|ANGUILLA COAT OF ARMS|
Location of Anguilla within the Geographic Region of Central America and the Caribbean
Map of Anguilla
Flag Description of Anguilla: blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Anguillan coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms depicts three orange dolphins in an interlocking circular design on a white background with a turquoise-blue field below; the white in the background represents peace; the blue base symbolizes the surrounding sea, as well as faith, youth, and hope; the three dolphins stand for endurance, unity, and strength
Background of Anguilla
Anguilla has few natural resources, and the economy depends heavily on luxury tourism, offshore banking, lobster fishing, and remittances from emigrants.
Anguilla, island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, a British overseas territory. It is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles and lies about 12 miles (19 km) north of the island of Saint Martin and 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Saint Kitts. The Valley is the principal town and the administrative centre of the island. Noted for its easygoing atmosphere and magnificent beaches and waters, Anguilla is a popular tourist destination. Area 35 square miles (91 square km). Pop. (2006 est.) 14,254.
- Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the northeastern Caribbean, first settled by Amerindian tribes who migrated here from South America.
The earliest Amerindian artifacts found on Anguilla have been dated to around 1300 BC, and remains of some settlements here date from 600 AD. Its actual discovery by Europeans is in dispute to this day; some say Columbus sighted it in 1493, while others claim the French first arrived in 1564.
Most seem to agree that Christopher Columbus named it for its eel-like shape: Anguilla means "eel" in Spanish. No attempt was made to colonize it, probably because it was controlled by the notoriously fierce, warlike Caribs.
Those Caribs, a tribe of cannibals, had captured the island from the peaceful Arawak tribe and had completely eradicated them, not only from Anguilla but also from the entire Caribbean.
Regardless, in 1650, English settlers from Saint Kitts arrived and colonized the island. The remaining Caribs and French forces tried to control it, but in the end, the English remained in charge.
It is likely that some of the early Europeans brought enslaved Africans with them, but when compared to other Caribbean islands, their numbers remained small.
During the early colonial period, Anguilla was administered by the British through Antigua, but in 1824 it was placed under the administrative control of nearby Saint Kitts.
In 1967, Britain granted Saint Kitts and Nevis full internal autonomy, and Anguilla was also incorporated into the new unified dependency, named Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, against the wishes of many Anguillians.
This led to two rebellions in 1967 and 1969 (Anguillian Revolution), headed by Ronald Webster, and a brief period as a self-declared independent republic. British authority was fully restored in July, 1971.
In 1980 Anguilla was finally allowed to secede from Saint Kitts and Nevis and become a separate British colony (now termed a British overseas territory).
Anguilla is known as a quiet, peaceful island, with miles and miles of white sand beaches, all ringed by crystal clear waters.
Tourism is the major industry, and visitors (many coming to scuba dive), arrive by air, while some take one of the convenient ferries linking Anguilla with Marigot, St. Martin.
Geography of Anguilla
Anguilla is bare and flat and is fringed by white sand beaches. It is 16 miles (26 km) long and a maximum of 3.5 miles (6 km) wide; its long thin shape gave the island its name (French: anguille, “eel”). The territory includes several small uninhabited offshore islands, the largest of which are Dog, Scrub, and Sombrero islands and the Prickly Pear Cays.
Anguilla was formed from coral and limestone. The land is fairly flat but undulating. The highest point, Crocus Hill, has an elevation of 210 feet (64 metres). The northern coast is characterized by short slopes and steep cliffs; the southern coast has a longer and more gradual slope that drops gently to the sea. The soil layer is thin, but there are small pockets of red loam, mainly in the shallow valleys that are called bottoms. As with most coral islands, fresh water is scarce. The island has no rivers, but there are several surface saltwater ponds, mostly near the coasts, that supplied Anguilla’s salt industry until its collapse in the 1980s.
The climate is tropical; the average temperature is in the low 80s °F (about 28 °C), and rainfall averages about 35 inches (900 mm) per year. Hurricanes can occur from June to November and occasionally are highly destructive, such as those of 1995 and 1999. The storms have greatly contributed to the erosion of the island’s beaches. Significant erosion is also caused by indiscriminate sand mining, which has resulted in the disappearance of some beaches. The island’s vegetation consists primarily of small trees and low scrub inland and sea grape along the coasts. There are some plantations of fruit trees. Wildlife on Anguilla includes land reptiles, sea turtles, lobsters, and goats, the latter of which are ubiquitous. There are many bird species, including the national bird, the turtledove; the island is also a popular stop for migratory birds.
People of Anguilla
The majority of the population of Anguilla is of African descent. English is the official language. Most of the population is Christian, and the main religious denominations are Anglican and Methodist. The island has experienced steady population growth, and Anguillans live relatively long lives.
Economy of Anguilla
Agriculture is of minor importance; only a small fraction of the land is under cultivation. The main economic activities revolve around tourism and financial services. The steady increase in tourism has bolstered the construction industries and stimulated the improvement of transport facilities. Anguilla has a small number of labour unions. Since the 1980s offshore banking has become increasingly important but also led to allegations that the island’s banks were being used for money laundering; in 2000 the government began introducing legislation to combat the problem.
Fishing is the traditional livelihood, and both deepwater fishing and aquaculture have expanded. Other traditional industries, especially shipbuilding and the raising of livestock, also continue. Anguilla imports almost all of its food supplies and other consumer items. The export of fish and lobster is an important source of foreign exchange, as are remittances from émigrés working abroad. To further its economic growth, Anguilla became an associate member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market in 1999.
The island’s central bank is the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which is also the bank of issue for several other Caribbean islands; Anguilla’s official currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, although the U.S. dollar is also readily accepted. The island’s main trading partners are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico. There is no sales or income tax in Anguilla. Instead, the government relies on import duties, taxes on services, corporate registrations, and various licensing fees. The distribution of incomes is fairly equal, and there are few signs of extreme poverty and no discernible slum areas.
Many people own cars, and Anguilla has no bus service, unlike other Caribbean islands, where buses are an integral part of the transportation system. Frequent ferry service takes travelers to and from Marigot, Saint Martin. Wallblake Airport, near The Valley, provides connections to international airports on other islands in the region.
Government and society of Anguilla
Executive power is in the hands of a governor appointed by the British monarch. The governor is in charge of external affairs, defense, internal security (including police), and public services. The governor presides over the Executive Council, which comprises a chief minister, other ministers, and ex officio members. The unicameral House of Assembly has 11 seats plus a speaker; seven members are directly elected by universal adult suffrage to five-year terms, two are appointed by the governor after consultation with the chief minister and leader of the opposition, and two are ex officio. Voting is open to individuals age 18 and older. The highest judicial body in Anguilla is the High Court; its judge is provided by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Final appeals are heard by the Privy Council in Britain. The island has no military; the United Kingdom is responsible for Anguilla’s defense.
Education is free and compulsory between ages 5 and 17. Both primary and secondary education are provided in government-run schools. Degree programs through distance learning are offered by the University of the West Indies, but further higher education must be pursued at one of the university’s campuses elsewhere in the Caribbean or at overseas institutions, mainly in the United States or the United Kingdom. The Anguilla government provides some students with full scholarships or other financial assistance. More than nine-tenths of the population is literate. Health conditions are generally good, but health services on the island are limited. There is a small hospital on Anguilla as well as several district clinics; specialist care, however, must be sought from larger islands nearby.
Cultural life of Anguilla
The evolution of Anguilla’s society was, as elsewhere in the Caribbean, a legacy of plantation sugar and slavery, although conditions in Anguilla were somewhat anomalous for the region. The island’s thin soil and inadequate rainfall adversely affected the quantity and quality of its sugar crop; these factors made production less profitable than on other Caribbean islands, where large areas of fertile soil and adequate rainfall created lucrative sugar plantations that evolved into societies with a large labouring class. On those islands, after emancipation was declared in the British and French colonies in the first half of the 19th century, the plantation remained the dominant economic and social institution. Most of the ex-slaves were left landless and dependent on wage labour for a large portion of their incomes. On Anguilla, however, once the slaves were emancipated, the European-descended planters migrated elsewhere, and their lands were either taken over or bought by the ex-slaves. Thereafter, Anguilla evolved into a society of small farmers, sailors, and fishermen with much personal independence.
Anguilla’s smallness, in terms of both its geographical area and population, contributed to the creation of a close-knit society. Indeed, Anguillans are renowned for their habit of greeting other people, whether they know them or not, either verbally or by at least raising a hand in salutation.
Daily life and social customs
The day-to-day life of Anguilla’s people is similar to that of North Americans. Presumably this is a consequence of the island’s close proximity to the United States (and its Caribbean territories) and of the heavy dependence of the Anguillan economy on U.S. tourists. The impact of the United States’s cultural influence is reinforced by the prevalence of American music, television, and other media. Computer use is relatively widespread in businesses, schools, and homes. A significant number of people are computer literate and have access to Internet services. Cellular phones are popular among the young and middle-aged.
Family ties in Anguilla tend to be strong. Even though the nuclear family is dominant, single-parent families are common, generally headed by a mother and, on average, comprising two or three children. As mothers have become more economically active during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, their younger children have been either left under the care of older siblings or, in the case of wealthier mothers, placed in day-care centres. The extended role of mothers has changed the pattern and significance of traditional family meals. Dining arrangements are scattered. The main meal, consisting of some form of meat, along with peas and rice (a staple dish) and vegetables, is usually cooked early in the morning, and family members eat when it is convenient.
The island’s cultural showpiece is the annual Summer Festival, or Carnival, which takes place in late July–early August. Its main events include beauty pageants, a Calypso Monarch competition, musical performances, and a Parade of Troupes, in which costumed teams of dancers perform in the streets. The Summer Festival is a cultural potpourri highlighting the art, artistry, innovation, and imagination of the people. Holidays that involve notable public festivities include Anguilla Day (May 30, commemorating the high point of the 1967 revolution in which Anguilla severed its constitutional ties with Saint Kitts), August Monday (the first Monday in August, celebrated as a holiday marking the emancipation of the slaves in the former British Caribbean), August Thursday (the traditional boat-racing holiday following August Monday), and Boxing Day.
Sports and recreation
Anguilla’s national sport is boat racing, which had its beginning in the late 1800s and in the early days of the 20th century when fishermen raced their boats on the return journey from the day’s trip. These fishing boats were the immediate forerunners of those now built specifically for racing, which became an organized sport in the 1930s. Boat races draw large crowds and are held mainly on public holidays. They are significant and colourful cultural events at which people meet friends, make merry to the beat of popular calypso music, eat barbecue, and sample the strong drinks of the Caribbean. Other sports and games in which Anguillans engage are cricket (a legacy from the early colonial days), football (soccer), volleyball, draughts, and dominoes. Lawn tennis is also popular.
History of Anguilla
Long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean, Anguilla had been settled by Arawakan-speaking Indians who called it Malliouhana. They were originally from the Orinoco River basin of South America and arrived on the island about 2000 bce.
Anguilla was colonized in 1650 by British settlers from Saint Kitts and thereafter remained a British territory, administered as part of the Leeward Islands colony. The British did not encounter any Arawaks on the island, but in 1656 a raid by Indians from one of the neighbouring islands wiped out their settlement. The early years were difficult for the colonists. In 1666 a French expedition attacked the island, and in 1688 a joint Irish-French attack forced most of the colonists to seek refuge on Antigua.
During the latter part of the 17th century, the poor yield from tobacco (the island’s principal cash crop) and from cotton created economic hardship. However, in response to the increasing demand for sugar in Europe, the settlers began producing sugarcane, using enslaved Africans, in the early 18th century. Sugar, which yielded better returns than tobacco or cotton, transformed an economy made up primarily of European small farmers into one in which the labouring class was composed mostly of African slaves working on sugar estates.
Anguilla’s economic and social development was frequently disrupted by European political conflicts that spilled over into the Caribbean. The French attacked the island in 1745 but were repelled by the local militia. They attacked again in 1796, causing much destruction, but were eventually forced to withdraw with great loss.
Conditions in Anguilla were influenced not only by European conflicts but also by political expediency. The British government thought it convenient to have Saint Kitts make laws for Anguilla and therefore created a legislative union between them (1825), although the Anguillan freeholders who owned the sugar estates protested strongly. Anguilla was ruled directly from Saint Kitts. Britain ended slavery in the colonies in 1834, and over the next few years many of the plantation owners sold their land to former slaves and returned to the United Kingdom. The lack of any meaningful economic development on the island heightened Anguillan discontent with the union. In 1872 the islanders petitioned the British government to dissolve the union and administer the island directly from Britain. The petition was ignored, and in 1882 a British Federal Act united Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla as a constituent part of the Leeward Islands Federation.
During the early 1890s, Anguillans endured much suffering when prolonged droughts led to severe famine. Such conditions and the Great Depression of the 1920s and ’30s—which affected the entire Caribbean but hit poverty-stricken Anguilla particularly hard—caused many Anguillan workers to migrate to the Dominican Republic to work in the sugarcane fields. Others found work in Aruba and Curaçao.
A series of labour disturbances throughout the British West Indies in the 1930s spurred the creation of a royal commission (popularly known as the Moyne Commission) to examine social and economic conditions in the islands. The commission advocated political and social reforms, and its findings hastened the democratization of the political process. Anguilla was granted universal adult suffrage in 1952. Further changes occurred in 1956—with the dissolution of the Leeward Islands Federation and the designation of Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla as a crown colony—and in 1958, when the three islands formed a single political unit within the West Indies Federation. After the federation’s collapse in 1962, the British government attempted a federation of the smaller territories; when that, too, failed, most of the islands were granted new constitutions that provided for statehood in association with Britain. In 1967 Anguilla became part of an associated state with Saint Kitts and Nevis, again contrary to the wishes of Anguilla, which ejected the Saint Kitts police, set up its own government, and proclaimed an independent republic.
Negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict failed, and British troops intervened in March 1969. British rule was restored and a temporary commissioner was installed. Subsequently, the Anguilla Act of July 1971 placed the island directly under British control. A new constitution in 1976 gave the island a ministerial system of government and provided a larger measure of internal autonomy under the Crown. In 1980 Anguilla formally became a dependent territory (from 2002, overseas territory) of the United Kingdom, and a new constitution became effective in 1982; it was amended in 1990. Anguilla has developed into a stable parliamentary democracy with a growing economy, a consequence of massive injections of foreign capital, mainly from the United States, during the early years of the 21st century.
History and Ethnic Relations
Emergence of the Nation. Anguilla was first inhabited several thousand years ago and at various times by some of the Carib peoples who arrived from South America. One of these groups, the Arawaks, settled in Anguilla more or less permanently in about 2000 B.C.E. The first Europeans to arrive on the island were the English, who had first colonized Saint Kitts, and then Anguilla in 1650. By this time the Arawaks had vanished, probably wiped out by disease, pirates, and European explorers. However, in 1656 the English in turn were massacred by a group of Caribs, famous for their skill as warriors and farmers. The English eventually returned and attempted to cultivate the land but Anguilla's dry climate prevented its farms from ever becoming profitable.
For the next 150 years, until about 1800, Anguilla, like other Caribbean islands, was caught in
the power struggle between the English and the French, both nations seeking to gain control of the area and its highly profitable trade routes and cash crops. Anguilla was attacked by a group of Irish colonists in 1688, many of whom remained to live peacefully with the other islanders. Their surnames are still evident today. The French also attacked Anguilla, first in 1745 and again in 1796, but were unsuccessful both times. During the 1600s most Anguillans survived by working small plots of land, fishing, and cutting wood for export. Indentured European servants provided most of the labor. However, by the early 1700s, the slave-plantation system was gradually beginning to become the dominant economic system in the eastern Caribbean. The growth of the slave trade was directly tied to the cultivation of sugarcane, which was introduced to the West Indies in the late 1600s from the Mediterranean. It quickly became the most valuable cash crop. Harvesting and processing sugarcane was labor-intensive and required a large workforce. Plantation owners soon discovered that it was more profitable to use slaves, forcibly brought from Africa, rather than indentured servants, to work the sugar plantations. Although Anguilla was never a major sugar producer, its proximity to other West Indian islands caused it to be greatly influenced by the plantation system and the slave trade. As the slave system continued to grow throughout the 1700s, Anguilla's population of people of African descent grew.
In 1824 the government of Great Britain created a new administrative plan for their territories in the Caribbean, which placed Anguilla under the administrative authority of Saint Kitts. After more than a century of independence, Anguillans resented this change and believed that the government of Saint Kitts had little interest in their affairs or in helping them. The conflict between Saint Kitts and Anguilla would not be resolved until the twentieth century. A significant change in Anguilla's social and economic structure occurred when England's Emancipation Act of 1833 officially abolished the slave trade in its Caribbean colonies. By 1838, most of the landowners had returned to Europe; many of them sold their land to former slaves. Anguilla survived for the next century on a subsistence agricultural system, with very little change from the mid-1800s until the 1960s.
Anguillans made frequent requests for direct rule from Great Britain throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but continued to remain under the authority of Saint Kitts. In 1967 Anguillans rebelled, disarming and capturing all of Saint Kitts's government officials stationed in Anguilla. Anguillans later even invaded Saint Kitts, and finally, in 1969, the British government intervened, sending in four hundred troops. The British military were openly welcomed by Anguillans and in July 1971 the Anguilla Act was passed, officially placing the island under direct British control. It was not until 19 December 1980 that the island was formally separated from Saint Kitts.
Anguilla's position as first a colony, and then a dependent of another British territory, has prevented it from developing as an independent nation like other larger, Caribbean islands. Since 1980 Anguilla has prospered as a separate dependent territory. With an overall increase in economic prosperity and the end of conflict with Saint Kitts, Anguillans are today optimistic about their future.
National Identity. Anguillans are proud of their independence and unique identity as one of the smallest inhabited Caribbean islands. They identify culturally with both Great Britain and the West Indies. Industrious and resourceful, Anguillans are known for working together to help each other through hurricanes, drought, and other problems. Great differences in wealth do not exist; consequently there is a general sense of unity among Anguillans of all backgrounds.
Ethnic Relations. Problems of ethnic, racial, and social class conflict have always been minimal in Anguilla. The island's small size and lack of fertile
A traditional cottage in Lower Valley. To take advantage of the island's temperate climate, Anguillan buildings often feature balconies or terraces. A traditional cottage in Lower Valley. To take advantage of the island's temperate climate, Anguillan buildings often feature balconies or terraces. soil prevented the plantation system, which had long-lasting negative effects on many Caribbean societies, from developing. Most Anguillans are of mixed West African, Irish, English, or Welsh heritage. The small Caucasian minority is well integrated with the ethnic
"Where is Anguilla located?"
... This is the question I get asked the most when talking to "non-Caribbeaners" (and sometimes even frequent visitors to the Caribbean!).
The first two guesses are...
Angola? and Antigua?
There was a time when we thought Anguilla was on the West coast of Africa too! ;-)
Here is the answer to the famous "where is Anguilla?" question...
To begin, Anguilla is in the Caribbean (the best Caribbean island!)...>>>read on<<<
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Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.