The Siboney were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak 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
Geographic coordinates: 17 03 N, 61 48 W
Population: 89,018 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.8% (male 11,530/female 11,174)

15-64 years: 67.4% (male 27,599/female 31,592)

65 years and over: 6.8% (male 2,592/female 3,397) (2011 est.)

Median age: total: 30.6 years

male: 28.9 years

female: 32 years (2012 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Antigua and Barbuda

Government type: constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government
Capital: name: Saint John’s

geographic coordinates: 17 07 N, 61 51 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time

Telephones – main lines in use:  35,500 (2011)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 162,800 (2011)
Airports: 3 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches: Ministry of National Security, Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (includes Antigua and Barbuda Coast Guard) (2012)
Military service age and obligation:  

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2011)

Manpower available for military service:  

males age 16-49: 21,141

females age 16-49: 24,056 (2010 est.)


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 labour 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%.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: none
Illicit drugs: considered a minor transhipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; more significant as an offshore financial centre