Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage site in St Kitts and Nevis. It is actually on the island of St Kitts, or St Christopher. It’s a pretty big compound, and you can imagine it would have been bustling when occupied. There are forts and barracks and extra forts on bits of land that jut out above the sea, having a vantage point and line of sight with neighbouring islands.
It was listed on the World Heritage List in 1999 -
“Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is an outstanding, well-preserved example of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture in a Caribbean context. Designed by the British and built by African slave labour, the fortress is testimony to European colonial expansion, the African slave trade and the emergence of new societies in the Caribbean.”
Brimstone Hill was first used for military defence of the island by the British as far back as 1690. Against the French of course. Both the UNESCO site and the official Brimstone Hill site provide the interesting history of the Fortress, the various sieges and battles between the British and the French!
There was a particularly notable month-long siege by the French in 1782, which has been re-enacted at the Fortress (there are photos from last year, 2012 on the official site). However, later that year, and again in 1806 the Brits were more successful and in fact the reconstructed defences of Brimstone Hill Fortress led to St Kitts being called the “Gibraltar of the Caribbean“. The Fortress was abandoned in 1853, and while there was dismantling of the wooden buildings, and looting of the stone from the masonry buildings, the structures of the site are still impressively intact and provide a lot of exploring to fill an afternoon.
And of course, the views. Lovely blue Caribbean Sea. Green hills and peaks (protected by cannons). The Fortress is on the West of the island. You have excellent line of sight to St. Eustatius (Dutch territory, part of the Netherland Antilles), and even to Montserrat.
Residents pay $5 EC, Foreigners $8 US. There is a media room showing you some historical video, and a cafe and gift shop. It’s an interesting steep hill to get up there, thankfully we had a taxi driver to do it!
I have a post in the works on the island of Nevis which has a lot of flowers, but until then you can browse my St Kitts and Nevis photo-set directly at my Flickr. The other photos with more details of the Brimstone Hill Fortress are in the slideshow below.