Antigua and Barbuda Independence Day is observed on 1 November.
This year marks the country’s 41st anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom.
Antigua and Barbuda is a sovereign country in the West Indies. It lies at the juncture of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in the Leeward Islands part of the Lesser Antilles.
The islands were first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1493 during his second voyage to the new world.
Early European settlers initially faced stiff opposition from the Carib people who inhabited the islands. Further colonisation attempts began in the mid-1600s.
British sailors from St. Kitts in 1632, founding a settlement at Falmouth on the south coast. Sir Christopher Codrington established the first large sugar estate in Antigua in 1674, with sugar production going on to dominate the country’s economy for the next 200 years.
Antigua formally became a British colony in 1667. From 1685 until 1860, the island of Barbuda was leased to the Codrington family.
Unlike many other Caribbean colonies, ownership did not pass regularly between Britain, Spain and France as imperial spats turned into conflict. Apart from a brief period of French occupation in 1666, the islands remained under British control.
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As with many other Caribbean countries, the demand for self-determination began to grow in the 20th century. It was driven by a desire for better conditions and rights for workers.
Vere C Bird formed the country’s first trade union in 1939.
The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981, with Elizabeth II as the first Queen and Vere C Bird as the first Prime Minister.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda reiterated his intentions to hold a republican referendum.