Anguilla ( ) is a British overseas territory in
the Caribbean, one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. It consists of the
main island of Anguilla itself, approximately long by wide at its
widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and
cays with no permanent population. The island's capital
The total land area of the territory is ,
with a population of approximately 13,500 (2006 estimate).
Anguilla was first settled by Amerindian
tribes who migrated from South
. The earliest Amerindian artifacts found on Anguilla
have been dated to around 1300 BC, and remains of settlements date
from 600 AD. The date of European discovery is uncertain: some
sources claim that Columbus
sighted the island in 1493, while others state that the island was
first discovered by the French in 1564 or 1565. The name Anguilla
derives from the word for "eel" in any of various Romance languages
(modern Spanish: ;
French: ; Italian: ), probably chosen because of the island's
was first colonised by English settlers
Kitts, beginning in 1650.
The French temporarily
overtook the island in 1666 but under the Treaty of Breda
it was returned to
English control. Other early arrivals included Europeans from Antigua and Barbados.
is likely that some of these early Europeans brought enslaved
with them. Historians confirm that
lived in the
region in the early seventeenth century. For example, Africans
from Senegal lived in St.
Christopher (today St. Kitts) in 1626.
By 1672 a slave depot
existed on the island of Nevis, serving the Leeward Islands
. While the time of African
arrival in Anguilla is difficult to place precisely, archive
evidence indicates a substantial African presence (at least 100) on
the island by 1683.
was administered by England, and later the United Kingdom, until the early nineteenth century when – against
the wishes of the inhabitants – it was incorporated into a single
British dependency along with Saint Kitts and Nevis.
After two rebellions in 1967 and 1969 and a brief period as a
self-declared independent republic headed by Ronald Webster
, British rule was fully
restored in July, 1971. Anguilla became a separate British
dependency (now termed a British overseas territory
is an internally self-governing overseas territory of the
Its politics takes place in a framework of
a parliamentary representative democratic dependency
, whereby the Chief Minister
is the head of government
, and of a pluriform
The United Nations
Decolonisation includes Anguilla on the United
Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
. The territory's
constitution is Anguilla Constitutional Order 1 April 1982 (amended
1990). Executive power
by the government. Legislative
is vested in both the government
and the House of Assembly
. The Judiciary
is independent of the executive and the
is a protectorate of the United Kingdom, which is responsible for its military defense,
although there are no active garrison or
armed forces present.
Map of Anguilla
is a flat, low-lying island of coral and limestone in the Caribbean Sea, east of Puerto
The soil is generally thin and poor, supporting
only scrub vegetation.
Anguilla is noted for its spectacular and ecologically important
. Apart from the main island
of Anguilla itself, the territory includes a number of other
smaller islands and cays, mostly tiny and uninhabited. Some of
Anguilla has a tropical though rather dry climate, moderated by
northeast trade winds
. Temperatures vary
little throughout the year. Average daily maxima range from about
in December to in July. Rainfall is erratic, averaging about per
year, the wettest months being September and October, and the
driest February and March. Anguilla is vulnerable to hurricanes
from June to November, peak season August to mid-October.
Anguilla's thin arid soil is largely unsuitable for agriculture,
and the island has few land-based natural resources
. Its main industries are
tourism, offshore incorporation and
, offshore banking
fishing. Many insurance and financial business are headquartered in
The economy of Anguilla is expanding rapidly, especially the
tourism sector which is driving major new developments in
partnerships with multi-national companies. This boom, beginning
gently during 2005-2006, is accelerating through 2007 and is
expected to continue for years. In an effort to prevent
overheating, there is currently a moratorium on "non-belongers"
(foreigners) buying land in Anguilla.
Anguilla's currency is the East
, though the US dollar
is also widely accepted. The exchange rate is fixed to the US
dollar at US$1 = EC$2.68.
is served by Wallblake Airport.
Services connect to various other Caribbean
islands, but the airport cannot receive large jets and there are no
direct flights to or from continental America or Europe.
ferries link Anguilla and the neighboring island of Saint Martin, with a journey time of about twenty
Aside from taxis, there is no public transport on the island. Cars
drive on the left.
The majority of residents (90.08%) are black, the descendants of
slaves transported from Africa. Growing minorities include whites
at 3.74% and people of mixed race at 4.65% (figures from 2001
72% of the population is Anguillian while 28% is non-Anguillian
(2001 census). Of the non-Anguillian population, many are
citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, St Kitts &
Nevis, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Nigeria.
2006 and 2007 saw an influx of large numbers of Chinese, Indian,
and Mexican workers, brought in as labour for major tourist
developments due to the local population not being large enough to
support the labour requirements.
The Anguilla National Trust
(ANT) was established in 1988 and opened its offices in 1993
charged with the responsibility of preserving the heritage of the
island, including its cultural heritage. The Trust has programmes
encouraging Anguillian writers and the preservation of the island's
The island's cultural history begins with the Taino
Indians. Artefacts have been found around the
island, telling of life before European settlers arrived.
throughout the Caribbean, holidays are a cultural fixture.
most important holidays are of historic as much as cultural
importance – particularly the anniversary of the emancipation
(previously August Monday in the Park), celebrated as the Summer
Festival. British holidays,
such as the Queen's birthday, are also celebrated.
According to the 2001 census Christianity
is Anguilla's predominant
religion, with 29 percent of the population practising Anglicanism
. Another 23.9 percent are Methodist
. Other churches on the island include
, and Jehovah's
(0.7%). Between 1992 and 2001 the number of followers
of the Church of God
and Pentecostal Churches
considerably. There are at least fifteen churches on the island,
several of architectural interest. Although a minority on the
island, it is an important location to followers of Rastafarian
religion – Anguilla is the
birthplace of Robert Athlyi
, author of The Holy Piby
has had a strong influence on Rastafarian beliefs. Various other
religions are practised as well.
Today most people in Anguilla speak a British-influenced variety of
"Standard" English. Other languages are also spoken on the island,
including varieties of Spanish, Chinese and the languages of other
immigrants. However, the most common language other than Standard
English is the island's own English-lexifier Creole language (not
to be confused with French Creole spoken in islands such as Haiti,
Martinique, and Guadeloupe). It is referred to locally by terms
such as "dialect" (pronounced "dialec"), or "Anguillian". It has
its main roots in early varieties of English and West African
languages, and is similar to the dialects spoken in
English-speaking islands throughout the Eastern Caribbean.
has deep roots in Anguillian
culture, and is the national sport
There are regular sailing regattas
national holidays, such as Carnival, which are contested by locally
built and designed boats. These boats have names and have sponsors
that print their logo on their sails.
As in many other former British
is also a popular
sport. Anguilla is the home of Omari
, who played for the West Indies Cricket Team
cricket for English county side Hampshire and was 'chef de mission'
(team manager) for Anguilla's Commonwealth Games
team in 2002.
is represented in Anguilla
by the Anguilla Eels RFC, who were formed in April 2006. The Eels
have been finalists in the St. Martin tournament in November 2006
and semi finalists in 2007.
- Caribbean Islands, Sarah Cameron (Footprint Travel
Guides), p. 466 ( Google Books)
- Anguilla's History, Government of Anguilla
- Picture-Perfect Anguilla Churches,
- Rugby in Anguilla!, Anguilla News
- News media
- General information