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St Kitts and Nevis Timeline

A chronology of key historical events from AD 400 to the present day.

c. AD 400: The Arawak people settled in the Caribbean area.

c. 1400: The Klinago tribe, known as the Caribs, settled in the Caribbean area, ousting the Arawaks.

1493: The Italian navigator in the service of the Spanish Crown, Christoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus) sighted the island, naming it after his patron saint, St. Christopher.

28 January 1624: The British, led by Sir Thomas Warner, colonized the island, abbreviating the name to St. Kitts (although the island remains known as St Christopher).

1626: British and French settlers killed the entire 2,000 indigenous Carib population at Bloody Point on the west coast of St Christopher.

1628: The British colonized the neighbouring island or Nevis.

1664: The French gained complete control of St Christopher.

1689: The British regained control of St Christopher.

1706: France re-captured St Christopher,

1713: St Christopher was ceded to the British through the Treaty of Utrecht.

1782: The French besieged the island, resulting in British surrender after nine months.

1783: St Christopher was again ceded to the British, through the Treaty of Versailles.

1816: Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were administered as a single colony.

1871: The Leeward Islands Federation was formed, with St Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla united as a British dependency.

1880: The British placed St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla under a single administration.

1932: Centre-Left Labour Party founded to campaign for independence.

30 June 1956: The Leeward Islands Federation was dissolved and Antigua and Barbuda. Saint Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands became British colonies, allowing them to enter the proposed Caribbean Federation as independent units.

2 August 1956: The British Parliament adopted a bill establishing the British Caribbean Federation, which was to have a Joint Government, Legislature and Supreme Court.

1958: St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla joined the West Indies Federation.

6 October 1959: The British Colonial Office announced the abolition of the post of Governor of the Leeward Islands as part of the reform of the constitutions of the Leeward Islands. The reforms were designed to reduce the administrative differences between the members of the West Indies Federation.

27 February - 5 March 1962: Representatives of Barbados and the seven Leeward and Windward Island colonics met in Barbados. They requested that the British Government approve a new federation, known as the Little Eight, in the event of the collapse of the West Indies Federation.

31 May 1962: The British Government formally dissolved the West Indies Federation, which had collapsed.

17 November 1962: General elections were held in St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla. The ruling Labour Party retained power and the party's leader. Paul Southwell, formed a new Government.

18 April - 4 May 1966: A Constitutional Conference was held in London to discuss the future of Dominica. Grenada. St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla. St Lucia and St Vincent following the collapse of the proposed Little Seven federation (as it had become following Grenada's withdrawal).

November 1966: Antigua. Barbados. Dominica. Grenada. Montserrat. St Christopher- Nevis-Anguilla. St Lucia and St Vincent founded the West Indies (Associated States) Council of Ministers, which discussed proposals for a 'small island federation'. These talks, however, collapsed and the islands, with the exception of Montserrat, subsequently achieved full independence separately.

Self-government

27 February 1967: St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla was granted the status of an Associated State, and became self-governing, although the United Kingdom retained responsibility for defence and foreign relations. The Legislative Council was replaced by a House of Assembly, the Administrator became Governor, and the Chief Minister, Robert Bradshaw, leader of the Labour Party, became Premier.

19 March 1967: A force of 200 soldiers belonging to the British Parachute Regiment occupied Anguilla and installed Anthony Lee as Administrator.

31 May 1967: Around 250 armed Anguillans forced the island's 17 policemen to leave, thereby achieving virtual independence.

11 July 1967: A referendum on Anguilla overwhelmingly approved independence for the island, and Peter Adams took office as President.

4 August 1967: Adams was deposed as President of Anguilla and replaced by the Rev. Ronald Webster, following the approval by Adams of an unpopular compromise agreement with the Government of St Christopher and Nevis.

10 May 1971: Bradshaw retained his position as Prime Minister, after the Labour Party won seven of the nine seats in the House of Assembly. The two seals for Nevis were secured by the People's Action Movement (PAM) and the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP).

25 July 1972: The Governments of Guyana. Dominica. Grenada. St Christopher-Nevis- Anguilla. St Lucia and St Vincent signed the Declaration of Grenada. which created the framework for an Eastern Caribbean political union.

30 May 1975: The British Government announced that Anguilla would be granted separate status within the existing Associated State.

1 December 1975: The Labour Party was returned to office at a general elections and Bradshaw was reappointed Premier.

10 February 1976: The new Constitution proposed by the British Government came into effect in Anguilla and St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, and elections were subsequently held to Anguilla's separate House of Assembly.

23 May 1978: The Deputy Premier. Tim Southwell, took office as Premier following the death of Bradshaw.

18 May 1979: Southwell died and was succeeded as Premier by the former Attorney- General and Minister of External Affairs. Lee Moore.

18 February 1980: The Labour Party was defeated at general elections by a coalition of the People's Action Movement (PAM) and the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP). The
PAM leader. Dr Kennedy A. Simmonds became Premier.

19 December 1980: Anguilla formally withdrew from the Associated State of St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla which had not exercised any control over the island's affairs since 1971 and became a separate dependency of the United Kingdom.

Independence

19 September 1983: The islands achieved full independence from the United Kingdom as Saint Christopher and Nevis. A new Constitution was introduced and Simmonds became Prime Minister.

21 June 1984: The PAM-NRP coalition was returned to power at legislative elections, winning nine of the 11 seats in the newly expanded National Assembly.

21 March 1989: The PAM won six of the 11 seats at elections to the National Assembly and Simmonds was reappointed Prime Minister.

29 November 1993: At a general election neither the PAM nor the Labour Party managed to secure a majority in the National Assembly, with both parties winning four seats. On Nevis the Concerned Citizens' Movement (CCM) secured two seats and the NRP one. The leader of the CCM, Vance Amory, refused to form a coalition with either PAM or the Labour Party, obliging the Governor-General to invite Simmonds to form a minority Government with the support of the NRP.

1-2 December 1993: Violent demonstrations were held in Basseterre to protest against Simmonds' attempts to form a new Government, and a state of emergency was declared. 3 July 1995: The instability of the Government's majority forced Simmonds to call a general election, at which he was conclusively defeated. The Labour Party won a large majority and the party's leader, Denzil Douglas, was appointed Prime Minister.

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.

23 June 1996: Vance Amory, the Premier of Nevis, announced he was to launch a bid for Nevis to secede from the federation with St Christopher.

24 February 1997: The CCM won three of the five elected seats in the Nevis Island Assembly, while the NRP won the remaining two.

Secessionist threat

13 October 1997: The five elected members of the Nevis Island Assembly voted to secede from the federation and announced a referendum on the subject.

July 1998: St Kitts and Nevis carries out its first execution in 17 years despite international protests.

10 August 1998: The referendum on the secession of Nevis was approved by around 62% of voters, although this fell short of the two-thirds majority required for a change of status. Douglas subsequently pledged greater autonomy for the island.

February 2000: A report published into allegations of corruption within the Simmonds Government, dating back to 1997, made 10 specific accusations of negligence, improper behaviour, and irresponsible action against Simmonds. However, the accusations were rejected by Simmonds.

6 March 2000: The Labour Party retained power at legislative elections, taking all eight seats on St Christopher and 64.5% of votes cast; the PAM obtained 35.5%. The distribution of seats on Nevis remained unchanged. Douglas was reappointed Prime Minister. The ΡΛΜ subsequently accused the Government of electoral fraud and announced that the party would not contest any future elections until the electoral register had been revised.

26-27 June 2000: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF, part of the OECD) criticized St Christopher and Nevis' financial system, naming it as a tax haven. The OECD requested that the country reform its rules by 31 December 2005 or face sanctions.

8 October 2000: Following the resignation of Simmonds as leader of the PAM, Lindsay Grant was elected in his place.

March 2003: Largest hotel complex in the eastern Caribbean opens on Frigate Bay, St Kitts.

October 2004: Denzil Douglas begins a third consecutive term as prime minister.

March 2005: Government decides to close the 300-year-old, loss-making sugar industry after the 2005 harvest.

December 2008: 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.

January 2010: Denzil Douglas wins a fourth consecutive term as Prime Minister..

May 2012: Paris Club of creditor governments agrees to restructure St Kitts and Nevis' public debt, cutting interest payments by 90%.

May 2014: 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.

Key
CCM = Concerned Citizens Movement; NRP = Nevis Reformation Party; PAM = People's Action Movement; PLP = People's Labour Party; SKNLP = St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party; IND = Independent Candidate; *incumbent; ** Political Leader
Sources
St. Kitts and Nevis Electoral Office
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CCM Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM)
NRP Nevis Reformation Party (NRP)
PAM People's Action Movement (PAM)
PLP People's Labour Party (PLP)
SKNLP St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP)
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