This country is made up of two adjacent islands in the Eastern Caribbean. It also consists of several lesser-known isles, most of which are uninhabited and privately owned. The country only receives an average of 40 inches of rain annually, making it one of the sunniest Caribbean nations.
English colonizers once used Antigua and Barbuda for growing sugar cane. After over 300 years as a British colony, the country received its independence in 1981. Emancipation from the British resulted in the decreasing of the country’s agricultural industries. Antigua and Barbuda’s economy now relies on the 80,000 tourists they receive yearly to sustain itself. Unfortunately, natural disasters like hurricanes make tourism a vulnerable industry, so Antigua and Barbuda has been diversifying its economy by pursuing mining and manufacturing.
- St. John’s Cathedral, an Anglican church located atop a hillside in St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda, was built upon a fossilized reef. This is its third rebuilding, since earthquakes in the 17th and 18th century destroyed the last two cathedrals.
- Antigua’s national stone is petrified wood. Petrified wood is found all over central Antigua, and is mostly from the Oligocene period.
- Antigua and Barbuda boasts many sandy beaches, so Antiguans often joke that they have a different beach for every day of the year.
- One of the smaller isles, Great Bird Island, is home to one of the world’s most unique and rarest snakes, a gentle species call the Antiguan racer.
- Their national marine animal is the Hawksbill turtle. Once admired as a divine gift by their ancient peoples, it is now endangered as a result of hunting.
- Residents mostly practice Christianity, but several other religions are present in the community as well. The country is currently planning to build its first Muslim institution.
- English is spoken in Antigua and Barbuda, but residents of either country have slightly different dialects and accents from one another.
- The Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force is the world’s smallest military unit with fewer than 250 citizens.
- The island was the birthplace of Robert Athly Rogers, an important figure for follows of the Rastafarian movement. He wrote texts that came to serve as founding ideology for the movement.