If one wishes to explore the history of the island there are two attractions of note: the Brimstone Hill Fortress and the St.Kitts Scenic Railway, and both are linked to its sugar cane past.
Though “discovered” by Christopher Columbus in 1493, this small island of less than 70 square miles, was first permanently colonized in 1623 by the English , followed two years later by the French, both parties looking to capitalize on the fertile volcanic soil by growing tobacco and sugar cane. These two nationalities banded together to eliminate all the native population, and were themselves in danger when the Spanish captured the island in 1629. As any historian of European history knows, the fortunes of the island then followed the see-saw of outcomes of these three European powers as they fought, made peace, and swapped land in treaties during the next few hundred years. England finally won out in 1783.
One of the outcomes of this fighting was the Brimstone Hill Fortress, now a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site. This fort gave St.Kitts the nickname of the Gibraltar of the West Indies as it lies strategically between the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. Standing between the long silent cannons and looking down 750 feet from the top of the hill onto the blue waters of the ocean and across the infinite horizons broken by distant islands, a visitor can immediately see why.