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Map of the Region | St Kitts & Nevis | Antilles | Caribbean

The country is a Commonwealth realm, with the British Monarch (currently, Elizabeth II) as its head of state. The capital city is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller island of Nevis lies about 2 miles (3 km) southeast of Saint Kitts across a shallow channel called "The Narrows."

The twin-island Federation of St Kitts and Nevis is a part of the Leeward Islands group covering a total land area of 269 km² (104 mi² -, St Kitts is 176 km² (68 mi²) and Nevis is 93 km²(36 mi²).

The highest elevation in St Kitts is Mount Liamuiga (formerly Mount Misery), 1,156 m (3,792 ft.) on St. Kitts and the Nevis peak of 985 m (3,232 ft.).

The mean annual rainfall is 1,300 mm (51.2 in).

Sugar was the traditional mainstay of the St. Kitts economy. However, faced with a sugar industry that was finding it increasingly difficult to earn a profit, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis officially closed the sugar industry in 2005 and embarked on a programme to diversify the agricultural sector and stimulate the development of other sectors of the economy.

Tourism has since surpassed sugar as the major foreign exchange earner for St. Kitts and Nevis. Export-oriented manufacturing and offshore banking also assumed larger roles in the economy. The agricultural diversification programme is continuing with emphasis on crops and livestock such hot pepper, white and sweet potato, vegetables, dairy, beef, mutton, pork and poultry.

The economy continues to be vulnerable to global financial challenges and adverse weather conditions, and reflected a decline in 2009, even as it is expected to improve in 2010. Agriculture contributed 3.5% of the GDP in 2009.