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Facts


Population: 102 012(2017)
Area: 440 km²
Capital City: St. John’s


About Antigua and Barbuda


Antigua and Barbuda is a country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda). The capital and largest port and city is St. John’s on Antigua. Lying near each other (the main Barbuda airport is less than 0.5° of latitude, or 30 nautical miles, north of the main Antigua airport), Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17°N of the equator.


The island of Antigua was explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa María La Antigua. Antigua was colonized by Britain in 1632; Barbuda island 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. Following by self-governing on its internal affairs, independence was granted from United Kingdom on 1 November 1981.
Antigua and Barbuda remains a member of the Commonwealth and Elizabeth II is the country’s queen and head of state.


Currency

The official currency of Antigua and Barbuda is the East Caribbean dollar.

Climate


Rainfall averages 990 mm (39 in) per year, with the amount varying widely from season to season. In general the wettest period is between September and November. The islands generally experience low humidity and recurrent droughts. Temperatures average 27 °C (80.6 °F), with a range from 23 °C (73.4 °F) to 29 °C (84.2 °F) in the winter to from 25 °C (77.0 °F) to 30 °C (86.0 °F) in the summer and autumn. The coolest period is between December and February.
Hurricanes strike on an average of once a year, including the powerful Category 5 Hurricane Irma, on 6 September 2017, which damaged 95% of the structures on Barbuda. Some 1,800 people were evacuated to Antigua.
An estimate published by Time indicated that over $100 million would be required to rebuild homes and infrastructure. Philmore Mullin, Director of Barbuda’s National Office of Disaster Services, said that “all critical infrastructure and utilities are non-existent – food supply, medicine, shelter, electricity, water, communications, waste management”. He summarised the situation as follows: “Public utilities need to be rebuilt in their entirety… It is optimistic to think anything can be rebuilt in six months … In my 25 years in disaster management, I have never seen something like this.”


Languages


English is the official language. 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. 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: “Ent it?” meaning “Ain’t it?” which is itself dialectal and means “Isn’t it?”. Common island proverbs can often be traced to Africa.
Spanish is spoken by around 10,000 inhabitants.


Economy


Tourism dominates the economy, accounting for more than half of the gross domestic product (GDP). Antigua is famous for its many 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 Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotiabank. 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.


The twin-island nation’s agricultural production is focused on its domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labour 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 industrialised world, especially in the United States, from which about one-third of all tourists come.
Following the opening of the American University of Antigua College of Medicine by investor and attorney Neil Simon in 2003, a new source of revenue was established. The university employs many local Antiguans and the approximate 1000 students consume a large amount of the goods and services.
Antigua and Barbuda also utilizes an economic citizenship program to spur investment into the country.

Education


Antigua & Barbuda has a greater 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 built the most technologically advanced hospital in the Caribbean, the Mt. St. John Medical Centre. The island of Antigua currently has two foreign-owned for-profit offshore medical schools, the American University of Antigua (AUA), founded in 2004, and The University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA), founded in 1982. The island’s medical schools cater mostly to foreign students but contribute to the local economy and health care.
There is also the government-run Antigua State College as well as the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Information Technology (ABIIT) and the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI). The University of the West Indies Open Campus has a branch in Antigua for local students to continue university studies.
Antigua has two international primary/secondary schools: CCSET International, which offers the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, and Island Academy, which offers the International Baccalaureate. There are also many other private schools but these institutions tend to follow the same local curriculum (CXCs) as government schools.


Culture


The culture is predominantly a mixture of West African and British cultural influences.
Cricket is the national sport. Other popular sports include football, boat racing and surfing. (Antigua Sailing Week attracts locals and visitors from all over the world).
Calypso and soca music, both originating primarily out of Trinidad, are important in Antigua and Barbuda.


Religion


A majority of 77% of Antiguans are Christians, with the Anglicans (17,6%) being the largest single denomination. Other Christian denominations present are Seventh-day Adventist Church (12,4%), Pentecostalism (12,2%), Moravian Church (8,3%), Roman Catholics (8,2%), Methodist Church (5,6%), Wesleyan Holiness Church (4,5%), Church of God (4,1%), Baptists (3,6%), Mormonism (<1.0%), as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Non-Christian religions practiced in the islands include the Rastafari, Islam, and Bahá’í Faith.


Cuisine


Antigua and Barbuda cuisine refers to the cuisines of the Caribbean islands Antigua and Barbuda. The national dish is fungie and pepper. Fungie is a dish similar to Italian Polenta, made mostly with cornmeal. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish and lobster.

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