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Saint Kitts and Nevis

island of Saint Kitts, smallest country, unusual plants, Saint Christopher, Basseterre

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Saint Kitts and Nevis, independent country in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It is made up of two of the Leeward Islands, Saint Kitts (also known as Saint Christopher) and Nevis, in the West Indies. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved full independence from the United Kingdom on September 19, 1983, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The capital is Basseterre on the island of Saint Kitts; the largest city on Nevis is Charlestown.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest country in the Western Hemisphere in area and in population. The country covers an area of 269 sq km (104 sq mi). It has a population of 39,619 (2008 estimate). The majority of the people live on the island of Saint Kitts. Nearly all of the country’s people are blacks of African ancestry. The Africans were originally brought to the islands to work on sugar plantations.

Today, tourism is a leading industry on the islands. Lush green rain forests, unusual plants and animals, and sandy beaches draw tourists to Saint Kitts and Nevis. Cruise ships also make stopovers in the harbor at Basseterre. However, the islands lie in the Caribbean hurricane zone, and hurricanes present a danger from August to October.


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