CAPITAL : St. John's
FLAG : Centered on a red background is a downward-pointing triangle divided horizontally into three bands of black, light blue, and white, the black stripe bearing a symbol of the rising sun in yellow.
ANTHEM : Begins "Fair Antigua and Barbuda, I salute thee."
MONETARY UNIT : The East Caribbean dollar ( EC $) is a paper currency of 100 cents, pegged to the US dollar. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 5, 10, 20, and 100 dollars. EC $1 = US $0.3704 (or US $1 = EC $2.70) as of January 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : Imperial measures are used, but the metric system is being introduced.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1st Monday in May; CARICOM Day, 3 July; State Day, 1 November; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Whitmonday.
TIME : 8 AM = noon GMT.
Temperatures average 24° C (75° F ) in January and 29° C (84° F ) in July, with cooling tradewinds from the east and northeast. Rainfall averages 117 cm (46 in) per year; September through November is the wettest period. The islands have been subject to periodic droughts and to autumn hurricanes.
The UK has been the historic destination of Antiguan emigrants, but in recent years St. Martin, Barbados, the US Virgin Islands, and the US mainland have been the principal recipients of the outflow. The primary motive for emigration is the search for work. The net migration rate in 2000 was -6.9 migrants per 1,000 population. The government views both the immigration and emigration levels as too high.
Antiguans are almost entirely of African descent. There are small numbers of persons of British, Portuguese, Lebanese, and Syrian ancestry.
English is the official and commercial language. An English patois is in common use.
The island of Antigua has six parishes and two dependencies, Barbuda and Redonda. Twenty-nine community councils, each with nine members, five elected and four appointed, conduct local government affairs.
There is a Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force of some 170 active personnel (army 125, navy 45) and 75 reserves. The navy has three patrol craft. The military budget in 1998 was $4 million or 0.6% of GDP.
About 11% of the land is forested, mainly by plantings of red cedar, mahogany, white cedar, and acacia. A reforestation program was begun in 1963, linked with efforts to improve soil and water conservation.
Few of the islands' mineral resources, which included limestone, building stone, clay, and barite, were exploited until recently. Limestone and volcanic stone have been extracted from Antigua for local construction purposes, and the manufacture of bricks and tiles from local clay has begun on a small scale. Barbuda produced a small amount of salt, while phosphate has been collected from Redonda.
Technological services for the fishing industry, such as the introduction of depth finders and hydraulic gear, are provided by the government. An extramural department of the University of the West Indies offers technical courses, as does Antigua State College. The University of Health Sciences at St. John's, founded in 1982, has a school of medicine.
There are several life insurance companies on the islands.
Antigua and Barbuda adheres to the common external tariff schedule of CARICOM; rates (which range up to 35%) are generally ad valorem, based on the cost, insurance, and freight value, and a wide range of goods is permitted duty-free entry. Additional special rates are applied for tobacco, cement, petroleum products, vans and trucks, and certain types of timber.
The largest library is the St. John's Public Library located in St. John's, Leeward Islands, with 50,000 volumes. The library at the University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies on St. John's has 10,000 volumes. There is an archaeological museum near St. John's.
The first successful colonizer of Antigua was Sir Thomas Warner (d.1649). Vere Cornwall Bird, Sr. (1910–99) was prime minister from 1981–94. (Isaac) Vivian Alexander ("Viv") Richards (b.1952) is a famous cricketer.
Antigua and Barbuda has no territories or colonies.
Berleant-Schiller, Riva. Antigua and Barbuda. Oxford: Clio, 1995.
Coram, Robert. Caribbean Time Bomb: The United States' Complicity in the Corruption of Antigua. New York: Morrow, 1993.
Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.
Kelly, Robert C. et al., (eds.) Antigua and Barbuda Country Review 1999/2000. Houston: Commercial Data International, 1999.
Lazarus-Black, Mindie. Legitimate Acts and Illegal Encounters: Law and Society in Barbuda and Antigua. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.