * Keith Arthurton, cricket player * Bertram L. Baker, Majority Whip of the New York State Assembly (1966-1970) * Stephen Breyer, United States Supreme Court Justice * John Cleese, actor/comedian, founding member of the British comedy group Monty Python * Rupert Crosse, first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor *
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
, statesman and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States * Runako Morton, cricket player * Frances Nelson, wife of Admiral Nelson, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson * Eulalie Spence, pioneer playwright of the Harlem RenaissanceBraconi, Adrienne Macki. "Eulalie Spence.
The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre.
Ed. Harvey Young. Cambridge, England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. . 117–134. ''Google Books''. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
* Elquemedo Willett, cricket player, inducted into the Nevis Sports Museum Hall of Fame in 2005CMC (2005)
"Willett for Nevis Sports Hall of Fame"
''West Indies Cricket Board'', 27 February 2005. Retrieved 8 August 2006.


See also

* Chief Justice of the Leeward Islands * Nevis Historical and Conservation Society


References


Further reading

* Michener, James, A. 1989. ''Caribbean''. Secker & Warburg. London. (Especially Chap. VIII. "A Wedding on Nevis", pp. 289–318). The book is a fictionalised account of Caribbean history, but according to the publisher, "...everything said about Nelson and his frantic search for a wealthy life is based on fact." * Ordnance Survey, Government of the United Kingdom, 1984. ''Nevis, with part of St. Christopher (Saint Kitts). Series E803 (D.O.S. 343), Sheet NEVIS, Edition 5 O.S.D. 1984''. Reprinted in 1995, published by the Government of the United Kingdom (Ordnance Survey) for the Government of Saint Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis. * Robinson, David and Jennifer Lowery (Editors), 2000. ''The natural history of the island of Nevis''. Nevis Historical and Conservation Society Press, Ithaca, New York. * Keith C. Simmonds. "Political and Economic Factors Influencing the St. Kitts-Nevis Polity: An Historical Perspective." Phylon Vol. 48, No. 4 (4th Qtr., 1987), pp. 277–286


External links


Nevis Island Administration

Nevis Island Tourism Authority
{{Authority control Nevis, Autonomous regions Islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis Stratovolcanoes Subduction volcanoes Volcanoes of Saint Kitts and Nevis