Antigua and Barbuda: Background & Geography

Introduction Antigua and Barbuda
Background:
The Siboney were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak and Carib 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.
Geography Antigua and Barbuda
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
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
total: 443 sq km (Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km)
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Redonda, 1.6 sq km
land: 443 sq km
Area - comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
153 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
contiguous zone: 24 NM
Climate:
tropical; little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain:
mostly low-lying limestone and coral islands, with some higher volcanic areas
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Boggy Peak 402 m
Natural resources:
NEGL; pleasant climate fosters tourism
Land use:
arable land: 18.18%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 81.82% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October); periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
water management - a major concern because of limited natural fresh water resources - is further hampered by the clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Antigua has a deeply indented shoreline with many natural harbors and beaches; Barbuda has a very large western harbor

See Also: