One of the oldest towns in the Eastern Caribbean Ocean, Basseterre is the capital city of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The area was home to the pre-Columbian Native American tribes, and the first of these likely arrived as early as 2000 years before the discovery of the New World by the Europeans. The first settlers died out by 100 BC, but the island was settled later by the Saladoid people around 100 BC, followed by the Igneri tribe, and around 1300 AD the Carib tribes began to arrive on the island. The Carib had been slowly conquering the islands of the Eastern Caribbean when the Europeans arrived.

St. Kitts was one of a number of Caribbean islands that passed from French to English control and back again; the city of Basseterre was first founded by French setters in 1627. It was the French capital city for the colony of St. Christope, which consisted of the northern part of the island of St. Kitts. It later became the capital of the entire French West Indies, including the colonial islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. In 1713 the British wrestled control of the island from the French, and Basseterre became capital of St. Kitts. The island was the scene of several later battles between the British and French, and the last of these occurred during the American Revolution.

During these numerous exchanges of control the city suffered greatly, yet it has remained a picturesque island town to this day. The islands of St. Kitts and Nevis were part of the failed West Indies Federation from 1958 until 1962. The islands became fully independent with Basseterre as its capital city in 1983.