Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Postcard from the West Indies: Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda  (Spanish for "ancient" and "bearded") is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands. Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles.

The English settled on Antigua in 1632; Sir Christopher Codrington settled on Barbuda in 1684. Most Antiguans are of African lineage, descendants of slaves brought to the island centuries ago to labor in the sugarcane fields. The British ruled from 1632 to 1981, with a brief French interlude in 1666. The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth Realm system in 1981.

English Harbour, Antigua's graceful and evocative historic district, is focused on the fifteen square miles of Nelson's Dockyard National Park. Developed as a base for the British Navy in the great age of sail, the harbour served as the headquarters of the fleet of the Leeward Islands during the turbulent years of the late 18th century.

From a set of thirteen stamps about plants, flowers and trees: the Mesquite tree.

update: designated in 2016 as a Unesco World Heritage Site 


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