Antigua and Barbuda Overview

Antigua and Barbuda Overview

North America

(Antigua and Barbuda). State of Central America (443.9 km²). Capital: Saint John’s. Population: 102,012 (2017 estimate). Language: English (official), Creole-English. Religion: Anglicans 17.6%, Seventh-day Adventists 12.4%, Pentecostals 12.2%, Moravians 8.3%, Catholics 8.2%, other Christians 7.7%, non-religious / atheists 5.9%, Methodists 5.6%, others 22.1%. Currency unit: East Caribbean dollar (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.78 (70th place). Borders: Antillean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Member of: Caricom, Commonwealth, OAS, UN and WTO, EU associate.


According to itypetravel, about 87.3% of the population is made up of blacks of African origin, who arrived on the island of Antigua starting from the 17th century as slaves on the sugar cane plantations; the remainder of the residents are mestizo (4.7%) or Hispanic (2.7%), Indian (1.1%) or white (1.6%). The first people that have taken place on the islands, Ciboney, Arawak and Carib have totally disappeared with the arrival of Europeans. The density is very high: it reaches, in fact, 229.81 residents per km². The population is mostly concentrated on the largest island, Antigua. The capital, Saint John’s, located on the gulf of the same name (on the island of Antigua), has 20,764 residents. (2017).


Mangrove forests characterize a large part of the vegetation of the islands, covering about a fifth of the country’s surface, despite the deforestation works carried out in past centuries, especially on the main island, to make way for plantations. The fauna includes a large number of bird species (frigates, terns, nightingales, pelicans, petrels, ibis, herons), reptiles (geckos, lizards, the Antigua running snake), amphibians (tree frogs) and land mammals, some of which imported by Europeans (goats, sheep, donkeys) and sea, which populate the coral reef together with tropical fish, crustaceans (lobster) and corals. The protected areas (1.2% of the territory) include 12 national parks and various conservation areas; Codrington lagoon, on the island of Barbuda, is part of the Ramsar convention on wetlands of international interest.


The archipelago of Antigua and Barbuda shows a cultural environment typical of the Caribbean, in the colonial architecture (numerous fortifications built by the British), in the diffusion of music such as the calypso, in the lively participation of the people in the colorful and noisy carnival in August (not surprisingly called Jumpin ” n ‘Jammin’). In the literary field Jamaica Kincaid (b. 1949) proves to be the most famous writer; among his works Annie John, Autobiography of my mother, A small place. Marie-Elena John (b.1963) has also recently risen to the fore with the debut feature Unburnable. In the picturesque market of Saint John’s you can find typical food (mango, papaya, avocado, spices) and handicrafts (mainly of Arawak origin); the capital also offers an interesting museum relating to the history of the island and a cathedral dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. In addition to tropical fruit, the basics of food are rice and fish, while the most popular drinks are juices, beer and rum. Cricket, of clear British ancestry, is much loved and practiced; there are numerous maritime competitions that take place along the coasts (the famous Sailing Week, an entire week of sailing regattas).

Nelson’s Dockyard naval shipyard (World Heritage)

Nelson’s Dockyard, the historic port facility in English Harbor, is located on the south coast of Antigua. The naval shipyard with its buildings dates from the 18th century. It was named after the British Admiral Horatio Nelson , who was stationed in command of the Leeward Islands on the Lesser Antilles Island from 1784 to 1787.

Nelson’s Dockyard Naval Yard: Facts

Official title: Nelson’s Dockyard naval shipyard and related archaeological sites in Antigua
Cultural monument: Buildings of the historic Nelson’s Dockyard and remains of their defensive structures with weir yard and ammunition depot from the 18th century; In the restored workshops, residential buildings and warehouses, there are now hotels, restaurants and a museum (Admiral’s House)
Continent: America
Country: Antigua and Barbuda
Location: English Harbor on the south coast of the Caribbean island of Antigua
Appointment: 2016
Meaning: outstanding example of a historic naval facility in the Caribbean, reminiscent of Antigua’s colonial and British military history

Base of strategic importance

Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover the Caribbean island in 1493. With the English settlers who colonized Antigua from Saint Kitts from 1632, sugar cane cultivation came to the island. Thousands of African slaves were deported to the island as cheap labor to manage the plantations. However, the strategic location of the island and its sheltered bays were of far greater value to the British naval power than the production of sugar. English Harbor on Falmouth Bay was developed into an important base for the royal fleet for their operations in the Caribbean. The natural harbor on the south coast offered security from tropical storms, the fortifications on the surrounding hills good defenses against potential attackers.

With the advent of steamships, the port became too small and increasingly lost its military importance. In 1889 the fleet base was abandoned – the buildings and facilities fell into disrepair. The restoration of the area began in the 1950s. Today Nelson’s Dockyard is a popular tourist destination and one of the most charming marinas in the world. The renovated port and shipyard area is an open-air museum in which old residential buildings and warehouses, workshops and docks can be viewed.

Antigua and Barbuda Overview