Saint Kitts and Nevis were visited by Columbus in 1493, but European settlement did not begin until the British arrived on St. Kitts in 1623. French settlers came to the island two years later. Nevis was first settled by the British in 1628. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 granted the islands to Britain. They were part of the colony of the Leeward Islands (1871–1956) and of the West Indies Federation (1958–62). In 1967, together with Anguilla, they became a self-governing state in association with Great Britain. Anguilla seceded later that year; it was placed under direct control of Great Britain and was formally separated from Saint Kitts and Nevis in 1980. In 1983 the two islands gained full independence. Kennedy Simmonds of the People's Action Movement served as prime minister until 1995, when the opposition Labour party won in the general elections and Denzil Douglas became prime minister. Douglas and Labour were returned to power in the 2000, 2004, and 2010 elections.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.