Antigua was first settled by the Siboneys, who were later replaced by Arawaks around 1200 AD. The Arawaks were the first well-documented group of Antiguans. They paddled to the island by canoe (piragua) from Venezuela, ejected by the Caribs—another people indigenous to the area. Arawaks introduced agriculture to Antigua and Barbuda, raising, among other crops, the famous Antiguan “Black” pineapple.
Antigua and Barbuda gained its independence from England on November 1st, 1981 and has been politically independent since then. General elections are held every five years with the next one constitutionally due in 2023.
Antigua and Barbuda is located in the heart of the Caribbean and is the hub for many major airlines. The country is 108 sq. miles and boasts 365 beaches. Heritage and Redcliffe Quays are the major duty free shopping areas located in the heart of St. John’s. There are several other shopping and business establishments located on the outskirts of St. John’s and throughout the country. Antigua and Barbuda has a population of 100,000 people and has many cultures and denominations to cater to everyone’s norms and religious beliefs. The main religion in Antigua and Barbuda is Christianity.
Antigua and Barbuda offers both private and public school education and also has several tertiary institutions such as the Antigua State College, Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute, University of the West Indies Open Campus and the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Information Technology. Students will write the common entrance exam, which gains them entry into government secondary school in grade six. Students who wish to attend a private school will be required to take an entrance exam set by that school. Students spend an average of five years in high school.
There are many restaurants located throughout the island to suit your appetite, ranging from Italian, Mexican, Chinese, seafood to fast food. There are also several bars for those casual outings and get together events. However, Antigua comes to life when it celebrates major events such as Carnival, Sailing Week, Independence Day, Seafood Festival, Mango Fest, Labour Day, Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Antigua is steeped rich in history and has many places of interest such as Shirley’s Heights, The Nelson’s Dockyard, Devil’s Bridge, Betty’s Hope, Sea View Farm Village, St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Fig Tree Drive and St. Peter’s Anglican Church to name a few.
Antigua has a Multiplex Cinema which houses eight theatres for your convenience and pleasure. There is also an arcade located in the building. There are two golf courses in Antigua, located in Jolly Harbour and Cedar Valley for golf lovers.
Antigua is home to many cricket legends including our National Hero, Sir Vivian Richards, as well as Sir Anderson Roberts, Sir Curtly Ambrose and Sir Richard Richardson. It is also home to the CPL T20 Team Antigua Hawksbills.
Antigua and Barbuda follows the British traffic laws and drive on the left side of the road. Given the size of the island it takes an average of thirty (30) minutes to get from one far point to another. Persons who are migrating to Antigua and Barbuda would be required obtain a visitors license and then take the driving exam in order to receive a driver’s license for Antigua and Barbuda. There are two bus stations (East and West) located in Antigua which offer services to most areas on the island.
The sister island, Barbuda, is home to the Frigate Bird, which is the national bird of Antigua and Barbuda. It is also the home to our national animal, the Fallow Deer. Barbuda is also known for its pink sand beaches and caves. It is 62 sq. miles and has a population of just over 1600 people. Its waters are good for fishing and catching popular delicacies such as lobster. There is one primary school and one secondary school located on Barbuda both of which are government owned.