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Antigua and Barbuda Overview

Antigua and Barbuda
Official language English
Capital Saint John's
Form of government Independent Commonwealth parliamentary monarchy
Area 443 km²
Residents 84,000
Currency East Caribbean dollar
Time zone UTC -4
License Plate AG
Internet TLD .ag
Telephone area code 001

Geography

Antigua and Barbuda OverviewThe Central American island nation, which lies in the Caribbean, includes three islands: Antigua with an area of ​​280 km², Barbuda with 161 km² and Redonde with 1.6 km². The islands belong to the northern Lesser Antilles (Leeward Islands). Like the other Caribbean islands, they originated from volcanic eruptions around 10 million years ago. The Sheekerley Mountains (Boggy Peak, 403 m) in southwest Antigua are also made of volcanic rock. The rest of the island's surfaces consist of coral lime and are mostly flat and karstified.

Antigua is 12 km long and around 18 km wide, has a coastline rich in bays and many offshore coral reefs.

Barbuda is about 40 km east of Antigua, the highest point is about 40 m above sea level. Long sandy beaches are typical of the island.

The island of Redonde, which is only 1.6 square kilometers in size, rises steeply from the sea to over 300 m, has no natural harbors and is not inhabited. The capital of the island state, Saint John's, is located in Antigua.

Climate

The tropical climate is characterized by the north-east trade wind, the temperatures are constant all year round (average in January and July at 25 กใ C). The rainy season is from May to September and the annual rainfall is around 1,050 mm. Antigua and Barbuda are located within the hurricane-prone area of ​​the Caribbean, the hurricanes occur mainly in the months of June to November.

Flora and fauna

The vegetation on the island nation is poor in species. During the colonial period, the existing forests were cut down in favor of plantations. In the southwest of Antigua there are still remains of deciduous and bush forests. There are even larger trees in Barbuda and there are areas with mangroves on the coast. Large parts of the island have been declared a nature reserve.

Wild boars and isolated deer live in the forests of larger mammals on the islands, and the donkey introduced by the Europeans also lives wild here. In addition to reptiles (lizards, turtles), over 150 bird species have been observed. The Barbuda bird reserve has a large colony of frigate birds.

Population

In total, the population of Antigua and Barbuda comprises around 84,000 people. According to COUNTRYAAH, around 30,000 live in Antigua's capital, Saint John's (the only larger town in Barbuda is Codrington with just under 1,000 residents). A good 90% of the total population are blacks, descendants of the slaves abducted from Africa. Mixed breeds and whites (mostly of British origin) form small minorities. Around 75% of the population belong to the Anglican Church, around 10% are Catholics; a minority of 1.2% are Jehovah's Witnesses.

The life expectancy of women is 76 and that of men 72 years. The population growth is given as 1.3%. The literacy rate of 89% is relatively high compared to other Caribbean countries, children are required to attend school.

The usual language is Creole English.

Political system

The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is an independent parliamentary monarchy in the British Commonwealth. The constitution dates from 1981. The head of state is the British monarch Elizabeth II, who is represented by a governor-general who mainly fulfills representative functions (since August 2014 Rodney Williams). The government is headed by the Prime Minister (Gaston Browne since June 2014).

The legislature lies with the parliament. It consists of the Senate with 17 appointed members and the Chamber of Deputies with 19 members (17 elected, 1 ex officio, 1 spokesman).

Antigua and Barbuda is divided into six districts and two secondary areas (Dependencies; Barbuda and Redonda).

Economy

Tourism has replaced sugar cane cultivation as the most important economic factor since the 1970s, and over three quarters of the gross domestic product (GDP) is generated by tourism. Around a quarter million tourists visit the islands every year.

Agriculture only makes up around 2% of the gross domestic product; the most important crops are cotton, vegetables, fruit, sugar cane and cereals. The industry is poorly developed, there are mostly food processing companies.

By granting tax benefits, the island nation was able to establish itself as an international financial center.

There is an international airport (VC Bird) on Antigua, the capital of Saint John's has a deep-sea port that can also be reached by large cruise ships. Antigua is well developed and has around 1 200 km of roads, of which only about 400 km are paved. There are only sandy roads on Barbuda.

The currency is the East Caribbean dollar.


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