Fast Facts

Population:
48,000
Capital:
Basseterre; 13,000
Area:
269 square kilometers (104 square miles)
Language:
English
Religion:
Anglican, other Protestant
Currency:
East Caribbean dollar
Life Expectancy:
71
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $8,800
Literacy Percent:
97
Flag: St. Kitts
Map: St. Kitts and Nevis

Once known as the Gibraltar of the West Indies, the massive 17th-century fortress atop Brimstone Hill on St. Kitts recalls colonial occupation. Independent of Britain since 1983, the nation is diversifying the economy away from sugar towards tourism, banking, and light manufacturing. The twin islands are both volcanic with sandy beaches and a warm, wet climate. The island of Nevis (population 7,000) has been pursuing the constitutional process of secession since 1996.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Sugar processing, tourism, cotton, salt
  • Agriculture: Sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables; fish
  • Exports: Machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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