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Clubshaped St. Kitts is just 68 square miles in size and is positioned like an exclamation point with its twin island, Nevis, offset to the south. Both islands are volcanic in origin. In the 1600s, St. Kitts offered the best land in the Leewards, with plentiful rain and fertile soil but high rates of erosion when deforested. Dominated by the aptly named Mount Misery, about half the land area was suitable for cultivation, mainly the hill slopes and coastal plain. Developed simultaneously by the French and English for the first century after its discovery, the joint occupation of St. Kitts irritated relations between the two nations. As a result, the island changed hands seven times between 1666 and 1713, and substantial economic success came only after European peace. Relative to its size, in the mid-eighteenth-century St.
Kitts was the richest British colony and a place where sugar was indeed king. St. Kitts was visited by the English in 1585 and 1622, but, like the Spanish before them, they were discouraged by the determined resistance of the native Carib Indians in that area. In 1624, Sir Thomas Warner formed a tobacco colony in St. Kitts, diverting the Caribs with a combination of treaty and treachery. The need to defeat the Caribs and fend off a Spanish attack in 1629 required the English to cooperate with the French, who had occupied the northern and southern ends of St. Kitts in 1625. This left French Saint Christopher with the better harbor at Basseterre and the English with the best farmland. Once these hostilities had ended, offshoot settlements from St. Kitts developed rapidly in Nevis, Montserrat, and Antigua, with labor provided by English and Irish indentured servants.
Solomon K. Smith See also: Florida; Men©ndez de Avil©s, Pedro; Spanish Colonies on Mainland North Country (Chronology); Document: The Founding of St. Augustine (1565). Bibliography Gold, Robert L. Borderland Empires in Transition: The Triple-Nation Transfer of Florida. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969. Manucy, Albert. Kolkata Metro Map Sixteenth-Century St. Augustine. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997. Wright, J. Leitch. British St. Augustine. St. Augustine, FL: Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, 1975. St. Kitts The lush island of Saint Christopher, or St. Kitts, is located among the closely grouped cluster of the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean.