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Antigua and Barbuda

Did you know: 

Sir Vivian Richards, born in St John’s in 1952, was Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 1976, 1978 and 1980.

Jamaica Kincaid, born Elaine Potter Richardson in St John’s in 1949, has been heralded as the ‘most important West Indian woman writing today’.

Key facts

Joined Commonwealth: 
1981
Population: 
90,000 (2013)
GDP: 
0.7% p.a. 1990–2013
UN HDI: 
world ranking 61
Official language: 
English
Timezone: 
GMT minus 4hr
Currency: 
Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$)

Geography

Area: 
Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km; Redonda 1.6 sq km
Coastline: 
153km
Capital city: 
St John’s
Population density (per sq. km): 
203

Antigua and Barbuda, at the north of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, is composed of three islands: Antigua, Barbuda (40km north of Antigua) and Redonda (40km south-west of Antigua). Antigua comprises six parishes: St George, St John, St Mary, St Paul, St Peter and St Philip.

Main towns: 

St John’s (capital, pop. 22,200 in 2010), All Saints (4,800), Liberta (3,100), Potters Village (3,100), Bolans (2,100) and English Harbour on Antigua; and Codrington on Barbuda.

Transport: 

There is a good road network of about 1,170km, 33% paved. St John’s deep water harbour is a regional centre for cargo and passengers and the country’s main port. VC Bird International Airport is 8km north-east of St John’s; and an airstrip at Codrington, Barbuda, is suitable for light aircraft.

International relations: 

Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, Association of Caribbean States, Caribbean Community, Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Organization of American States, United Nations and World Trade Organization.

Topography: 

With about 365 beaches on Antigua, further beaches of pink and white sand on Barbuda, coves that were once volcanic craters, and luxuriant palms, the country was an early proponent of sea-and-sun tourism. Antigua is generally composed of low-lying coral and limestone, although Boggy Peak among the volcanic rocks to the west rises to 402m. It has an indented coastline and a good harbour at English Harbour Town. There are a few springs; drought can be a problem. Barbuda is flat with a large lagoon on its west side. Redonda is a tiny rocky island, and is uninhabited.

Climate: 

Tropical and drier than most of the West Indies. The hot season, when most rain falls, is May to November. Hurricane Luis, the first hurricane in many decades, struck in mid-1995, causing particular damage to Barbuda where it flooded 75% of the island, including the main town of Codrington.

Environment: 

The most significant environmental issue is limited natural freshwater resources which is aggravated by clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly.

Vegetation: 

Little remains of Antigua’s natural vegetation, as the island was formerly cleared for sugar planting. Unlike other islands in the Leeward group, it has little forest; mangoes, guavas, coconuts and bananas grow in the south-west. Barbuda is well wooded in the north-east, providing a haven for wildlife. Forest covers 22 per cent of Antigua and Barbuda’s land area and there was no significant loss of forest cover during 1990–2011.

Wildlife: 

More than 150 species of birds have been recorded. Barbuda is a game reserve with a variety of wildlife: deer, wild pigs, duck, guinea-fowl, and a large colony of frigate birds in the mangrove lagoon. Redonda has become a haven for species such as the burrowing owl, which have been driven out of the other, inhabited, islands

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