- People & Culture: top
Most inhabitants of this country are of African descent, although a minority of English, Portuguese, Lebanese and Syrian descendants are still active in business and commerce. The language spoken is English and most people are Anglican with small groups of other Protestant sects and Roman Catholics. Carnival, which is held late July/August highlights the cultural aspects of the country which includes a unique brand of soca (soul calypso) made internationally popular by an Antiguan band named Burning Flames.
- Antigua History: top
The first people that are known to have lived in Antigua are the SIBONEY or 'stone people' who were here in 1775 B.C.. They had stone and shell tools, and lived on whatever natural resources they could find. Traces of them are found at Jolly Beach, Deep Bay and North Sound.
Formed by volcanoes, the islands of Antigua and Barbuda were inhabited as early as 2400 B.C. Although Christopher Columbus laid claim to Antigua in 1493, it was the English who colonized it about 170 years later. They exported tobacco and sugar, and used slaves to work the plantations. In 1834, slavery was abolished. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the islands remained the headquarters for the British fleet in the Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state in the British Commonwealth in 1981. Volcanic eruptions on nearby Montserrat have caused about 3,000 refugees to settle in Antigua and Barbuda since 1995.
- MAJOR INDUSTRIES:: top
Clothing, Cotton Production, Electronic Component Assembly, Food Processing, Fishing, Tourism.
- When to Go: top
Antigua is best visited during the cooler and dryer winter months (mid-December to mid-April), which is also the "high" tourism season. In January and February, the coolest months, the average daily high temperature is 81°F (27°C).
Antigua is even hotter in the summer. July and August, the warmest months, the average daily high is 86°F (30°C). It's less dry in the autumn (September to November), during the rainy season, though Antigua's fairly dry year-round.
- Getting Around: top
Taxi travel is most common, especially for visitors not comfortable with driving on the left side of the road. Taxi fares from the St. John's area to Nelson Dockyard on the far side of the island run about US $50 round trip. Rental cars are available; a temporary Antiguan driver's license is required.
- Economic Overview: top
Tourism continues to be by far the dominant activity in the economy accounting directly or indirectly to more than half of GDP. Increased tourist arrivals have helped spur growth in the construction and transport sectors. The dual island nation's agricultural production is mainly directed to the domestic market; the sector is constrained by the limited water supply and labor shortages that reflect the pull of higher wages in tourism and construction. Manufacturing comprises enclave-type assembly for export with 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 US, which accounts for about half of all tourist arrivals.
- CURRENCY:: top
The official currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (ECD) divided into 100 Cents.
- Education: top
Compulsory schooling from age five to sixteen.The majority of schools are funded by the government, with some assistance from religious groups.There are a total of 72 primary and secondary schools. In 1972 the training colleges were merged to form the Antigua State College.
- LANGUAGES:: top
The official language is English, although there are some local dialects are also spoken.
- RELIGIONS:: top
Mostly Christians with 45% of the population Anglican while around 42% are Protestants mainly Moravians, Methodists and Seven Day Adventists. Another 10% are Roman Catholics and less than 1% are Rastafarians.
- Geography: top
Antigua combined with Barbuda are 170 sq. miles ,the island has many beautiful beaches with incredible views and sights. The average climate is a warmly 75 degrees F.
- Antigua Weather: top
Although drier than most other Caribbean islands, Antigua and Barbuda has a tropical climate with low humidity. The islands are tempered by sea breezes and trade winds. Annual average precipitation is approximately 1,000 mm (39 inches) and the hot season is between May to November. Average temperature ranges in St. John's are from 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) with night temperatures during the cool season falling between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius (60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism: top
Contact the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism, 610 Fifth Avenue, Suite 311, New York, NY 10020 or call 212-541-4117. In Canada: the Antigua and Barbuda Dept. of Tourism and Trade, 60 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 304, Toronto, Ontario MT4 1N5, 416-961-3085. In the UK, Antigua House, 15 Thayer Street, London, W1M 5LD or 0171-486-7073.
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