On the northwest corner of St Kitts there is a hill near the water that is very steep and imposing. In fact, it is so imposing that the French who controlled both ends of the island in the late 1600’s built a Fort Charles on the coast within a mile of the hill, but never considered the idea of using the hill itself. Well in 1690 the British, who controlled the middle of St Kitts, hauled cannons up the hill and fired down on Fort Charles before they captured it.
From that moment until the hill was abandoned in 1853, Brimstone Hill Fortress became known as the “Gibraltar of the West Indies” and is now a World Heritage Site. It was so well defendable that in 1782 it took 8000 French soldiers over a month to force the less than 1000 British soldier to surrender and when they did the French gave them full honors of war for their efforts.
I must admit Melek and I knew nothing of this fortress when we arrived, but we ended up spending over four hours touring the different bastions as we walked to the top where the citadel sits. We were both very impressed and happy we walked instead of drove or took a taxi, because our favorite part was the walk from the Ordnance Bastion up to the Artillery Officer quarters.
Other things I found interesting are:
-The name Brimstone comes from the sulfur smell the hot springs around the area put out.
-The size of the lime kiln at the base of hill that was used to help make the mortar.
-A catchment and cistern at the entrance.
-The HUGE green cistern with a football field size catchment and three rooms used to store water in.
-The great views of St Kitts, surrounding islands, Fort Charles, and the shipyard we had the boat in.