is an island in the Caribbean, part of the country of Antigua
and Barbuda. It has a population of about 68,000, of which over
24,000 live in the capital of St. John's, on the northwest coast.
Antigua is located south of the country's other island, Barbuda.
It lies 50 miles east of St Kitts. The surface is comparatively
flat, and there is no central range of mountains as in most
other West Indian islands, but among the hills in the south-west
an elevation of 1328 feet is attained.|
to the absence of rivers, the paucity of springs, and the
almost complete deforestation, Antigua is subject to frequent
droughts, and although the average rainfall is 45.6 inches,
the variations from year to year are great. The high rocky
coast is much indented by bays and arms of the sea, several
of which form excellent harbours, that of St John being safe
and commodious, but inferior to English Harbour, which, although
little frequented, is capable of receiving vessels of the
largest size. The soil, especially in the interior, is very
fertile. Sugar and pineapples are the chief products for export,
but sweet potatoes, yams, maize and guinea corn are grown
for local consumption. The three chief towns are St John,
Falmouth and Parham. St John, the capital, is situated in
the north west, near to the airport and has a large harbour
which is able to accommodate large cruise ships.
Antigua's economy has become increasingly reliant upon tourism, and it markets
itself as a luxury Caribbean escape. Many hotels and resorts are located around
the coastline, and the island's single airport is serviced by several major airlines
including Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.
country's official currency is the East Caribbean Dollar,
however, most prices are shown in US dollars, and British
pounds are almost universally accepted. Antigua was "discovered"
in 1493 by Columbus, who is said to have named it after a
church in Seville, called Santa Maria la Antigua. It remained,
however, uninhabited until 1632, when a body of English settlers
took possession of it, and in 1663 another settlement of the
same nation was effected under the direction of Lord Willoughby,
to whom the entire island was granted by Charles II. It was
ravaged by the French in 1666, but was soon after reconquered
by the British and formally restored to them by the treaty
of Breda. It remained under British control until 1981, when
Antigua and Barbuda gained independence. The government is
a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as the
head of state.