Antigua and Barbuda

Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II (1952)

Governor-General: Rodney Williams (2014)

Prime Minister: Gaston Browne (2014)

Total area: 170 sq mi (440 sq km)

Population (2014 est.): 91,295 (growth rate: 1.25%); birth rate: 15.94/1000; infant mortality rate: 13.29/1000; life expectancy: 76.12

Capital and largest city (2011 est.): St. John's, 27,000

Other large cities: English Harbour, 2,900; Codrington (capital of Barbuda), est. pop. 870

Monetary unit: East Caribbean dollar

Current government officials

Languages: English (official), local dialects

Ethnicity/race: black 91%, mixed 4.4%, white 1.7%, other 2.9%

Religions: Protestant 76.4% (Anglican 25.7%, Seventh-Day Adventist 12.3%, Pentecostal 10.6%, Moravian 10.5%, Methodist 7.9%, Baptist 4.9%, Church of God 4.5%), Roman Catholic 10.4%, other Christian 5.4%, other 2%, none or unspecified 5.8% (2001 census)

National Holiday: Independence Day (National Day), November 1

Literacy rate: 99% (2011 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $1.61 billion; per capita $18,400 (2013 est.). Real growth rate: 1.7% (2012 est.). Inflation: 3% (2013 est.). Unemployment: 11% (2001 est.). Arable land: 9.09%. Agriculture: cotton, fruits, vegetables, bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugarcane; livestock. Labor force: 30,000 (1991); agriculture: 3.8%, industry: 22%, services: 74.3% (2002 est.). Industries: tourism, construction, light manufacturing (clothing, alcohol, household appliances). Natural resources: negl.; pleasant climate fosters tourism. Exports: $55 million (2013 est.): petroleum products 48%, manufactures 23%, machinery and transport equipment 17%, food and live animals 4%, other 8%. Imports: $340.8 million (2013 est.): food and live animals, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, oil. Major trading partners: Poland, UK, Germany, Italy, China, U.S., Singapore, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (2006).

Member of Commonwealth of Nations

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 35,000 (2012); mobile cellular: 179,800 (2012). Radio broadcast stations: state-controlled Antigua and Barbuda Broadcasting Service (ABS) operates 1 TV station; multi-channel cable TV subscription services are available; ABS operates 1 radio station; roughly 15 radio stations, some broadcasting on multiple frequencies (2007). Television broadcast stations: 2 (1997). Internet hosts: 11,532 (2012). Internet users: 65,000 (2009).

Transportation: Highways: total: 1,170 km, paved: 386 km, unpaved: 784 km (2011). Ports and harbors: Saint John's. Airports: 3 (2013).

International disputes: none.

Major sources and definitions

Flag of Antigua & Barbuda

Geography

Antigua, the larger of the two main islands, is 108 sq mi (280 sq km). The island dependencies of Redonda (an uninhabited rocky islet) and Barbuda (a coral island formerly known as Dulcina) are 0.5 sq mi (1.30 sq km) and 62 sq mi (161 sq km), respectively.

Government

Constitutional monarchy.

History

The island of Antigua was explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Seville. Antigua was colonized by Britain in 1632; Barbuda was first colonized in 1678. Antigua and Barbuda joined the West Indies Federation in 1958. With the breakup of the federation, it became one of the West Indies Associated States in 1967, self-governing its internal affairs. Full independence was granted Nov. 1, 1981.

The Bird family has controlled the islands since Vere C. Bird founded the Antigua Labor Party in the mid-1940s. While tourism and financial services have turned the country into one of the more prosperous in the Caribbean, law enforcement officials have charged that Antigua and Barbuda is a major center of money laundering, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling. Several scandals tainted the Bird family, especially the 1995 conviction of Prime Minister Lester Bird's brother, Ivor, for cocaine smuggling. In 2000, Antigua and 35 other offshore banking centers agreed to reforms to prevent money laundering.

Bird Dynasty Ends

In March 2004, the Bird political dynasty came to an end when labor activist Baldwin Spencer defeated Lester Bird, who had been prime minister since 1994. In 2005, income tax, which had been eliminated in 1975, was reintroduced to help alleviate Antigua's deficit.

On July 17, 2007, Louise Lake-Tack became the first woman governor-general of Antigua and Barbuda. In June 2014, Gaston Browne led the Antigua Labour Party to victory in the general election. It was a return to power for the Antigua Labour Party after ten years as the opposition. The party won 14 of 17 seats. Brown was sworn in as prime minister on June 13. Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack left office in August 2014. Antigua Labour Party member Rodney Williams replaced her.

See also Encyclopedia: Antigua and Barbuda.
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Antigua and Barbuda


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