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Useful Notes / Saint Kitts and Nevis

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The smallest country in the Western Hemisphere in both population and size, Saint Kitts and Nevis, also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, are a pair of islands in the Leeward Islands chain of the Caribbean. The islands were one of the first in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans, and Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean, being nicknamed "The Mother Colony of the West Indies".

First settled by the English in 1623, the French soon followed and partitioned the island. They were met by resistance from the Kalinago natives of the island, and 3 years later, the English and French settlers joined forces to slaughter the Kalinago. The English and French colonies were soon destroyed by the Spanish in 1629, and the settlers who were there were deported back to their home countries. However, Spain soon permitted the re-establishment of the English and French colonies as part of the Anglo-Spanish War settlement in 1630, and Saint Kitts soon became the premier base for English and French expansion into the Caribbean, with the British settling the islands of Antigua, Anguilla, Montserrat and Tortola, and the French settling the Guadeloupe archipelago, Martinique and St. Barts.


The British and French later fought for control over St. Kitts in the late 17th century, with the British winning out and the French ceding the territory to Britain in 1713, and St. Kitts became the richest British colony per capita in the Caribbean at the turn of the 18th century due to their sugar production. St. Kitts and Nevis were originally viewed and governed as different states, but islands were merged together along with Anguilla in the late 19th century and became a Commonwealth associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. The Anguillians rebelled and separated from the others in 1977, and Saint Kitts and Nevis became independent in 1983, becoming the newest independent country in the Americas. Relations between the two islands still remain strained, however, with Nevis accusing Saint Kitts of neglecting its needs and unsuccessfully attempting to separate from Saint Kitts with a independence referendum on August 1998.


The Kittitian/Nevisian flag
Designed by Edrice Lewis, the flag consists of a yellow-edged black band containing two white stars that divides diagonally from the lower hoist-side corner, with a green upper triangle and red lower triangle. The yellow stripes represent the sunshine the islands enjoy all year round with the black band epitomizing the people's African origins and the two stars symbolizing the islands of Saint Christopher and Nevis as well as hope and liberty, while the green upper triangle alludes to the country's fertile land and the red lower triangle evokes the fight for freedom against slavery and colonialism.


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