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Antigua and Barbuda


Ciboney, Arawak, Commonwealth of Nations, labor movement, Carib

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>  Colonization

>  After Independence

The first inhabitants of the islands were the Ciboney, who were related to the Arawak. Archaeological evidence points to settlements dating from around 2400 bc. Between ad 35 and 1100 the Arawak lived on Antigua, but the Carib were in residence at the time of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, during his second voyage. He named the island Santa Maria de la Antigua after a church in Seville, Spain, but did not settle it. Subsequent attempts by both the French and Spanish to establish colonies were fought off by the Carib.

Rise of the Antigua Labour Party

Vere Cornwall Bird became the president of the labor movement in 1943 and, with other trade unionists, formed the Antigua Labour Party (ALP). In 1946 the ALP won the first of many elections. Bird, his family, and the ALP then dominated Antiguan politics for decades.

In 1967 Antigua attained associated status with the United Kingdom, an arrangement that gave it full internal self-government. It achieved independence in November 1981 as a single territory with Barbuda, despite a campaign for separate independence by the Barbudans. As a concession to enable independence to go ahead, Barbuda was granted considerable internal autonomy. However, the pressures for separation have not gone away; the Barbudan People’s Movement, which advocates self-government, has since dominated Barbuda’s politics. Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Article key phrases:

Ciboney, Arawak, Commonwealth of Nations, labor movement, Carib, ALP, Seville, concession, settlements, pressures, inhabitants, colonies, Spain, elections, voyage, United Kingdom, time, Rise, bc, church, separation, family, president, November, campaign, residence, arrangement, islands, decades, member

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