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Antigua and Barbuda
Flag Coat of arms
MottoEach Endeavouring, All Achieving
AnthemFair Antigua and Barbuda
Royal anthemGod Save the Queen 1
Capital
(and largest city)
Saint John's
17°7′N 61°51′W / 17.117°N 61.85°W / 17.117; -61.85
Official language(s) English
Demonym Antiguan, Barbudan
Government Parliamentary democracy
under a federal constitutional monarchy
 -  Head of State Elizabeth II
 -  Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack
 -  Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer
Independence from the United Kingdom
 -  Date November 1, 1981 
Area
 -  Total 442 km2 (195th)
108 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
Population
 -  2009 estimate 85,632 (191st)
 -  Density 194/km2 (57)
793/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $1.627 billion[1] 
 -  Per capita $19,340[1] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $1.224 billion[1] 
 -  Per capita $14,556[1] 
HDI (2007) 0.868 (high) (47th)
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .ag
Calling code +1-268
1 God Save The Queen is the official national anthem but it is generally used only on regal and vice-regal occasions.

Antigua and Barbuda (Spanish for "ancient" and "bearded") is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua (pronounced /ænˈtiːɡə/) and Barbuda (/bɑrˈbjuːdə/), and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guinea, Long, Maiden and York Islands). Separated by a few sea miles, the group is in the middle of the Leeward Islands part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17 degrees north of the Equator. It could well be that Codrington Island is actually Barbuda Island; certainly, there is a town of Codrington on Barbuda.

Contents

History

Its prehistoric peoples had no written language; analyses of archaeological excavations were used to develop current knowledge of their existence.

Antigua was first settled by Archaic Age hunter-gatherer Amerindians, erroneously referred to as Siboney or Cibony. Carbon-dating has established that the earliest settlements started around 3100 BCE. They were succeeded by the Ceramic Age pre-Columbian Arawak-speaking Saladoid people who migrated from the lower Orinoco River.

The Arawaks introduced agriculture, raising, among other crops, the famous Antigua Black Pineapple (Moris cultivar of Ananas comosus), corn, sweet potatoes (white with firmer flesh than the bright orange "sweet potato" used in the United States), chiles, guava, tobacco and cotton.

The indigenous West Indians made excellent sea-going vessels which they used to sail the Atlantic and the Caribbean. As a result, Caribs and Arawaks were able to colonize much of South America and the Caribbean Islands. Their descendants still live there, notably in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia.

Most Arawaks left Antigua around 1100 CE; those who remained were later raided by the Caribs. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Caribs' superior weapons and seafaring prowess allowed them to defeat most of the West Indian Arawak nations, enslaving some and possibly cannibalizing others.

The Catholic Encyclopedia does make it clear that the European invaders had some difficulty differentiating between the native peoples they encountered. As a result, the number and types of ethnic/tribal groups in existence at that time may have been much more varied and numerous than just the two mentioned in this article.

According to A Brief History of the Caribbean (Jan Rogozinski, Penguin Putnam, Inc., September 2000), European and African diseases, malnutrition and slavery eventually killed most of the Caribbean's native population, although no researcher has conclusively proven any of these causes as the real reason for these deaths. In fact, some historians believe that the psychological stress of slavery may also have played a part in the massive number of deaths amongst enslaved natives. Others believe that the reportedly abundant, but starchy, low-protein diet may have contributed to severe malnutrition of the Amerindians, who were used to a diet fortified with protein from the sea.

The island of Antigua, originally called "Wa'ladli" by Arawaks, is today called "Land of Wadadli" by locals. It is possible that Caribs called it "Wa'omoni". Christopher Columbus, while sailing by in 1493, may have named it Santa Maria la Antigua after an icon in the Spanish Seville Cathedral. The Spaniards did not colonize Antigua because it lacked fresh water but not aggressive Caribs.

The English settled on Antigua in 1632; Sir Christopher Codrington settled on Barbuda in 1684. Slavery, established to run sugar plantations around 1684, was abolished in 1834. The British ruled from 1632 to 1981, with a brief French interlude in 1666.

The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on November 1, 1981, with Elizabeth II as the first Queen of Antigua and Barbuda. The Right Honourable Vere Cornwall Bird became the first Prime Minister.

Politics

The politics of Antigua and Barbuda take place within a framework of a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic monarchy, in which the Head of State is the Monarch who appoints the Governor General as vice-regal representative. Elizabeth II is the present Queen of Antigua and Barbuda, having served in that position since the islands' independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. The Queen is now (2007-2010) represented by Governor General Dane Louise Agnetha Lake-Tack (1944-) who became the first woman to hold this position. A Council of Ministers is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister, currently Winston Baldwin Spencer (1948-). The Prime Minister is the Head of Government.

Executive power is exercised by the government while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two Chambers of Parliament. The bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (seventeen members appointed by members of the government and the opposition party, and approved by the Governor-General), and the House of Representatives (seventeen members elected by first past the post (check this entry) to serve five-year terms). The Speaker of the House is author and former St. John's University professor (New York) D. Gisele Isaac (check), while the President of the Senate is educator Hazlyn Francis-Mason.

The last elections held were on March 12, 2009, during which the Antigua Labour Party won seven seats, the United Progressive Party nine and the Barbuda People's Movement one.

Since 1949, the party system had been dominated by the personalist Antigua Labour Party. However, the Antigua and Barbuda legislative election of 2004 saw the defeat of the longest-serving elected government in the Caribbean. Prime Minister Lester Bryant Bird (succeeded his father Vere Cornwall Bird) and Deputy Robin Yearwood had been in office since 1994.

The elder Bird was Prime Minister from 1981 to 1994 and Chief Minister of Antigua from 1960 to 1981, except for the 1971-1976 period when the Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) defeated his party. Vere Cornwall Bird, the nation's first Prime Minister, is credited with having brought Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean into a new era of independence.

The Judicial Branch is the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction). In addition, Antigua is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The Supreme Court of Appeal was the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council up until 2001, when the nations of the Caribbean Community voted to abolish the right of appeal to the Privy Council in favor of a Caribbean Court of Justice. Some debate between member countries repeatedly delayed the court's date of inauguration. As of March 2005 (check the status of this action), only Barbados was set to replace appeals to the Privy Council with appeals the Caribbean Court of Justice, which by then had come into operation.

Geography

Parishes & Dependencies

Map of Antigua and Barbuda
Parishes of Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda is divided into six parishes and two dependencies:

Military

The ABDF has 250 members; within it, 200 12-to-18-year-old youngsters make up the Antigua and Barbuda Cadet Corps.

Economy

Tourism dominates the economy, accounting for more than half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Antigua is famous for its many exclusive luxury resorts. Weak tourist activity since early 2000 has slowed the economy, however, and squeezed the government into a tight fiscal corner.

Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of the economy. Major world banks with offices in Antigua include the Bank of America (Bank of Antigua), Barclays, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotia Bank. Financial-services corporations with offices in Antigua include PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank owned by Texas billionaire Allen Stanford of orchestrating a huge fraud which may have bilked investors of some $8 billion.[2] (check status 20100312)

The twin-island nation's agricultural production is focussed on its domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction work.

Manufacturing is made up of enclave-type assembly for export, the major products being bedding, handicrafts and electronic components. Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on income growth in the industrialized world, especially in the United States, from which about one-third of all tourists come.

Demographics

Demographics of Antigua and Barbuda, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.
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Ethnicity & racial make-up

Antigua has a population of 85,632, mostly made up of people of West African, British, and Portuguese descent.

The ethnic/racial distribution consists of 91% Black or mulatto, 4.4% other mixed races, 1.7% White and 2.9% other [check for the difference between "other mixed races" and "other"]. Most Whites are of Irish or British descent. Christian Levantine Arabs (mostly from Syria, Lebanon and Palestine), Portuguese, and a small number of Asians and Sephardic Jews make up the remainder of the population.

Behind the late 20th-century revival and redefinition of the role of Afro-Antiguans and Barbudans in the society's cultural life is a history of racial/ethnic tensions which systematically excluded non-Whites. Within the colonial framework established by the British soon after their initial settlement of Antigua in 1623, five distinct and carefully ranked racial/ethnic groups emerged.

At the top of this social structure were the British, who justified their hegemony with arguments of White Supremacy and civilizing missions. Amongst them were divisions between British Antiguans and non-creolized Britons, with the latter coming out on top. In short, this was a racial/ethnic hierarchy which gave maximum recognition to people and cultural practices of Anglican origin.

Immediately below the British were the mulattos, a mixed-race group of Afro-European origin. Mulattos, lighter in shade than most Africans, developed a complex system based on skin shade to distinguish themselves from the latter and to legitimate their claims to higher status. In many ways, they paralleled the British White Supremacy ideology.

In the middle of this social stratification were the Portuguese, 2,500 of whom migrated as workers from Madeira (a Portuguese island off the Moroccan coast) between 1847 and 1852 because of a severe famine there. Many established small businesses and joined the ranks of the mulatto class. The British never really considered the Portuguese as Whites and did not allow them into their ranks. Amongst Antiguans and Barbudans of Portuguese descent, status differences were based on the varying degrees of assimilation into the dominant group's Anglicized practices.

Next to the bottom were Middle Easterners who began migrating to Antigua and Barbuda around the turn of the 20th century. Starting as itinerant traders, they soon worked their way into the social mix. Although Middle Easterners came from a variety of areas, as a group they are usually referred to as Syrians.

Afro-Antiguans and Afro-Barbudans were at the bottom. Forced into slavery, Africans started arriving in Antigua and Barbuda in large numbers during the 1670's. Very quickly, they grew into the largest racial/ethnic group. Their entry into the local social structure was marked by a profound racialization: They ceased being Yoruba, Igbo, or Akan and became Negroes or Blacks.[citation needed]

In the 20th century, the colonial social structure gradually started to be phased out with the introduction of universal education and better economic opportunities. This process allowed Blacks to rise to the highest echelons of society and government.

In the last decade (check specific decade), Spanish-speaking immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Afro-Caribbean immigrants from Guyana and Dominique were added to this ethnic mosaic. They have entered at the social structure's bottom; it is still too early to predict their patterns of assimilation and social mobility.

Today, an increasingly large percentage of the population lives abroad, most notably in the United Kingdom (Antiguan Britons), United States and Canada. A minority of Antiguan residents are immigrants from other countries, particularly from Dominica, Guyana and Jamaica, and, increasing, from the Dominican Republic, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Nigeria. An estimated 4,500 American citizens also make their home in Antigua and Barbuda, making their numbers one of the largest American populations in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean.[3]

Religion

Seventy-four percent [4] of Antiguans are Christians, with the Anglican denomination (about 44%) being the largest. Other Christian denominations present are Baptists[5], Presbyterians[6][7] and Catholics.

Non-Christian religions practiced in the islands include the Rastafari Movement, Islam, Judaism and the Bahá'í Faith.

Languages

English is the official language, but many of the locals speak Antiguan Creole. The Barbudan accent is slightly different from the Antiguan.

In the years before Antigua and Barbuda's independence, Standard English was widely spoken in preference to Antiguan Creole, but afterwards Antiguans began treating Antiguan Creole as a respectable aspect of their culture. Generally, the upper and middle classes shun Antiguan Creole. The educational system dissuades the use of Antiguan Creole and instruction is done in Standard (British) English.

Many of the words used in the Antiguan dialect are derived from British as well as African languages. This can be easily seen in phrases such as: "Me nah go" meaning "I am not going". Another example is: "Ent it?" meaning "Ain't it?" which is itself dialectical and means "Isn't it?". Common island proverbs often can be traced to Africa.

Culture

The culture is predominantly British: For example, cricket is the national sport and Antigua has produced several famous cricket players including Sir Vivian Richards, Anderson "Andy" Roberts, and Richard "Richie" Richardson. Other popular sports include football. boat racing and surfing (the Antigua Sailing Week attracts locals and visitors from all over the world).

American popular culture and fashion also have a heavy influence. Most of the country's media is made up of major United States networks. Antiguans pay close attention to American fashion trends, and major designer items are available at boutiques in St. John's and elsewhere, although many Antiguans prefer to make a special shopping trip to St. Martin, North America, or San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Family and religion play an important roles in the lives of Antiguans. Most attend religious services on Sunday, although there is a growing number of Seventh-day Adventists who observe the Sabbath on Saturday.[citation needed]

The national Carnival held each August commemorates the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, although on some islands, Carnival may celebrate the coming of Lent. Its festive pageants, shows, contests and other activities are a major tourist attraction.

Calypso and soca music are important in Antigua and Barbuda.[citation needed]

Corn and sweet potatoes play an important role in Antiguan cuisine. For example, a popular Antiguan dish, Dukuna (DOO-koo-NAH) is a sweet, steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes, flour and spices. One of the Antiguan staple foods, fungi (FOON-ji), is a cooked paste made of cornmeal and water.

Media

There are two daily newspapers: Daily Observer and Antigua Sun which also publishes newspapers on other Caribbean islands. Besides most American television networks, the local channel ABS TV 10 is available (it is the only station which shows exclusively local programs. There are also several local and regional radio stations.

Sports

Like many Commonwealth countries, cricket is the most popular sport. The 2007 Cricket World Cup was hosted in the West Indies from March 11 to April 28, 2007. Antigua hosted eight matches at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, which was completed on February 11, 2007 and can hold up to 20,000 people. Antigua is a Host of Stanford Twenty20Twenty20 Cricket, a version started by Allen Stanford in 2006 as a regional cricket game with almost all Caribbean islands taking part. Antiguan Viv Richards scored the fastest Test Century and Brian Lara twice scored the World Test Record at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

Association football is also a very popular sport. Antigua does have a national football team but it is inexperienced.

Athletics are popular. Talented athletes are trained from a young age, and Antigua and Barbuda has produced a few fairly adept athletes. Janill Williams, a young athlete with much promise comes from Gray's Farm, Antigua. Sonia Williams and Heather Samuel represented Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympic Games. Other prominent rising stars include Brendan Christian (100 m, 200 m), Daniel Bailey (100 m, 200 m) and James Grayman (high jump).

Antigua can boast of some excellent tennis players, most notably Brian Philip #1 and Roberto Esposito #2 on the island for under-18 tournaments, who both are also involved in under-18 ITF tournaments. Their coach's (Eli Armstrong) daughter Keishora Armstrong, who will be turning 13 later this year, is the under-18's champion on the girls' circuit.

Education

The people of Antigua & Barbuda enjoy a more-than-90% literacy rate. In 1998, Antigua and Barbuda adopted a national mandate to become the pre-eminent provider of medical services in the Caribbean. As part of this mission, Antigua and Barbuda is building the most technologically advanced hospital in the Caribbean, the Mt. St. John Medical Centre. The island of Antigua currently has two medical schools, the American University of Antigua (AUA),[8] founded in 2004, and The University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA),[9] founded in 1982.

Other institutions of higher education include the government-owned state college in Antigua and the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Information Technology (ABIIT); The University of the West Indies has a branch in Antigua for locals who wish to continue university studies.

Foreign Relations

Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the United Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Caribbean Community, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the Organization of American States, the World Trade Organization and the Eastern Caribbean's Regional Security System.

Antigua and Barbuda is also a member of the International Criminal Court (with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of Protection for the US military as covered under Article 98).

See also

English language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Member of

References

External Links


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