A Map of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

Background: The Siboney were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak and Carib Indians populated the islands when Columbus landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early settlements by the Spanish and French were succeeded by the English who formed a colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.
Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east-southeast of Puerto Rico. Total: 443 sq km (Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km). Note: includes Redonda, 1.6 sq km, land: 442 sq km. 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC. Coastline: 153 km
Climate and Terrain: Climate: Tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation. Terrain: Mostly low-lying limestone and coral islands, with some higher volcanic areas. Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m, highest point: Boggy Peak 402 m.
People: Population: 67,448 (July 2002 est.) Ethnic groups: Black, British, Portuguese, Lebanese, and Syrian. Religions: Christian, (predominantly Anglican with other Protestant, and some Roman Catholic). Languages: English (official), local dialects.
Government: Government type: Constitutional monarchy with UK-style parliament. Capital: Saint John's. Independence: 1 November 1981 (from UK).
Economy overview: Tourism continues to dominate the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. Weak tourist arrival numbers since early 2000 have slowed the economy, however, and pressed the government into a tight fiscal corner. The dual-island nation's agricultural production is focused on the domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction work. 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 one-third of all tourist arrivals. GDP - composition by sector: Agriculture: 4%, industry: 19%, services: 77%.
Statistics: Telephones - main lines in use: 28,000. Telephones - mobile cellular: 1,300. Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 2. Radios: 36,000. Television broadcast stations: 2. Televisions: 31,000. Internet users: 5,000. Railways: Total: 77 km. Highways: Total: 1,165 km, paved: 384 km, unpaved: 781 km. Airports - with paved runways: 2, with unpaved runways: 1.

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