The hit 2015 Broadway play “Hamilton” revealed U.S. Revolutionary War leader and founding statesman Alexander Hamilton’s Caribbean roots to a new generation of Americans.
But the play never mentions Nevis (instead describing Hamilton as “born on a Caribbean island”). Yet Hamilton’s experiences in his birthplace produced profound influences that shaped his historic trajectory.
On July 22, the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society, in collaboration with the Nevis Historical & Conservation Society, will unveil “Alexander Hamilton as a Young Man,” a statue by sculptor Benjamin Victor, at the Museum of Nevis History.
Celebratory events highlighting the installation including historical talks, traditional Caribbean meals, themed cocktails and special island tours will be held across Nevis from July 18 to 23. Nevis’ deluxe hotels and local lodging options will offer visitor incentives and packages during the week.
Victor is the only living artist to have two works displayed in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol Building, according to Nevis Tourism Authority (NTA) officials.
His creation embodies events tied to Hamilton’s Nevis upbringing, which inspired the Caribbean native’s worldview and provided the impoverished youngster with the skills and background to provide indispensable service to his new nation during its founding days.
“Some find it hard to imagine that such an influential figure in American history hailed from our petite Caribbean paradise,” said Devon Liburd, NTA’s interim CEO.
“But I like to believe that his ascendancy to success from such humble beginnings directly mirrors the strength and resiliency of the Nevisian people,” he said.
Hamilton’s legacy remains ubiquitous on Nevis. Visitors can walk in Hamilton’s boyhood footsteps at his 1757 birthplace, the Hamilton House in Charlestown, the island’s easy-to-walk capital.
The two-story, Georgian-style stone building today houses the Museum of Nevis History. The building also serves as the official chambers of the Nevis House of Assembly.
Sites in or near Charlestown include historic churches, the city Harbor and the site of its former slave-trading block, and original buildings once used to house enslaved Africans, all of which existed during Hamilton’s youth on the island.
The future American leader endured a difficult early life, born out of wedlock to Rachel Faucette, a married woman of British and French Huguenot descent and James A. Hamilton, a Scotsman. Hamilton was orphaned when his mother died in 1768, leaving him penniless.
As the Broadway play and recorded history detail, Hamilton responded to his hardships with a determination and tenacity that ultimately brought him to the U.S., where he attended King’s College (now Columbia University) in New York in his late teens and began to forge his remarkable political career.