Facts about Antigua and Barbuda

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Antigua and BarbudaThe 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.

Geography of Antigua

Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east-southeast of Puerto Rico
17 03 N, 61 48 W
total: 443 sq km (Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km)
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Redonda, 1.6 sq km
land: 443 sq km
Area comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
153 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation
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
Natural resources:
NEGL; pleasant climate fosters tourism
Natural hazards:
hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October); periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
water management - a major concern because of limited natural fresh water resources - is further hampered by the clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly
Geography - note:
Antigua has a deeply indented shoreline with many natural harbors and beaches; Barbuda has a very large western harbor

Population of Antigua

84,522 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.2% (male 11,670/female 11,318)
15-64 years: 66.3% (male 26,138/female 29,859)
65 years and over: 6.6% (male 2,408/female 3,129)
Median age:
total: 29.5 years
male: 28 years
female: 30.8 years
Growth rate:
Birth rate:
17.7 births/1,000
Death rate:
5.55 deaths/1,000
Net migration rate:
-6.15 migrant(s)/1,000
Infant mortality:
18.86 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.25 years
male: 72.33 years
female: 76.26 years
Total fertility rate:
2.23 children born/woman
noun: Antiguan(s), Barbudan(s)
adjective: Antiguan, Barbudan
Ethnic groups:
black, British, Portuguese, Lebanese, Syrian
Christian, (predominantly Anglican with other Protestant, and some Roman Catholic)
English (official), local dialects
definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
total population: 85.8%


Country name:
conventional short form: Antigua and Barbuda
Government type:
constitutional monarchy with UK-style parliament
Saint John's (Antigua)
Administrative divisions:
6 parishes and 2 dependencies*; Barbuda*, Redonda*, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Mary, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Philip
1 November 1981 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day (National Day), 1 November (1981)
1 November 1981
Legal system:
based on English common law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Louisse LAKE-TACK (since 17 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Winston Baldwin SPENCER (since 24 March 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general chosen by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (17-member body appointed by the governor general) and the House of Representatives (17 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction); member Caribbean Court of Justice


Antigua has a relatively high GDP per capita in comparison to most other Caribbean nations. It has experienced solid growth since 2003, driven by a construction boom in hotels and housing that which should wind down in 2008. Tourism continues to dominate the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. 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. 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 slightly more than one-third of tourist arrivals. Since taking office in 2004, the SPENCER government has adopted an ambitious fiscal reform program, but will continue to be saddled by its debt burden with a debt-to-GDP ratio exceeding 100%.

$1.526 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
6.1% (2007 est.)
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.8%
industry: 22%
services: 74.3%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
commerce and services 82%, agriculture 11%, industry 7%
revenues: $123.7 million
expenditures: $145.9 million
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0%
tourism, construction, light manufacturing (clothing, alcohol, household appliances)
cotton, fruits, vegetables, bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugarcane; livestock
petroleum products 48%, manufactures 23%, machinery and transport equipment 17%, food and live animals 4%, other 8%
Export partners:
Spain 29.9%, Germany 18.2%, Poland 13.9%, Italy 6.4%, Singapore 5.1%, UK 4.4%
food and live animals, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, oil
Import partners:
US 20.3%, China 15.7%, Singapore 12.2%, Germany 10.9%, Spain 6.3%
East Caribbean dollar (XCD)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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