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Antigua Directions

Antigua Directions (edition 1)


by Adam Vaitilingam
  If all you want to do is crash out on a beach for a week or two, youíll find Antigua hard to beat. The island is dotted with superb patches of sand - look out for Dickenson Bay in the northwest, Half Moon Bay in the east and Rendezvous Beach in the south - and, while the nightlife is generally pretty quiet, there are plenty of great places to eat and drink. But however lazy youíre feeling, itís worth making the effort to get out and see some of the country. The superbly restored naval dockyard and the crumbling forts around English Harbour and Shirley Heights are as impressive as any historic site in the West Indies, and there are lots of other little nuggets to explore, including the capital, St Johnís, with its tiny museum and colourful quayside, and the old sugar estate at Bettyís Hope. And, if youíre prepared to do a bit of walking, youíll find some superb hikes that will take you out to completely deserted parts of the island.
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History of Antigua

Hawksbill Beach, Antigua

Hawksbill Beach, Antigua

The first traces of human habitation in Antigua date to around 2900 BC when the island was occupied by Archaic people who are often described (without historical foundation according to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda) as 'Siboney'. They used stone, shell and bone tools for chipping and grinding. The Archaic people had been nomads living on fish and clams from the island's shallow waters and other wild resources whereas the Arawaks were farmers cultivating cassava and pineapple. By the first centuries AD they had been replaced by the Arawak and later by people described as Caribs. Apparently called Waladli by the Caribs, the island acquired its modern name during Christopher Columbus' second voyage to the New World in 1493. Although Columbus' expedition did no more than sail past what was then a heavily wooded island, it was named Santa Maria la Antigua after a shrine in Seville.

Colonial stamp - King George VI

The Spanish attempted a small and unsuccessful settlement in 1525 but Antigua remained largely untouched until it was claimed in 1632 by English sailors from St Kitts. Within a century the growth of the sugar plantations had led to a massive increase in the population, including 37,808 slaves, 1,230 free people of colour, and 2,590 whites. The West Indian sugar plantations were of immense importance in the 17th century, making the islands far more important to the British economy than the American colonies: imports from Antigua were three times as great as those from New England. Many of the impressive fortifications on Antigua were built to keep the French away from the island. However, relationships between the plantation owners and the slaves were notoriously poor in the next century. Emancipation in 1834 did not mean that the former slaves shared many economic privileges and it took until 1967 for Antigua and Barbuda to achieve self-government. Full independence was gained in 1981.


A History of Antigua: The Unsuspected Isle

A History of Antigua: The Unsuspected Isle

by Brian Dyde
  This is the first comprehensive history of Antigua to be written since the middle of the 19th century. It tells the story of the island from the earliest human settlement, through nearly 500 years of often disputed European possession, to the present.
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Frommer's Caribbean 2008

Frommer's Caribbean 2008

by Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince
  Completely updated every year (unlike most of the competition), Frommer's Caribbean features gorgeous color photos of the stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and colorful coral gardens that await you. There are dozens of islands and hundreds of accommodations to choose from, so our guide compares all the options, helping you find the tropical getaway that's right for you. We've included web addresses for every hotel, so you can check out pictures as you make your decision. Inside you'll find in-depth, honest reviews of lavish honeymoon resorts, intimate inns, family-friendly motels and condo complexes, and more, with selections in every price category.
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Fodor's Caribbean 2008

Fodor's Caribbean 2008

Comprehensive, up-to-date, and easy to use, Fodorís Caribbean 2008 remains the best resource for organizing your trip to these rich and varied islands. Our 2008 edition also flaunts exclusive, new features including indispensable, customized tools for planning a tropical vacation, in addition to rich photography that illustrates the distinctive culture of each island. Plus, not only will you read the expert advice of our professional travel writers, but youíll also review recommendations from everyday travelers like yourself, in our new 'Word of Mouth' features throughout the book. Fodor's Caribbean 2008 is designed so that you spend less time researching and more time relishing what lies ahead on your dream vacation. More information and prices from:
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