Country profile: Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua & Barbuda are islands found in the north-eastern corner of the Caribbean, between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, situated to the east of Puerto-Rico. Antigua is the bigger of the two with it’s little sister Barbuda lying about 25miles north, giving a home to only 2% of their combined population. They are a prosperous set of islands due to a booming tourist and off-shore finance trade.
Antigua has its highest point in the south-west and is known as Boggy-Peak, the remainder of the island is mainly large plains and scrub lands, with the real beauty lying in the bays and hundreds of beaches around its shore. Also within the countries boundaries is the tiny uninhabited islet of Redonda situated about 25 miles south-west. Barbuda is a lower lying coral island with its highest point only reaching 45m but its beaches are boasted to be even more beautiful, which has led it to become a home to very exclusive resorts.
The Siboney were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C. but Arawak Indians populated the islands when Colombus landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early settlements by the Spanish and French were succeeded by the English who formed a colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. Then in 1967, after more than 300 years of colonial rule, a measure of self-government was achieved as an Associated State of the UK until the islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.
Today both islands have retained their traditional West Indian culture, with a great reputation for steel bands, reggae and calypso music. The islands can offer some fantastic opportunities for water sports, in particular diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, sailing and game fishing.
|Population||83,000 (UN, 2009)|
|Language||English (Official) & Local dialects.|
|Currency||XCD (East Caribbean Dollar)|
|Life expectancy||M: 70 years F: 75 years|
|No. doctors||ca 12|