by Dr. Clifton L. Holland

(last revised on June 12, 2003)

Historical Overview:

Discovery by Christopher Columbus on several voyages to the New World:                      1492-1500

Spanish occupation and first Roman Catholic missionaries arrive in Guadalupe:                        1523

French take control of Guadalupe and other smaller islands:                                                 1630s

British take control (except for the French-controlled islands), Treaty of Versailles:                   1793

British colonize Anguilla, St. Kitts-Nevis and the Virgin Islands:                                               1816

Slavery abolished:                                                                                                               1838

Separation of the Virgin Islands:                                                                                           1871

Antigua achieves self-government:                                                                                        1966

Separation of St. Kitts from Anguilla:                                                                                     1980


Indicates European society*

Significant Protestant Beginnings or Events in the following islands:  Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe (also Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre and Marie-Galante), Montserrat, St. Kitts, St. Christopher and Nevis.

     1623       -    First British settlement in the Caribbean on St. Kitts, led by Thomas Walker; also occupied Nevis Island in 1628.


     1634       -    *Anglican chaplains arrive with British occupation; the Church of England becomes the Established Church after the first Anglican priest arrived in Antigua; after 1824, Antigua became part of the Bishopric of Barbados; the Bishopric of Antigua was established in 1842 with responsibility for church matters in Antigua, Aruba, Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, Nevis, Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatuis, St. Martin and St. Kitts; this area is now part of the Church in the Province of the West Indies.


     1635       -    *French Huguenot colonists settle on Guadalupe and Martinique; this was the basis for the development of the Reformed Church of the Antilles – Eglise Evangélique de la Guadeloupe.


     1756       -    *The Moravian Church in Antigua; entered St. Kitts in 1777; now part of the East Indies Province of the Moravian Church.


     1760       -    *Wesleyan Methodist layman Nathaniel Gilbert, a plantation owner who was converted in England through the teaching of John Wesley, returned to Antigua in 1760 and became a lay preacher.


     1787       -    *The Wesleyan Methodist Church began work in Antigua and St. Kitts, as an extension of its ministry in Jamaica, under the authority of Bishop Dr. Thomas Coke; other islands were also visited; work in Anguilla began in 1813 and in Montserrat in 1820; in 1968, these islands became part of the Conference of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas.


     1850       -    Roman Catholic Church establishes a parish on Anguilla, and in 1861 in St. Kitts-Nevis.


     1904       -    The Salvation Army in Antigua.


     1910       -    Canadian Pentecostals arrive on Montserrat and build a thriving work, still related to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.


     1943       -    Church of God World Missions (Cleveland, TN): St. Kitts in 1943, Guadeloupe in 1946 and Antigua in 1954.     


     1944       -    Seventh-day Adventists:  Antigua and Anguilla; entered Guadalupe in 1965; later in St. Kitts-Nevis.


     1946       -    Church of God (Anderson, IN):  in St. Kitts and Nevis in 1946.


     1947       -    World Team (formerly, West Indies Mission) in Guadalupe


     1950       -    Independent Faith Mission in Antigua.


     1964       -    Southern Baptist Convention:  in Guadeloupe, Antigua and St. Kitts.


     1968       -    Baptist International Missions in Anguilla; Antigua in 1975; St. Christopher-Nevis in 1994.


     1996       -    Habitat for Humanity International



Date of Origin Unknown:


-       Antioch Baptist Church


-       Assemblies of the First Born


-       Brethren Assemblies or Christian Brethren (Plymouth Brethren)


-       Church of God of Prophecy


-       Christian Church and Churches of Christ


-       Evangelical Faith Mission


-       Pentecostal churches in France have sent missionaries to several islands, including Guadalupe.


-       Pilgrim Holiness (now part of The Wesleyan Church)




(1)       Dates listed indicate the earliest recorded ministry or in case of discrepancies, the date most frequently indicated.


(2)       North American Agencies include U.S. and Canadian.


(1) Daryl L. Platt, "Who Represents the Evangelical Churches in Latin America? A Study of the Evangelical Fellowship Organizations." Pasadena, CA: an unpublished Doctor of Missiology Dissertation, School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary, June 1991. Used by permission of the author.

(2) PROLADES (Latin American Socio-religious Studies Program), international headquarters in San José, Costa Rica: www.prolades.com, prolades@racsa.co.cr

            (3) John A. Siewert and Edna G. Valdez, editors: Mission Handbook of U.S. and Canadian Christian Ministries Overseas (MARC 1997).

(4) Jean-Jacques Bauswein and Lukas Vischer, The Reformed Family Worldwide (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999).

(5) Clifton L. Holland, editor, World Christianity:  Central America and the Caribbean (MARC-World Vision International, 1981)

(6) J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann, editors, Religions of the World (ABC-Clio Publishers, 2002)