Antigua and Barbuda

Facts & Figures

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

More Facts & Figures

Flag of Antigua & Barbuda
  1. Antigua and Barbuda Main Page
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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.


Constitutional monarchy.


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.

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