Basseterre was founded in 1627 by the French, under Sieur Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc. It served as the capital of the French colony of Saint-Christophe, which consisted of the northern and southern extremities of the island of St. Kitts (the centre was yielded to Britain). When Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy was made the French governor of St. Kitts in 1639, the town turned into a large, successful port, commanding Eastern Caribbean trade and colonisation.
The city of Basseterre has established itself as a financial centre in the Eastern Caribbean. It is home to the headquarters of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, as well as the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange, which lists securities for companies and corporations in the region. The city is also headquarters for the St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, the largest bank in the Eastern Caribbean, in terms of assets.
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