St. Kitts Heritage -Brimstone Hill

 

“Captain, 50 guns approaching at 12 o’clock!”

“Man the guns, prepare a warning sounding.  Fire!”

Walking around the concourse of the historic Brimstone Hill, I did a quick Princess Bride pirouette as I sliced my imaginary cutlass through the air and shouted the above script to my embarrassed bride, who was now seeking a quick retreat back to our car.

Keeping A Watchful Eye
Keeping A Watchful Eye

As an avid fan of the early warring history of the Caribbean Islands, in St. Kitts I was now in my element.  Situated almost 800 feet above the water below, is the Brimstone Hill Fortress.  Over 100 years in the making (1690 – 1790), this restored fortress is a shining reflection of a bygone era.  Cannons still point out to sea from nearly every angle of the prominent Fort George Citadel.

St. Kitts (St. Christopher), is the first Caribbean island to be permanently settled by both the English and the French, who shared the island between 1627 and 1713.  Both nations then used this example as a springboard for English and French colonialism throughout the world.

Infantry Officers Quarters
Infantry Officers Quarters

 

 

 

 

As such, St. Kitts played a valuable role in the establishment and history of the Caribbean.  Last year they celebrated their 7th annual History and Heritage Week.  Activities included a heritage hike, treasure hunts in Nevis and St. Kitts, a concert at Brimstone Hill, a food fair and a culture pageant.

 

Earning a Healthy Respect
Earning a Healthy Respect

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1986), the Brimstone Hill National Park is a wealth of history and of the accounting of this island’s historic past.  Touring the entire Park gives you a glimpse into life as these islands developed.  Notably featured are the Prince of Wales Bastion, a lower level firing position which enabled them to defend their anchorage, the Infantry Officers Quarters, and the aforementioned Fort George Citadel, which now houses the Fort George Museum.

 

Fort George Citadel
Fort George Citadel

An Orientation Centre and Gift Shop help to complete the experience and inform the visitor.  And certainly not to be overlooked are the stunning vistas which greet you at every turn.  This truly is a phot-op of the grandest designs.

St. Kitts has much to offer.  Beautiful beaches, friendly people, and spectacular tropical weather.  But take our advice when on St. Kitts, grab your favorite wench, and spend a morning at Brimstone Hill.  You’ll never see Captain Jack Sparrow the same again!

Live the Life,
JVbytheSea

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Home Sweet Home, A Creole Heritage

The old adage states “There’s no Place Like Home”.  But for us the adage couldn’t be any further from the truth.  We love to travel, and more specifically traveling throughout the Caribbean, and we love everything that goes with it.  Well I guess not really everything, we’re not that much on flight delays, lost luggage, and crying babies.  But that aside, travels are a compelling part of our annual agenda.

Traveling always sets my mind to wandering.  I wonder who has been here before me, what was life for them like, and how was their day to day existence different from my own.  And so naturally there is something about the old Creole styled Caribbean homes of old that causes my mind to dream about its former inhabitants, and of days gone by.

Marigot, St. Martin

Like all travelers we love meeting all the great people along the way, and the ensuing friendships that develop.  And of course we are fascinated by all the new sites and tastes that make a trip a true vacation.  But as a huge fan of the history of these warring islands, I cannot help but fall in love with the simple old historic Creole homes that dot these islands.

Anguilla

In many parts of the Caribbean, the term Creolean is used to refer to a French-speaking person of primarily European ethnicity born in the Caribbean islands.  The term Creole is sometimes used to describe anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, who was born and raised in the region.

These Creole floorplans are distinctive in that they tend to be asymmetrical, and they always lack interior hallways.  Windows and doors are placed solely for the needs and convenience of the interior layout, and without regard for the architectural effect on the exterior.

Sadly these old homes are rapidly declining

Antigua

and finding their way into obscurity.  For us however, we see these and can’t help but think.  “Couldn’t I be happy to live out my days here, with just the sea as my doormat, and the breeze as my companion?”  We have a photo project underway for a client in St. Martin, seeking to document in pictorial record, some of these old relics of the past.  So if you know of one of these old gems, drop us a line at info@myislandart.com.  We’ll hunt it down and try to include it in our record.  So start scouring the hillsides with your eyes off the beaten path.  Maybe we’ll find our new home!

Live the Life,
JVbyTheSea

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