Written by: Gary Wonning
Named the “Gateway to the Caribbean” ,Antigua means “ancient” in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus in 1493. It’s history dates back several thousand years as the island was first settled by the Ciboney Indians. Having inhabited the island for several thousand years , they one day suddenly and mysteriously disappeared
After the demise of the Ciboney Indians, the Arawak’s settled here from Venezuela. The Arawaks are credited with introducing farming to the tiny island paradise. The last group to inhabit the island were the warlike and cannibalistic Caribs , who were living here when Columbus first visited.
As is the case with many of the Caribbean Islands, agriculture played a major role in the economic well being of the island, with corn; sweet potatoes and sugar cane being the major commodities. Today, tourism is the major industry of the island. Much to the chagrin of the United states it also has become a major player in the online gaming industry. The United States has tried continuously to halt the operations, but so far the international community refuses to support America.
Nelson’s Dockyard, established in 1725 located in English Harbor has become a major attraction.Today it is the only remaining Georgian Naval Yard. It has become a favorite with yachties and remains the site of one of the world’s top five favorite regattas.Named after Horatio Nelson,Senior Naval Officer of the Leeward Islands from 1784 to 1787 . During his tenure, he tried to enforce the Navigation Acts. These acts prohibited trade with the newly formed United States of America. Most of the merchants in Antigua depended heavily upon American commerce,
so many of them despised Lord Nelson. As a result, he was unable to get
a promotion for some time after his stint on the island.
Since the arrival of the Europeans and the establishment of slavery, the island has become home to a multitude of cultures and religions creating a lot of diversity.
An Active volcano, Montserrat seen in the background is located on the tiny island with the same name. Seen here from Fort Shirley high on a cliff overlooking the harbor and ocean. The volcano has been showing signs of erupting since the early 1990s. Soufrie HIlls Volcano , previously dormant for 400 years began erupting on April 26, 1995 and thus destroyed the capitol city of Plymouth.
Even though the volcano erupted in 1995, it has been relatively quiet since, the island remains relatively green and lush, although the residents of the island maintain a watchful eye .
When the sightseeing is complete, Antigua offers much shopping and restaurants to replenish your body. Be on the lookout for a familiar face, as Antigua has become a favorite hangout for personalities and celebrities from around the world.
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Gary has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature,landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt,the Canary Islands,much of the Caribbean. He has studied the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!
He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.
For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks,and contact information: please check his website.www.commonsensejourneys.com
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