Coordinates: 17°09′N 62°35′W

State of Nevis
The Nevis flag incorporates the flag of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the top left corner. The golden field stands for sunshine. The central triangle represents the conical shape of Nevis, with the blue being the ocean; the green being the verdant slopes of the island; and the white being the clouds that usually wreathe Nevis Peak
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Country Above Self"
Anthem: O Land of Beauty!
Royal anthemGod Save the Queen
Capital
and largest city
Charlestown
17°20′N 62°45′W
Official languages English
Demonym Nevisian
Government
 •  Monarch Elizabeth II
 •  Premier Vance Amory
 •  Deputy
Governor-General[1]

Eustace John
 •  President, Nevis Island Assembly Christen Springette
Independence
 •  from the United Kingdom 19 September 1983 
Area
 •  Total 93 km2 (207th)
35.9 sq mi
Population
 •  2006 census 12,106[2]
 •  Density 130/km2 (not ranked)
99/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2009 estimate
 •  Total $726 million[3]
 •  Per capita $13,429[3]
GDP (nominal) 2009 estimate
 •  Total $557 million[3]
 •  Per capita $10,315[3]
HDI (2007) Decrease 0.825
very high · 54th
Currency East Caribbean dollar ($) (XCD)
Time zone -4 (UTC-4)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy (CE)
Drives on the left
Calling code +1 869
Internet TLD .kn
Airport
Vance W. Amory International
IATA: NEV, ICAO: TKPN
Elevation 35 ft. (11 m)

Nevis /ˈnvɪs/ is a small island in the Caribbean Sea that forms part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies. Nevis and the neighbouring island of Saint Kitts constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Nevis is located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, about 350 km east-southeast of Puerto Rico and 80 km west of Antigua. Its area is 93 square kilometres (36 sq mi) and the capital is Charlestown.

Saint Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow 3-kilometre (2 mi) channel known as "The Narrows". 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 which are composed of a mixture of white coral sand with brown and black sand which is eroded and washed down from the volcanic rocks that make up the island. The gently-sloping coastal plain (1 km (0.62 mi) wide) has natural freshwater springs as well as non-potable volcanic hot springs, especially along the western coast.

The island was named Oualie ("Land of Beautiful Waters") by the Caribs 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 appears on maps in the 16th century. Nevis is also known by the sobriquet "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. For the British, Nevis is the place where 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 citizens of Nevis are of primarily African descent. English is the official language, and the literacy rate, 98 percent, is one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

History

Amerindians

Nevis was first sighted by Columbus in 1493; an island settled for more than two thousand years by Amerindian people. The indigenous people of Nevis during these periods belonged to the Leeward Island Amerindian groups popularly referred to as Arawaks and Caribs, a complex mosaic of ethnic groups with similar culture and language. 

The Amerindian name for Nevis was Oualie, land of beautiful waters. The structure of the Island Carib language has been linguistically identified as Arawakan.

Colonial era

On 30 August 1620, James I of England asserted sovereignty over Nevis by giving a Royal Patent for colonisation to the Earl of Carlisle. However, actual European settlement did not happen until 1628 when Anthony Hilton moved from nearby Saint Kitts following a murder plot against him. He was accompanied by 80 other settlers, soon to be boosted by a further 100 settlers from London who had originally hoped to settle Barbuda. Hilton became the first Governor of Nevis.

 

Due to the profitable Triangular trade and the high quality of Nevisian sugar cane, the island soon became a dominant source of wealth for Great Britain and the slave-owning British plantocracy. When the Leeward Islands were separated from Barbados in 1671, Nevis became the seat of the Leeward Islands colony and was given the nickname "Queen of the Caribees". It remained colonial capital for the Leeward Islands until the seat was transferred to Antigua for military reasons in 1698. During this period, Nevis was the richest of the British Leeward Islands. The island outranked larger islands like Jamaica in sugar production in the late 17th century.

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, rich planter elite in control, a marginal population of poor whites, a great majority of African-descended slaves, and an unknown number of maroons, 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 Caribs 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.

On Nevis, the English built Fort Charles and a series of smaller fortifications to aid in defending the island against Carib attacks.

Emancipation

On 1 August 1834, slavery was abolished in the British Empire. In Nevis, 8,815 slaves were freed. The first Monday in August is celebrated as Emancipation Day and is part of the annual Nevis Culturama festival.

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. Others settled on crown land. This early development of a society with a majority of small, landowning farmers and entrepreneurs created a stronger middleclass in Nevis than in Saint Kitts where the sugar industry continued until 2006.

1800 to the present day

Nevis was united with Saint Kitts and Anguilla in 1882, and they became an associated state 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.

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 up until 1967. However, electricity did not become available island-wide on Nevis until 1971.

An ambitious infrastructure development programme has been introduced in recent years, including 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.

Currency

The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), which is shared by eight other territories in the region.US dollar is widely used and accepted in the island as well.

Tourism

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

 

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, have contributed to the formation. No single model of the island's geological evolution can therefore be ascertained.

Nevis Peak (985 m /3,232 ft) is the dormant remnant of one of these ancient stratovolcanoes. The last activity took place about 100,000 years ago, but active fumaroles and hot springs are still found on the island, the most recent formed in 1953. 

During the last ice age, when the sea level was 60 m lower, the three islands of Saint Kitts, Nevis and Sint Eustatius (also known as Statia) were connected as one island. Saba, however, is separated from these three by a deeper channel.

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. 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.

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, 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 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 and 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.

 

Architecture

 
The Museum of Nevis History, Charlestown, housed in the restored Georgian building where Alexander Hamilton was born.
 

A series of earthquakes during the 18th century severely damaged most of the colonial-era stone buildings of Charlestown. The 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 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. 

Transportation

Nevis is served only by Regional and Commuter Airlines operating small and medium sized aircraft including Air Sunshine, we offer service to and from Nevis(NEV) , San Juan (SJU),St.Thomas(STT),Tortola(EIS),Dominica(DOM) and Anguilla(AXA) on a regular basis and also provide private charter service to other destinations on demand.

 

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