St. Kitts and Nevis
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The peaceful calm of St. Kitts and Nevis -- that tranquil atmosphere which in Nevis especially edges toward slumber -- suggests nothing of the extraordinary histories of these two islands. For centuries, St. Kitts and Nevis occupied a critical position in the European struggle for the West Indies, combining exceptional wealth as sugar colonies with a vital strategic position as gateways to the Caribbean. As a result, the struggles and conflicts that marked their history are among the most decisive episodes in Caribbean history.
Both St. Kitts and Nevis are volcanic islands, a fact to which they owe their dramatic central mountains, their rather unpredictable geologic history, and their lush tropical vegetation. In fact, St. Kitts' pre-Columbian Carib inhabitants knew their island as Liamuiga, or "fertile land," a reference to the island's rich and productive volcanic soil. Today that name graces St. Kitts' central peak, a 3,792-foot extinct volcano.
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