Essay on History Of Antigua And Barbuda Islands

Essay on History Of Antigua And Barbuda Islands

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The Antigua and Barbuda islands are well renowned for their destination as one of the leading tourist resorts in the Caribbean. Tourism dominates Antigua and Barbuda’s economy accounting for more than half of the country’s GDP (CIA World Fact Book). When people vacation in this paradise they do not know the extensive history that is present on the island. Many Antiguans are involved in creating an atmosphere that conceals the painful history that existed in Antigua. In this paper I will focus on the history of Africans in Antigua, and show how these Africans developed into the Antiguans we know today.

Pre-Colonial Antigua

The history of the Caribbean Islands of Antigua and Barbuda start with the first inhabitants in 2400 B.C. The Siboney people, who are classified as cave dwellers occupied the island. Eventually they migrated to another area in the Caribbean that left Antigua and Barbuda available for the next occupants, the Arawak (a Taino tribe), who replaced the Siboney circa 1200 A.D. It was the Arawak people who introduced agriculture on the island of Antigua. Some of the agriculture they cultivated includes sweet potatoes, corn, black pineapples, and guava. All of these crops remain staples in Antiguan culture today. The majority of the Arawaks eventually journeyed out of Antigua circa 1500 A.D., which allowed the Carib’s, to invade Antigua. The Caribs (a Kalinago tribe) had superior weapons and seafaring expertise that allowed them to defeat the Arawak’s and control their land. It is important to note that there were black members of the Kalinago tribe, known as Black Carib’s (Scott). This result of indigenous people mixed with Amerindian and African descent come from African expeditions to the Americas well before Europe...


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...el, 120).” This example provides a direct link to the ancestry of the black population currently living in Antigua today.
According to a report by Antiguan Governor in 1676, the island was able to purchase 1000 slaves annually.” (Gasper 68). This led to the African population to increase steadily, and surpass the European population. In 1736, enslaved Africans made up 85% of the population in Antigua, with approximately 24,400 of them on the island (Dash). This population distinction led to white planters being extremely abusive to enslaved Africans. Consequently, an atmosphere was created in which the white Antiguan society would try to thwart any slave revolts, by means of lashings, dismembering, hanging, burning, castrating, and other inhumane atrocities. However, the spirit of the enslaved African could not remain in bondage, no matter the severe consequences.

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