Saint Kitts is short for Saint Christopher. Saint Kitts and Nevis is an island country in the West Indies. As one of the first British/French colonies in the Carribean, it is nicknamed the "Mother Colony". In the fourth century, summertime snow fell on one of the seven celebrated hills in Rome. The Spanish named the island for Nuestra Señora de las Nieves - new lady of the snow. White clouds surround the top of Nevis peak. The British/French settled and partitioned the islands in 1623 - expelling, enslaving or killing the local population. As Spanish power went into decline, these islands became the launching point for increased British and French power. It became the richest colony per capita of the British Caribbean because of the sugar trade. Independence from the United Kingdom came in 1983, and it is the newest sovereign state in the Americas.