Claimed by Sir Christopher Columbus for Spain in 1493, St. Kitts was occupied by a Spanish expedition. During the late 17th and early 18th century, France and Spain separately inhabited St. Kitts and battled for its control until St. Kitts came under British rule during the 18th century. Named for Sir Christopher Columbus, the island attained independence in 1983 and has since become the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The island of Nevis, once nicknamed "Queen of the Caribees" because of its riches, was occupied by the Spanish in 1629, but eventually returned to England under the Treaty of Madrid in 1630. Nevis was officially the most profitable colony per capita in the British Empire.