St. Kitts Brimstone Hill

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Brimstone Hill

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 West Indies"

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.

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