2006 Calendar Nevis Archive and Library Field Study Programs Nevis Environmental Education The Horatio Nelson Museum Museum of Nevis History Home Page

1 - Visit the Alexander Hamilton Museum
2 - Alexander Hamilton Exhibit
3 - Hamilton Exhibit
4 - Hamilton Exhibit
5 - Welcome Desk
6 - Museum Entry

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at the Birthplace of Alexander Hamilton
Located in Charlestown, the museum interprets the History and Culture of Nevis and the life of Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the United States Treasury.

 The Island of Nevis formed in a series of volcanic eruptions over a period of approximately 3 1/2 million years, however, it has been .98 million years since the last eruption. Despite this the Island is still volcanically active as evidenced at Bath Spring and several near shore underwater sites.

 Archaeological excavations reveal that the first inhabitants came to Nevis about 4,000 years ago. These people relied heavily on the sea and traveled between islands in boats crafted from huge trees. The Museum features artifacts left from these first indigenous people who were followed by civilizations of people who left a series of ceramic styles.

 Some issues of conservation concern have been incorporated into the exhibitions at the Museum of Nevis History. These are soil and forest conservation, conservation of the wetlands and sea. Wetland areas at Gallows Bay, Pinneys Pond, Nelson Spring and Newcastle Bay play an important role in protecting land and sea. Coastal wetlands protect land from swells and absorb silt and other pollutants that damage the sea; properly managed they can be tourist attractions. The sea regulates land temperature, provides recreation and seafood as well as an avenue for transportation. Now, the sea is endangered from human activities.

 The political history of Nevis is featured in exhibitions titled: Flags Over Nevis, Associated Statehood, Independence and Party in Power. The Cultural Aspects of the Island are shown in Cooking and Home Craft, Our Architectural Heritage, Leisure Time, Churches and Other Religious Bodies, and Schools.

 We have only scant accounts of the contact between the earliest people and the English who settled Nevis in 1628. The settlement was preceded by visits from Christopher Columbus, other Spaniards, the Dutch and a well documented visit , in 1607 by the colonists on their way to found the Virginia colony (Jamestown, Virginia, USA), the first overseas English colony.

 The first Europeans raised subsistence crops and cash produce, which consisted of tobacco, ginger, cotton and indigo (for blue dye). However, the island was quickly transformed into a plantocracy when sugar was introduced in the 1640's. Raising sugar is very labour intensive, therefore, this need was supplied by African slaves which is responsible for the present demographic and cultural formation of the island. For a considerable time in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, exports from Nevis surpassed those from the colony of New York, thus gaining the island the distinction "Nevis-Queen of the Caribees." Although, Nevis continued to produce sugar commercially until the mid-1970's, after the turn of the 18th century it was soon evident that the stony soil did not make for sustained sugar production. Early in the 20th century, Great Britain encouraged putting extensive acreage in cotton, however, cotton raising diminishes each year. Livestock raising has been important and Nevis has supplied beef, pork and mutton for the regional export market. Fishing still supplies part of the seafood demand for Nevis and provide some export income.

The Museum is housed in a Caribbean Georgian building that was built on the foundation of the structure where Alexander Hamilton was born in 1757 (or 1755). His parents, mother Rachel Fawcett Lavien, daughter of a Nevisian doctor descended from French Huegonots and James Hamilton, 4th son of a Scottish Duke, were never married, however, theirs was a liaison that lasted about 15 years. Alexander was the second son of the relationship (his older brother was named for his father). Hamilton, naturally bright and enterprising, migrated to the North American colonies for education, became caught up in the American Revolution, was selected George Washington's chief military aide. He published many articles supporting the Constitutional Convention which established the United States of America. Washington appointed him Secretary of the Treasury and he worked tenaciously researching and writing the new nations's monetary policy. Then he set about raising funds to pay off the Revolutionary War debts and fund the administration. Hamilton was the President's most prominent cabinet member and was relied by Washington in many realms. Unfortunately, his principles regarding the country incurred the wrath of Aaron Burr and the two engaged in a duel which was fatal to Hamilton.

Our gift shop has Nevis Literature and Memorabilia for sale.

Visit PBS Online for more on this famous duel and much more.
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Museum Hours

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturdays 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Non-nationals, EC$13.00 US$5.00
Children $5.00 $2.00

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