The twin-island nation of St. Kitts & Nevis is located in the northern section of the Eastern Caribbean, approximately 1,300 miles southeast of Miami, Florida.
The name St. Kitts is a shortened form of its official name, St. Christopher, given to it by Christopher Columbus when he first landed there in 1493. There is some controversy about whether it was named for himself or St. Christopher. In any event, it is commonly referred to as St. Kitts and the inhabitants call themselves Kittitians.
Nevis is named after the Spanish word for snow–not because there is any!–but because of a white cloud surrounding the island’s single peak.
First settlers and Bloody Point
It was 1623. An English gentleman by the name of Sir Thomas Warner brought his family, along with fourteen others, to an island inhabited only by native peoples. They arrived at what is now Sandy Point. Less than two years later Pierre Belain d’Esnambue led a small group of French settlers to the island. Within a year, blood flowed. Not each other’s blood, not yet. This early eruption of violence wiped out the entire native population of Arawaks and Caribs. It was an out and out massacre at what is now Bloody Point. Once the English and French had the island to themselves, they could expand their sugar and tobacco plantations at will, and began bringing in African people to serve as slaves. And so the seeds of St. Kitts’s rich culture were sewn, influenced by the peoples of Africa, Europe and the Caribbean itself.
A history of quite contradictions
From its early settlement by Europeans, every religious conviction found fertile soil on the island of St. Kitts. Besides the many reform movements of Christianity, the tiny island made room for Jewish and Catholic worship, as well as Free Masonry. St.Kitts was the home of one of the oldest Jewish Temples and oldest Masonic Temples in the Caribbean. However, the plantocracy of the island had little tolerance for the few islanders who were staunch advocates of abolishment, and at least two of the most influential abolitionists were forced to leave the island.