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Basseterre, estimated population 15,500 (1990), is the capital of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies. It is located on Saint Kitts Island, and it is one of the chief commercial depots of the Leeward Islands. Sugar refining is the leading industry. Basseterre was founded by the French in 1627. Its position as a significant trading port was developed by De Poincy during his period as French Governor of St Kitts (1639 - 1660). De Poincy refused to subordiante himself to the French king, and may have regarded his position as Bailiff Grand Cross of the Knights of St John as demanding more loyalty than was due the king.