In the early 17th century, an English captain, Thomas Warner, set sail with a crew to found a colony on the Guiana coast. His colony proved a failure as his crew was ravaged by disease, unfamiliar weather conditions, and Carib raids. A friend of Warner's then suggested that he should instead try to colonise one of the islands in the Lesser Antilles because of their favourable conditions. In 1623 Warner abandoned his Guiana post and set sail North through the archipelago. After checking each island, Warner decided that Saint Kitts would prove to be the best-suited site for an English colony, because of its strategic central position ideal for expansion, friendly native population, fertile soil, abundant fresh water, and large salt deposits. He and his family landed on the island and made peace with the local Kalinago peoples, whose leader was Ouboutou Tegremante. Warner then left his family behind and returned to England to gather more men to officially establish a colony. In 1624, he returned and established the colony of Saint Christopher, the first English colony in the Caribbean. They established a port town at Old Road, downhill from Tegremante's capital village.
In 1625, a French captain, Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc, arrived on the island. He had left France hoping to establish an island colony after hearing about the success of the English on Saint Kitts, but his fleet was destroyed in a clash with the Spanish Armada, leaving him with only his flagship. Warner took pity on the French settlers and allowed them to settle on the island as well, thus making Saint Kitts the site of the first permanent French colony in the Caribbean as well. French settlers lodged themselves in the ruins of the town of Dieppe, which they rebuilt. Warner also willingly accepted the French in an attempt to out-populate the local Kalinago, of whom he was growing suspicious.