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Country Facts for Kids: Antigua and Barbuda

Updated on July 27, 2012

Introduction to Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a country located in the Caribbean Sea. It is part of the continent of North America. The country is made up of two large islands and several smaller islands.

Antigua and Barbuda is a monarchy with an elected parliament. The parliament makes the laws. Laws are the rules people have to follow.

A monarchy is a country ruled by a king or queen. The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state. She is represented by a governor. The capital city is Saint John's.

Demography

Antigua and Barbuda has a population of about 88 thousand people. The people are called Antiguans and Barbudans. English is the official language of the country but locals often speak a dialect called Antiguan Creole. A dialect is a variation or different way of speaking a language. Many of the words in Antiguan Creole come from English and various West African languages. English is the language used in schools.

Most Antiguans and Barbudans are of African descent. They are the descendents of slaves brought to the islands to work in the sugarcane fields.

The people mainly practice a religion called Christianity. The Anglican religion is practiced by about 1 out of 4 people. This is a branch of Christianity that began in England and is part of the Church of England. The Church of England is headed by the reigning British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. Most of the population is literate, which means they can read and write.

Map of Antigua and Barbuda
Map of Antigua and Barbuda

Way of Life

Antigua and Barbuda is a mix of African, British and American influences. British influence is seen in the widespread practice of the Anglican religion, the speaking of the English language and the popularity of a sport called cricket. People are influenced by American popular culture, such as music and fashion, and get much of their TV programming from American TV networks. The West African influence is seen in the popularity of the Antiguan Creole language and African rhythms in music.

Most people live in urban areas. About a third of the population lives in the capital city, St. John’s. St. John’s is a popular tourist destination. The city has a lot of restaurants, shopping and museums. Tourists and residents also like to spend time at the many beautiful beaches.

Carnival is a huge celebration that takes place every summer. It includes music, dancing, talent shows, parades and food. There is a special children’s parade. Children dress up in costumes and march through the streets. The celebrations run non-stop for 11 days. Carnival began as a celebration of freedom from slavery.

One type of music heard during Carnival is calypso. During the time of slavery, calypso was used as a method of communication. Slaves were often forbidden to speak to each other, so they used music as a way to communicate. Calypso competitions are some of the most popular Carnival events.

A sample satellite image of a lagoon
A sample satellite image of a lagoon
Antigua and Barbuda consists of two large islands and several smaller islands
Antigua and Barbuda consists of two large islands and several smaller islands

Climate and Topography

Antigua and Barbuda is located in the tropics, which is between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The tropics are a wide band that runs along the equator. Tropical areas have warm weather all throughout the year and a lot of humidity.

Antigua and Barbuda has warm or mild weather all year long. September, October and November is the rainy season. July to November is hurricane season.

The country has two main islands located in the Caribbean Sea: Antigua and Barbuda. It also has several smaller islands. The islands are part of a larger island group called the Leeward Islands. The Leeward Islands are part of a larger group called the Lesser Antilles, which is part of a still larger group called the Antilles. The Antilles is part of an area called the West Indies.

Antigua and Barbuda has low lying areas that are mainly coral and limestone rock. It has higher areas that are mainly volcanic. The highest point Boggy Peak has been renamed Mount Obama after US President Barack Obama.

There are many coral reefs around the islands. Coral reefs are made by tiny sea animals called corals. They provide a habitat for a lot of sea creatures. Divers like to visit coral reefs to view the diverse ocean life.

Codrington Lagoon is a long lagoon located in Barbuda that covers much of the west side of the island. A lagoon is a body of water separated from the ocean by a natural barrier.

Antigua and Barbuda has arable land in the areas that are of volcanic origin. The islands don’t have any rivers but Antigua has some streams. The country has 365 beaches making it a popular tourist destination.

Tourism is an important part of Antigua and Barbuda’s economy
Tourism is an important part of Antigua and Barbuda’s economy

Economy

Tourism is a big part of the economy. About 97 thousand tourists visit the islands each year, so about half of the population works in tourism. Banking is another important industry.

Farmers grow cotton, vegetables, bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugarcane, and pineapples. They keep livestock and engage in fish farming.

The country exports petroleum products, food, livestock and machinery. Imports include food, machinery and chemicals.

Antigua and Barbuda’s currency is called the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.

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