A Brief History of Nevis
Posted on 08/20/2015 | About Nevis Island, St. Kitts and Nevis
Long before any European knew the existence of the Island of Nevis, the local Amerindian called it Oualie, meaning 'the land of beautiful waters'. And beautiful they are.
The island of Nevis is one half of the two islands that make up the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. It is located in the Lesser Antilles Archipelago on the Caribbean Sea.
Before Christopher Columbus sighted the Island of Nevis in 1493, it was the ancestral home of the Leeward Amerindians, including the Arawaks and Caribs. Christopher named the island 'St Martins', but due to confusion with other uncharted islands in the Caribbean, the name was ultimately transferred to another island. Its current name - Nevis - was given by Spaniards and it means ' Our Lady of the Snows'.
The Spanish laid claim to the island, but it never really became their colony as English and Dutch ships made constant stop overs in its waters. The first European settler on the island was Englishman Anthony Hilton who had settled there after a murder plan against him. He would later become the first governor of the island after the Treaty of Madrid (1670) between the England and Spain was ratified.
Nevis became important due to its sugar plantations. For a while, it even became the capital of Lesser Antilles. Slaves from Africa were brought in to work on the sugar plantations and by 1780, 70% of the population on the island was black people.
The wealth generated on the island inevitably led to war between the French, Spanish and English armies. The French would later liberate the slaves, but would not succeed in uprooting the British from the Island.
Today, the island's head of state is still Queen Elizabeth II. The Island was united with St. Kitts to form a federation. Its economic mainstay is no longer sugar but tourism. Trust me, this destination ought to be at the top of your bucket list.