Island state in the Leeward Island s of the West Indies, W of Antigua. The state consists of the island s of St. Kitts, or St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and smaller Sombrero. Columbus discovered the island s in 1493 and named one St. Christopher for his patron saint. When English settlers first arrived in 1623 they shortened the name to St. Kitts.
This was the first successful English colony in the West Indies. The French came two years later, and in 1628 the British settled Nevis.
The Treaty of Paris of 1783 gave the island s to Great Britain. From 1871 to 1956 they were part of the colony of the Leeward Island s. From 1958 to 1962 they joined the short-lived Federation of the West Indies, and in 1967, together with Anguilla, they became a self-governing state, associated with Great Britain. In 1983 the two island s gained full independence.
Kennedy Simmonds of the People’s Action Movement served as the first prime minister In 1995, the opposition Labour Party won the general elections and Denzil Douglas became prime minister. Douglas and Labour were reelected in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
Alexander Hamilton, the first U. S. secretary of the Treasury, was born on Nevis in 1755. Basseterre on St. Kitts, founded in 1627, is the capital.