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Nevis is a small island in the Caribbean Sea that forms part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies with an area of 36 square miles. Its capital is Charlestown, and the population is estimated to be around 12,000, with the majority of its citizen of primarily African descent. The official language is English, and the literacy rate, at 98 percent, is one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere. Nevis is roughly conical in shape with a volcano known as Nevis Peak at its center. The gently-sloping coastal plain has natural freshwater springs as well as volcanic hot springs.