Our Culture & History

Nevis an island settled for thousands of years by Amerindian people (Arawaks and Caribs) was first sighted by Columbus in 1493; The Amerindian name for Nevis was Oualie, land of beautiful waters.

Nevis has historically been a popular stop-over point for English and Dutch ships on their way to the North American continent. When the Leeward Islands were separated from Barbados in 1671, Nevis became the seat of the Leeward Islands colony and was given the nickname “Queen of the Caribees”.

On 1 August 1834, slavery was abolished in the British Empire. In Nevis, 8,815 slaves were freed. The first Monday in August is celebrated as Emancipation Day and is part of the annual Nevis Culturama festival.

Nevis was united with Saint Kitts and Anguilla in 1882, and they became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967, though Anguilla seceded in 1971. Together, Saint Kitts and Nevis became independent on 19 September 1983.

Modernized classrooms and better equipped schools, as well as improvements in the educational system, have contributed to a leap in academic performance on the island. The pass rate among the Nevisian students sitting for the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams is now consistently among the highest in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Nevis’ growth in the last decade, though mainly due to tourism, has not become a tourist-trap as have so many other Caribbean islands. Government has chosen to keep growth to a limited scale. Coupled with modern conveniences, local culture exists in harmony. Many islands rely on the weather and glitzy, gaudy resorts to snare visitors, not Nevis, the warm, friendly people are all the bait Nevis needs.