Antigua and Barbuda
|ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA COAT OF ARMS|
Location of Antigua and Barbuda within the Geographic Region of Central America and the Caribbean
Map of Antigua and Barbuda
Flag Description of Antigua and Barbuda: red, with an inverted isosceles triangle based on the top edge of the flag; the triangle contains three horizontal bands of black (top), light blue, and white, with a yellow rising sun in the black band; the sun symbolizes the dawn of a new era, black represents the African heritage of most of the population, blue is for hope, and red is for the dynamism of the people; the "V" stands for victory; the successive yellow, blue, and white coloring is also meant to evoke the country's tourist attractions of sun, sea, and sand
Official name Antigua and Barbuda
Form of government constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses (Senate ; House of Representatives )
Head of state British Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General: Rodney Williams
Head of government Prime Minister: Gaston Browne
Capital Saint John’s
Official language English
Official religion none
Monetary unit Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$)
Population (2013 est.) 88,400COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 171
Total area (sq km) 442
- Urban: (2010) 29.9%
- Rural: (2010) 70.1%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2012) 73.7 years
- Female: (2012) 77.8 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: not available
- Female: not available
GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 12,910
1Directly elected seats only; two additional seats are held by the attorney general, who serves as an ex officio member, and the speaker.
Background of Antigua
The Siboney were the first people to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak Indians populated the islands when COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early Spanish and French settlements were succeeded by an English colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.
Geography of Antigua
Antigua, the larger of the two main islands, is 108 sq mi (280 sq km). The island dependencies of Redonda (an uninhabited rocky islet) and Barbuda (a coral island formerly known as Dulcina) are 0.5 sq mi (1.30 sq km) and 62 sq mi (161 sq km), respectively.
Land of Antigua
Antigua’s coastline is intricate, with bays and headlands fringed with reefs and shoals; several inlets, including Parham and English Harbour, afford anchorage for shipping, and St. John’s has a deepwater harbour. The island has an area of 108 square miles (280 square km). It is mostly low and undulating, but in the west there are volcanic rocks that rise to 1,330 feet (405 metres) at Boggy Peak. An absence of mountains and forests distinguishes Antigua from the other Leeward Islands. Because there are no rivers and few springs, droughts occur despite a mean annual rainfall of some 40 inches (1,000 mm). The average January temperature is around 77 °F (25 °C); that of August, 82 °F (28 °C). Summer highs can reach 90 °F (32 °C).
Barbuda, formerly Dulcina, lies 25 miles (40 km) north of Antigua. A coral island, flat and well-wooded, with highlands rising to 143 feet (44 metres) at Mount Obama (formerly Lindsay Hill) in the northeast, it is 62 square miles (161 square km) in area. Barbuda is without streams or lakes and receives less rainfall than Antigua. Codrington, the only settlement, lies on a lagoon to the west. The climate is similar to that of Antigua.
Redonda, an uninhabited rock, lies 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Antigua. It rises sheer to a height of 1,000 feet (305 metres) and is 0.5 square mile (1.25 square km) in area. Phosphate deposits are located there.
Demography of Antigua
The majority of the population is of African descent. Most of Antigua’s inhabitants live in St. John’s. The language is English, and nearly three-fourths of the people are Protestant, one-third of whom are Anglican. There are also a number of Moravians, Methodists, and Roman Catholics.
Economy of Antigua
Agriculture, once the mainstay of the economy, has been largely supplanted by tourism. Sugar was long the dominant crop on Antigua, but its production is now insignificant. Barbuda was never involved in the sugar plantation system, its inhabitants always having been fishermen and subsistence farmers. Their traditional system of land tenure is threatened by tourism development. Fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, mangoes, and eggplants, are now cultivated on the islands. Manufacturing plays a small role in the economy; most activity involves processing agricultural products and making clothing and textiles and concrete blocks. An international airport is near St. John’s.
Government and Society of Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda is a constitutional monarchy. The British monarch is nominal head of state, represented by a governor-general. The constitution allows for a Senate and a House of Representatives. Executive power is vested in a Council of Ministers headed by the prime minister. Primary and postprimary education is compulsory.
History of Antigua
The island of Antigua was explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Seville. Antigua was colonized by Britain in 1632; Barbuda was first colonized in 1678. Antigua and Barbuda joined the West Indies Federation in 1958. With the breakup of the federation, it became one of the West Indies Associated States in 1967, self-governing its internal affairs. Full independence was granted Nov. 1, 1981.
The Bird family has controlled the islands since Vere C. Bird founded the Antigua Labor Party in the mid-1940s. While tourism and financial services have turned the country into one of the more prosperous in the Caribbean, law enforcement officials have charged that Antigua and Barbuda is a major center of money laundering, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling. Several scandals tainted the Bird family, especially the 1995 conviction of Prime Minister Lester Bird's brother, Ivor, for cocaine smuggling. In 2000, Antigua and 35 other offshore banking centers agreed to reforms to prevent money laundering.
- Antigua was visited in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, who named it for the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Sevilla (Seville), Spain. It was colonized by English settlers in 1632 and remained a British possession although it was raided by the French in 1666. The early colonizers were also attacked by Carib Indians, who were once one of the dominant peoples of the West Indies. At first tobacco was grown, but in the later 17th century sugar was found to be more profitable.
The nearby island of Barbuda was colonized in 1678. The crown granted the island to the Codrington family in 1685. It was planned as a slave-breeding colony but never became one; the slaves who were imported came to live self-reliantly in their own community.
The emancipation in 1834 of slaves, who had been employed on the profitable sugar estates, gave rise to difficulties in obtaining labour. An earthquake in 1843 and a hurricane in 1847 caused further economic problems. Barbuda reverted back to the crown in the late 19th century, and its administration came to be so closely related to that of Antigua that it eventually became a dependency of that island.
The Leeward Islands colony, of which the islands were a part, was defederated in 1956, and in 1958 Antigua joined the West Indies Federation. When the federation was dissolved in 1962, Antigua persevered with discussions of alternative forms of federation. Provision was made in the West Indies Act of 1967 for Antigua to assume a status of association with the United Kingdom on February 27, 1967. As an associated state, Antigua was fully self-governing in all internal affairs, while the United Kingdom retained responsibility for external affairs and defense.
By the 1970s Antigua had developed an independence movement, particularly under its prime minister George Walter, who wanted complete independence for the islands and opposed the British plan of independence within a federation of islands. Walter lost the 1976 elections to Vere Bird, who favoured regional integration. In 1978 Antigua reversed its position and announced it wanted independence. The autonomy talks were complicated by the fact that Barbuda, long a dependency of Antigua, felt that it had been economically stifled by the larger island and wanted to secede. Finally, on November 1, 1981, Antigua and Barbuda achieved independence, with Vere Bird as the first prime minister. The state obtained United Nations and Commonwealth membership and joined the Organization of East Caribbean States. Bird’s party won again in 1984 and 1989 by overwhelming margins, giving the prime minister firm control of the islands’ government.
Bird Dynasty Ends In March 2004, the Bird political dynasty came to an end when labor activist Baldwin Spencer defeated Lester Bird, who had been prime minister since 1994. In 2005, income tax, which had been eliminated in 1975, was reintroduced to help alleviate Antigua's deficit.
On July 17, 2007, Louise Lake-Tack became the first woman governor-general of Antigua and Barbuda. In June 2014, Gaston Browne led the Antigua Labour Party to victory in the general election. It was a return to power for the Antigua Labour Party after ten years as the opposition. The party won 14 of 17 seats. Brown was sworn in as prime minister on June 13. Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack left office in August 2014. Antigua Labour Party member Rodney Williams replaced her.
Redonda-Island, Antigua and Barbuda
Redonda, the smallest of the three islands that constitute the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Redonda is located among the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, approximately 35 miles (55 km) from the nearest point in Antigua, to the east. Redonda is a rugged, uninhabited rock, the remnant of a volcanic cone, 0.5 square mile (1.3 square km) in area and rising to nearly 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level, with steep cliffs on all sides. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to America, in 1493, and was named Santa Maria la Redonda by him. The first recorded landing on the island occurred in 1687. Phosphate was found in the bird guano that covered Redonda, and despite the island’s inaccessibility—the only anchorage is poor and almost unprotected against the prevailing wind and swell—mining operations began in the 1860s. Labourers from Montserrat, about 13 miles (21 km) distant, mined the phosphate, producing as much as 3,000 to 4,000 tons a year in the 1890s; production ceased after the outbreak of World War I. In 1869 Redonda was annexed to Antigua.
Antigua and Barbuda in 2004
Area: 442 sq km (171 sq mi)
Population (2004 est.): 68,300
Capital: Saint John’s
Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir James Carlisle
Head of government: Prime Minister Lester Bird and, from March 24, Baldwin Spencer
The Antigua Labour Party (ALP) was swept out of office in a historic general election in March 2004 and replaced by the United Progressive Party (UPP). Even ALP leader Lester Bird, whose family had ruled Antigua and Barbuda since independence in 1981, lost his seat, with the UPP grabbing 12 of the 17 electoral districts. ALP retained four, and the Barbuda seat went to the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM), which was sympathetic to the UPP. UPP leader Baldwin Spencer became the new prime minister and Robin Yearwood the new leader of the opposition.
Early good news for the new government was that Antigua and Barbuda had emerged triumphant in its dispute with the U.S. over an attempt by the U.S. to ban Internet gaming. The U.S. said it would appeal the ruling by the World Trade Organization but would, in the meantime, also try to resolve the matter through negotiations. The new government engaged a forensic accountant to investigate the alleged improper use of funds by the previous administration and halted the sale of Antigua and Barbuda passports to rich foreigners.
Prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda
Baldwin Spencer, in full Winston Baldwin Spencer (born Oct. 8, 1948, Green Bay, St. John’s, Antigua), Antiguan trade unionist and politician who became prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda in 2004. Spencer’s election marked the end of a dynasty in Antiguan politics; since the country’s independence in 1981, the office of prime minister had been held by a member of the Bird family, first Vern Bird (1981–94), founder of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP), and then his son Lester Bird (1994–2004).
After a childhood spent in Green Bay, Antigua, Spencer studied social leadership and community development at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada, labour relations and economics at the University of Oxford in England, and labour and industrial relations systems at Oslo University in Norway. His early career was devoted to labour relations. From 1973 he served as a leader of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union, and he was subsequently president of the Caribbean Maritime and Aviation Council.
In 1989 Spencer was elected to the Antiguan House of Representatives as a member of the United Progressive Party (UPP), eventually rising to the position of opposition leader. In parliamentary elections in March 2004, Spencer led the UPP to a decisive victory over the ALP government of Prime Minister Lester Bird, which had been plagued by allegations of corruption and nepotism. In 2005 Spencer overturned one of his predecessor’s key policies by restoring the personal income tax on individuals earning at least $3,000 (East Caribbean; about $1,110 [U.S.]) a month.
Island, Antigua and Barbuda
Redonda, Antigua and Barbuda [Credit: Invertzoo] the smallest of the three islands that constitute the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Redonda is located among the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, approximately 35 miles (55 km) from the nearest point in Antigua, to the east. Redonda is a rugged, uninhabited rock, the remnant of a volcanic cone, 0.5 square mile (1.3 square km) in area and rising to nearly 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level, with steep cliffs on all sides. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to America, in 1493, and was named Santa Maria la Redonda by him. The first recorded landing on the island occurred in 1687. Phosphate was found in the bird guano that covered Redonda, and despite the island’s inaccessibility—the only anchorage is poor and almost unprotected against the prevailing wind and swell—mining operations began in the 1860s. Labourers from Montserrat, about 13 miles (21 km) distant, mined the phosphate, producing as much as 3,000 to 4,000 tons a year in the 1890s; production ceased after the outbreak of World War I. In 1869 Redonda was annexed to Antigua.
Antigua and Barbuda Area: 442 sq km (171 sq mi) Population (2004 est.): 68,300 Capital: Saint John’s Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir James Carlisle Head ...>>>Read On<<<
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