It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guinea, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda).The permanent population numbers about 81,800 (at the 2011 Census) and the capital and largest port and city is St. Separated by a few nautical miles, Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17°N of the equator.The British ruled from 1632 to 1981, with a brief French interlude in 1666.
Its governance, language, and culture have all been strongly influenced by the British Empire, of which the country was formerly a part.
Antigua is Spanish for "ancient" and Barbuda is Spanish for "bearded".
The English settled on Antigua in 1632; Sir Christopher Codrington settled on Barbuda in 1684.
Slavery, established to run sugar plantations around 1684, was abolished in 1834.
Others believe the reportedly abundant but starchy, low-protein diet may have contributed to their severe malnutrition as they were used to a diet fortified with protein from the sea.
The Spaniards did not colonise Antigua because it lacked fresh water but not aggressive Caribs.They were succeeded by the ceramic age pre-Columbian Arawak-speaking Saladoid people who migrated from the lower Orinoco River.The Arawaks introduced agriculture, raising, among other crops, the famous Antigua black pineapple (Moris cultivar of Ananas comosus), corn, sweet potatoes (white with firmer flesh than the bright orange "sweet potato" most often used in the United States), chiles, guava, tobacco, and cotton.The highest point on Antigua is Mount Obama (formerly Boggy Peak), the remnant of a volcanic crater rising 402 metres (1,319 feet). Both islands lack adequate amounts of fresh groundwater.The shorelines of both islands are greatly indented with beaches, lagoons, and natural harbours. Rainfall averages 990 mm (39 in) per year, with the amount varying widely from season to season.In general the wettest period is between September and November.