the island of Liamuiga - "the fertile land" in the language
of the Caribbean (the people who originally inhabited the
island) - was christened San Cristóbal by Columbus during
his second voyage to America in 1493. Yet, it was not until
1623 that Europeans colonized the island when adventurer
Thomas Walker made it the first British settlement in the
Caribbean. The neighboring island of Nevis was colonized 5
years later. The original Native American population was
rapidly exterminated and the British set up plantation
operations, in particular producing sugar cane with slave
labor from Africa.
After many conflicts between France and the UK over the
rights to Kitts and Nevis, together with other Caribbean
islands with the Treaty of Versailles from 1783, were made
into British colony.
In the context of the decolonization process that
unfolded after World War II, the islands initially gained
full internal autonomy, while foreign policy and defense
were still in the hands of the British. At the same time,
they became part of the Association of West Indies. Until
1980, the island of Anguila was part of the ministry state,
but it withdrew, became independent and government power was
henceforth carried out by a prime minister and a parliament
elected by universal suffrage.