Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island country in the Americas, 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. The smaller islands include Guiana Island, Bird Island, and Long Island.
The nearest countries to Antigua and Barbuda are other island nations, including St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, the French territory of Guadeloupe and the British territories of Montserrat and Anguilla.
The official language is English.
As of 1 January 2016, the population of Antigua and Barbuda was estimated to be 92,295 people.
The area of Antigua and Barbuda is 442 square kilometers (171 square miles).
The largest island Antigua, is about 22 kilometers (14 miles) long and 18 kilometers (11 miles) wide, encompassing 281 square kilometers (108 square miles). Barbuda covers 161 square kilometers (62 square miles).
St. John’s is the capital and largest city of Antigua and Barbuda, located on the northwest coast of Antigua. It is the commercial center of the nation and the country’s main port.
Antigua and Barbuda both are generally low-lying islands whose terrain has been influenced more by limestone formations than volcanic activity.
The island’s highest point is Mount Obama (formerly Boggy Peak), the remnant of a volcanic crater rising 402 meters (1319 feet). It was known as the Boggy Peak until 4 August 2009, when it was renamed after Barack Obama who has a birthday on this day.
Antigua and Barbuda does not have any permanent rivers and lakes of significant size. There are few streams as rainfall is slight. But both islands lack adequate amounts of fresh groundwater.
The shorelines of both islands are greatly indented with beaches, lagoons, and natural harbours. The islands are rimmed by reefs and shoals.
The country is nicknamed “Land of 365 Beaches” due to the many beaches surrounding the islands.
Pink Sand Beach on the southwest coast of the island of Barbuda is beautiful natural attraction. The champagne colored sand glows in the sun thanks to the crushed coral.
English Harbour is a natural harbour and settlement on the island of Antigua, in the extreme south of the island. The settlement takes its name from the nearby harbour in which the Royal Navy established its base of operations for the area during the eighteenth century. English Harbour is a centre of boating, especially yachting.
Fort James is a fort at the entrance to the harbour of St. John’s. The fort was built to guard St. John’s harbour and is one of the many forts built by the British in the 18th century.
St. John’s Cathedral is an Anglican church perched on a hilltop in St. John’s. The present cathedral with its imposing white twin towers was built on a fossilized reef, in 1845, and is now in its third incarnation, as earthquakes in 1683 and in 1745 destroyed the previous structures.
Antigua is Spanish for “ancient” and Barbuda is Spanish for “bearded”.
The island of Antigua was explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Seville.
After 349 years as a British colony, Antigua and Barbuda gained independence in 1981.
Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda are known as Antiguans or Barbudans, depending on which island they are from.
The national dish is fungie (pronounced “foon-jee”) and pepper pot. Fungie is a dish that’s similar to Italian Polenta, made mostly with cornmeal.
The culture is predominantly a mixture of West African and British cultural influences.
Cricket is the national sport. Other popular sports include football, boat racing and surfing.
Antigua and Barbuda is one of the Caribbean’s most prosperous nations, thanks to its tourism industry and offshore financial services.
With “one beach for every day of the year”, the country attracts more than 700,000 visitors every year.