A chronology of key events from the BBC:
St Kitts and Nevis country profile
The former British colony of St Kitts and Nevis has beaches, scenery and a warm, sunny climate that are a great tourist attraction. It is also vulnerable to hurricanes.
The islands of St Kitts – also known as St Christopher – and Nevis have been in an uneasy federation since independence from Britain in 1983, with some politicians in Nevis saying the federal government in St Kitts – home to a majority of the population – had ignored the needs of Nevisians.
But a referendum on secession held in Nevis in 1998 failed to gain the two-thirds majority needed to break away.
Under the constitution, Nevis has considerable autonomy and has an island assembly, a premier, and a deputy governor-general.
Tourism, offshore finance and service industries are important sources of income – more so since a centuries-old but loss-making sugar industry was wound down in 2005 with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Area 269 sq km (104 sq miles)
- Population 52,000
- Major language English
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 68 years (men), 71 years (women)
- Currency East Caribbean dollar
Head of state: King Charles III, represented by a governor-general
Prime Minister: Terrance Drew
Terrance Drew was elected as prime minister after his St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) won the August 2022 general election.
Mr Drew is the fifth prime minister since the country gained independence from Britain in 1983.
1493 – Christopher Columbus lands on the islands and names St Kitts after his patron saint, Christopher.
1623 – The British establish their first Caribbean colony on St Kitts.
1626 – The British massacre 2,000 indigenous Caribs.
1628 – The British establish a colony on Nevis.
1783 – France relinquishes claims on St Kitts in the Treaty of Versailles.
1871 – St Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla united as a British dependency.
1932 – Centre-Left Labour Party founded to campaign for independence.
1967 – St Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla become an internally self-governing member of the West Indies Associated States with Labour Party leader Robert Bradshaw as prime minister.
1970 – Nevis Reformation Party founded, campaigns for independence.
1971 – Anguilla placed under direct British rule following a rebellion against domination by St Kitts.
1980 – Anguilla granted a constitution and its union with St Kitts and Nevis formally revoked.
1983 – St Kitts and Nevis jointly attain independence within the British Commonwealth with Kennedy Simmonds as prime minister.
1993 – Anti-government demonstrations take place following an inconclusive general election.
1994 – A state of emergency is declared after anti-government riots by Labour Party supporters in the capital, Basseterre.
1995 – Prime Minister Kennedy Simmonds loses in a general election which he had called following a scandal involving allegations of drug smuggling; Labour Party leader Denzil Douglas becomes prime minister.
1997 – Nevis legislators authorise a referendum on the issue of whether the island should secede from St Kitts.
1998 July – St Kitts and Nevis carries out its first execution in 17 years despite international protests.
1998 August – Referendum on Nevis independence fails to achieve the two-thirds majority required for the island to secede.
1998 September – Hurricane George strikes.
2000 – Denzil Douglas begins a second term as prime minister after his Labour Party wins a majority of seats in a general election.
2003 March – Largest hotel complex in the eastern Caribbean opens on Frigate Bay, St Kitts.
2004 October – Denzil Douglas begins a third consecutive term as prime minister.
2005 March – Government decides to close the 300-year-old, loss-making sugar industry after the 2005 harvest.
2008 December – First execution in over a decade when Charles Elroy Laplace was hanged for murder. Government said it hoped this would serve as a deterrent against high levels of violent crime.
2010 January – Denzil Douglas wins a fourth consecutive term as premier.
2012 May – Paris Club of creditor governments agrees to restructure St Kitts and Nevis’ public debt, cutting interest payments by 90%.
2014 May – The US Treasury warns that “illicit actors” are abusing a scheme offering fast-track St Kitts and Nevis citizenship in return for investing in the country.
2015 February – The Team Unity coalition wins elections, ending the former ruling Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party’s 20-year reign.
2022 August – Terrance Drew elected as prime minister after his St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) wins the general election. x