The smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in terms of both area and population, and indeed, is the smallest country in the Western Hemisphere. It’s where the 1985 film ‘Missing in Action 2: The Beginning’ was filmed. It’s the home of Romney Manor, once owned by Sam Jefferson II, the great, great, great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. It was one of the host venues of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the smallest country to hold a World Cup event. And they drive on the correct side of the road. The left. Today, we’re in the Land of Sugar, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis is a country in the West Indies made up of two islands. It is the 211th largest country at 101 square miles, with the 209th largest population with 54,961 people. The green on the flag refers to the fertile land the red the fight for freedom against slavery and colonialism. The yellow stripes represent the sunshine and the black the African origins of the people. The two stars symbolise the two islands that make up the federation. The motto of the country is ‘Country Above Self’.
The name ‘Nevis’ is derived from the Spanish name ‘Nuestra Señora de las Nievas’ or ‘Our Lady of the Snows’. Christopher Columbus named the other island ‘Sant Yago’ and a nearby island ‘San Cristóbal’ after the patron saint of his name. However, due to a mapping error, Sant Yago became known as San Cristóbal. The English colonists kept the English translation and named it Saint Christopher’s Island. A common nickname for Christopher in the 17th century was Kitt and the islands became unofficially known as Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a highly religious and eclectic country, the rich and varied culture celebrated each year in many carnivals, celebrations, festivals and parades, each one a cacophony of traditional dance, music, clothing and stories. A colourful and vibrant land. Home of wonderful food and drink, rare nature and amazing arts and crafts. A people who love their athletics, billiards, cricket and football. Your typical warm Caribbean paradise.
The islands are volcanic and sprinkled with areas of tropical rainforest. Many rivers descend from the mountains toward the sea and the gorgeous coastlines, where the lush green terrain is much flatter and where most people reside. It is enchanting.
There are sights to see such as Mount Liamuiga, a volcano on Saint Kitts and hugely popular among tourists. It’s easy to see why. This 3,792-foot tall mountain was once named ‘Mount Misery’ but there’s nothing miserable about it. The views over the Caribbean and the islands of Antigua, Nevis, Saba, Statia, Saint Barths and Saint Martin are unprecedented. The jewel of the Caribbean. And then there’s Great Salt Pond, the largest lake in the country. An empyrean and tranquil place, breathtaking in the extreme. A calming and peaceful paradise, perhaps a perfect metaphor for the ethereal nature of this country.
But I think the best sight of Saint Kitts and Nevis is Independence Square in the capital city, Basseterre. It is stunning and beautiful, lush green gardens dotted with tropical trees and plants of the brightest colours, with a beautifully decorated and colourful fountain in the centre. It’s surrounded by exquisite old time and rustic buildings. And it’s dominated on one side by the Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral, a pulchritudinous marvel of stone artistry. Little more need be said. It is a truly amazing and heavenly place indeed.
Saint Kitts and Nevis. The country of rich culture, stunning vistas and sugar.
Images: 1) The flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis (credit: wikimedia.org), 2) Independence Square (credit: clayvilla.com), 3) Great Salt Pond (credit: smallthoughts.com)
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