800 feet above sea level, stands a massive fortress.
Historically, it commands outstanding views of the
Caribbean, including Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, St. Martin,
and St. Bart. Brimstone Hill sprawls over 38 acres.
Defended by seven-foot-thick walls of black volcanic
stone, there is where you get the name "Brimstone." In
1782 Brimstone Hill had been under continuous construction
for almost nine decades. (Slave labor was used) In
February of 1782, a French fleet of nearly 50 ships
appeared on the horizon off St. Kitts and Nevis. Headed by
Admiral Count Francois de Grasse, whose flagship was the
huge 130-gun Vill de Paris, the fleet had been dispatched
to force the British from the rich sugar colonies of St.
Kitts & Nevis. That meant to dislodge the British from
Brimstone Hill, otherwise know as the "Gibraltar of the
8,000 French siege forces, supported by de Grasse's,
calmly set to their task. After a month of continuous
bombardment, and despite staunch resistance by Brimstone's
1,000 British troops, the French succeeded finally in
punching 40-foot holes in the thick walls. Knowing their
situation finally to be without hope, the British
surrendered. The French siege commander, the Marquis de
Bouille, paid tribute to their heroic defense by allowing
the British garrison to leave Brimstone Hill as an
undefeated force, in full uniform and with standards held
aloft. One year later, when the treaty of Versailles
returned St. Kitts to British rule, the same honor was
accorded to the French garrison.