Brief History of Nevis

Nevis is a 36 square mile (93 square kilometer) island in the Caribbean; its capital is Charlestown.  The island is located 250 miles southeast of Puerto Rico, 30 miles west of Antigua and 2 miles south of its sister island of Saint Christopher (better known as “Saint Kitts”).  Nevis is four hours behind London time and 1 hour ahead of New York time.  The Island does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

 

Regional carriers provide daily access from Vance Amory International Airport to Saint Kitts, Antigua, Sint Maarten-Saint Martin and Puerto Rico.  There is also sea ferry service to Saint Kitts, for cars and persons which provides a breathtaking view of the coastlines of both islands.

 

The island is almost circular, with a cloud capped 3,232 foot mountain (985 meters) called Nevis Peak rising in its center.  It was sighted by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493.  He mistakenly thought that the clouds surrounding Nevis Peak was snow and named the island, “Nuestra Senora de Las Nieves”, which translates to “Our Lady of Snows”.  Originally settled by the British in 1628, the island was conquered by the Spanish, Dutch and French before being returned to the Britain in 1728.  In 1983, Nevis, along with Saint Kitts achieved independence from Britain, and the two islands constitute a sovereign Federation within the British Commonwealth.

 

The political structure for Saint Kitts-Nevis is based on the Westminster Parliamentary system; however, Nevis has a certain level of autonomy as it has its own laws, Parliament and Premier.  Nevis also has its own flag which contains elements of the flag of the Federation of Saint Kitts-Nevis.  There is a High Court in Saint Kitts-Nevis, from which appeals are taken to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Saint Lucia, with final appeals to the Privy Council in London.  Since independence, Saint Kitts-Nevis has consistently been judged to be one of the world’s freest nations by the research organization, Freedom House.

 

Tourism is the major source of revenue for Nevis.  There are several resorts on the island including the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, the Mount Nevis Hotel and the Four Seasons Nevis.  A growing sector of the economy is offshore financial services, as several banks, trust companies, asset management firms have established offices on Nevis.  The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (“EC$”), which is shared by eight other Territories in the region.  The EC$ is pegged to the US Dollar (“US$”) at a rate of EC$2.70 to US$1.00.  The US$ is also widely accepted and exchangeable throughout the island.

 

English is the official language of the island.  The population is approximately 10,000, mostly the descendants of African slaves.  Nevisians enjoy a literacy rate of ninety-eight percent (98%), the highest in the Western Hemisphere.  The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and General Certificate of Education (GCE) results of its students are the highest in the English-speaking Caribbean.  The island is quite noteworthy historically as it is the home to the Cottle Church also known as Saint Mark’s of Ease, which was built in 1824 and was the first church in the English-speaking Caribbean where African slaves and their European masters could worship and pray together.

 

Nevis was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, a signatory to America’s Declaration of Independence, the founder of the New York Stock Exchange and the face on the United States Ten Dollar bill.  Alexander Hamilton is also a relative of Herman Liburd and Jan Dash.

 

Other famous persons of Nevisian descent include: Cicely Tyson, an Emmy Award winning actress and the former wife of Miles Davis; Melanie Brown, a former Spice Girl who is better known as “Scary Spice”; Brian Deane, a former Sheffield United, Leicester City and Benfica centre forward who won three (3) caps for England in the early 1990s and Constance Baker Motley, the first African-American woman appointed as a United States Federal judge.

MORE ABOUT NEVIS

Brief History of Nevis

Flags of Nevis

Maps of Nevis

Pictures of Nevis

Time and Weather