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Antiguans and Barbudans

Antiguans and Barbudans



Identification. The country Antigua and Barbuda includes two of the Leeward Islands located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Settled by English colonists in the seventeenth century, the islands have a history of slavery and British colonial rule. Antigua and Barbuda won independence in 1981. The national motto is "Each endeavouring, all achieving."

Location. Antigua measures 281 square kilometers in area, and Barbuda 161 square kilometers. A third island, uninhabited Redonda (3.25 square kilometers), is a dependency of the state. Volcanic and comprised of limestone, Antigua is generally flat, except for the southwestern section, which is the site of the highest point, Boggy Peak (403 meters). The coastline has many fine white sandy beaches, some protected by dense bush, and many natural harbors. Antigua's vegetation is evergreen and deciduous forest and evergreen woodland. Most of the country's government buildings are located in the capital, Saint John's, together with a central market, schools, banks, shops and restaurants, a deep-water harbor, and, since the late 1980s, a modern tourist complex.

Relatively isolated Barbuda lies some 50 kilometers to the northeast. It is a coral island covered with open scrub. Cattle, deer, guinea fowl, and hogs roam freely through the bush. Barbuda's unsafe harbors have contributed to its isolation over the centuries; regular air service from Antigua began only in 1961. Almost all of Barbuda's 1,200 residents live in historic Codrington Village. The island has a few shops, some resort hotels where people find seasonal work, an elementary school, a health clinic, and several churches.

Demography. Antigua and Barbuda's population, according to the 1991 census, was 60,840 persons (29,638 men and 31,202 women, a ratio of 105 females for every 100 males); of these, only 2 percent lived on Barbuda. The vast majority of Antiguans and Barbudans, 60,148 persons, live in private households. Most of the islanders are African Caribbean people, their ancestors having been brought as slaves in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Other groups include a few remaining descendants of British colonists, the progeny of Portuguese indentured servants who came in the mid-nineteenth century under planter-inspired schemes to find field laborers, and the children of Syrian and Lebanese traders who arrived at the turn of the twentieth century. West Indians from other islands and a small group of expatriates from the United States, Canada, and England reside in Antigua as well.

Linguistic Affiliation. Antiguans and Barbudans speak English, although there is a creole dialect most commonly heard in the countryside. Most citizens are literate.

History and Cultural Relations

Antigua and Barbuda's first indigenous people included Siboney and later Arawak Indians. These were hunting and fishing peoples whose settlements have been located at several sites on both islands. From their villages in Dominica and Saint Kitts, Carib Indians raided the Arawak and later the European colonists on Antigua and Barbuda. The first English colonists arrived in Antigua in 1632. They were led by Sir Thomas Warner, who had earlier headed an expedition to Saint Christopher (now Saint Kitts). These colonists and their indentured servants grew tobacco, cotton, and subsistence crops and defended themselves against the Carib and the French. Within a few years, they had devised a regular system of government, complete with elected assemblies, governors' councils, parish vestries, and a hierarchy of courts. By the early eighteenth century the colonists had adjusted their legal codes to the exigencies of managing an economy devoted to sugar and organized around plantation slavery (Lazarus-Black 1994). Gaspar estimates that 60,820 African slaves were imported to Antigua between 1671 and 1763 (1985, 75). Slaves accounted for 41.6 percent of the population in 1672; 80.5 percent in 1711; and 93.5 percent in 1774 (p. 83).

Unlike Antigua, Barbuda never developed sugar estates. Early attempts by English settlers to farm the island were unsuccessful, and the Carib proved a constant menace. In 1685 the Crown leased Barbuda to the Codrington family for a payment "unto her Majesty yearly and every year one Fat Sheep if demanded" (Hall 1971, 59). The Codringtons used the island as a supply depot, manufacturing center, and slave "seasoning" area. Until 1898, when the Antiguan legislature assumed responsibility for its government, the islanders, most of them descendants of Codrington's slaves, were without political representation or social services.

Slavery was abolished in 1834, but much of the political, social, and economic organization of these islands remained largely unchanged over the next century. Barbudans continued to reside in Codrington Village, working subsistence gardens, fishing, and hunting. In Antigua, there was little land available for purchase and few jobs beyond those offered on the estates. Workers remained in very impoverished conditions and most continued to plant and harvest sugarcane under the terms of the infamous Contract Act. Reform began with the legalization of trade unions in 1940, higher wages, and the extension of political representation in the 1950s and 1960s.


The largest town, Saint Johns, is on the northwestern coast of Antigua. It is the hub of island activity. Beyond Saint Johns, villages dot the rural Antiguan landscape. Many of these were founded immediately after Emancipation and adopted names such as "Liberta" and "Freetown." The freedmen built wattle-and-daub (wood frame and straw) houses for their families in preference to residing on the sugar estates. Churches became centers of religious and social life in these villages. Today the villages of Parham, Bolans, All Saints, and English Harbour are large enough to serve as centers for schools, police stations, courts, post offices, and other government services. Barbudans mostly reside in Codrington Village. Despite opposition from the government in Antigua, they continue to insist upon communal ownership of the land beyond the village.


Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Antigua's economy remained almost singularly devoted to sugarcane for more than two centuries. The last sugar factory closed in 1972, but there are periodic attempts to revive that industry. Agricultural production is moving toward greater diversification, which includes fruits, vegetables, and grains (World Bank 1985, 15-16).

Tourism began to develop haltingly in the early 1960s; by the 1980s it had become the single most important economic activity in Antigua. Its direct value now accounts for approximately 21 percent of the gross domestic product, and at least 12 percent of the labor force is directly employed in this sector (World Bank 1985, 24). Other economic sectors include the personal-service industries, distributive trades, construction, transport, agriculture, and fishing. The government employs some 30 percent of the total work force (p. 4). Unemployment remained at around 20 percent through the first half of the 1980s.

Industrial Arts. Industrial activity includes processing local agricultural produce; some manufacturing of clothing, furniture, and household goods; and production of rum and other beverages. In 1983 manufactured exports represented about 85 percent of total domestic exports (World Bank 1985, 20). A handful of firms produce more than half of the output and employ at least half of the industrial work force. Crude oil, machinery, automobiles, luxury consumer items, and clothing are imported.

Trade. Antigua exports cotton, pineapples, live animals, rum, tobacco, and animal and vegetable products. Provision crops are consumed locally, with surpluses passed on to family and friends or sold for extra cash. The middle class depends heavily on imported foods and consumer items. People travel abroad specifically to shop for retail goods.

Division of Labor. Holding multiple jobs and sharing jobs are common in Antigua and Barbuda. For example, a man may work as a carpenter, keep cows, and rent a house. The growth of tourism has enabled many more people, particularly women, to enter the labor force. For the most part, however, household chores, tending gardens and domestic animals, and child care remain women's work even if they hold full-time jobs.

Land Tenure. The government owns nearly 60 percent of the available land in Antigua. The practice of offering short-term leases to individuals has not proved particularly conducive to land improvement. Barbudans individually own their homes in Codrington Village, but they hold in common lands beyond the village.


Kin Groups and Descent. Antiguans and Barbudans trace family relationships bilaterally through blood and law. Family is very important, both to one's social identity and for social, economic, and political support. A woman is said to have a child "for" a man, a way of noting that children create new social bonds and alliances. Marriage is the preferred form of union, but many persons marry later in life after their families have been established. Families are generally large, and they may include legitimate ("inside") as well as illegitimate ("outside") children who are socially acknowledged. Because of the small populations of these islands, people have extensive knowledge about kinship ties and histories.

Kinship Terminology. Antiguans and Barbudans inherited the kinship terminology of the British colonists who settled these islands, but they do not make a linguistic distinction between "half and "whole" siblings. "Aunty" and "uncle" may be used as terms of respect for elders. Another departure from English tradition is that men and women who have lived together for some time may refer to each other as "wife" or "husband" even though the couple is not legally married.

Marriage and Family

Marriage and Family Structure. Scholars have gone to great lengths to try to explain the high rates of illegitimacy, the prevalence and popularity of three different conjugal forms (visiting unions, concubinage, and legal marriage), and the pervasiveness of female-headed households in the English-speaking Caribbean. Early efforts to explain these patterns centered on slavery; historians argued that bondage made marriage and a stable family life impossible. An alternative perspective suggested that slaves retained vestiges of African polygamy and matrilineal kinship practices. Others have attributed West Indian kinship and household organization to economic factors, particularly persistent poverty, male migration, and other social and demographic factors.

Historical investigations suggest there was never a single type of slave family form in the Caribbean (Higman 1984). As was true throughout the region, Antiguan slaves toiled in different socioeconomic contexts, and these influenced the content and forms of their conjugal and reproductive practices. Slaves on large estates, for example, might have experienced relative stability in their day-to-day lives and had access to a pool of potential conjugal partners on their own and nearby estates. Slaves who labored in towns, in contrast, were more likely to live in mother-child households than were field laborers (pp. 373, 371). The record shows a pattern in which most slaves had a number of partners early in life and later settled into longterm unions with single partners. Certain men of unusual talent, wit, or charisma, however, maintained multiple unions.

Religion and law exerted important influences on the marriage and kinship practices of Antiguans. By the end of the slave trade in 1807, for example, the missions claimed to have converted about 28 percent of the Black and Colored population in Antigua, Saint Kitts, Montserrat, Nevis, and the British Virgin Islands (based on Goveia 1965, 307). Early in the nineteenth century, free colonists, including free persons of color, married in the Anglican church in Saint Johns (Lazarus-Black 1994).

For much of Antigua's early history, there were three separate marriage laws, each corresponding directly to a person's role in the island's division of labor. Free Antiguans, for example, were married by Anglican ministers. These men generally married women of their own social standing in the community, but some also entered into nonlegal unions with women of color. In contrast, "respectable" free women married and refrained from extramarital affairs. Ministers were forbidden by law, however, from performing marriages for slaves or indentured servants unless the latter had permission from their masters. After 1798, a special marriage law, only partially resembling that pertaining to free persons, governed the unions of slaves. A child of a slave marriage was not allowed to take the father's surname or inherit property. The law did provide for a public declaration of a couple's intention to live together, monetary awards from masters for marrying, and a brief ceremony in which the marriage was officially recorded in the estate records. After slavery ended in 1834, there was a single marriage code. Nevertheless, the establishment of families without formal legal confirmation remained commonplace across the social classes.

Domestic Unit. Married couples prefer to live in their own households, although needy relatives and friends are welcomed. If a couple is unmarried and the man is "visiting," the children usually reside with their mother. Kinship and the domestic unit are not coterminous; many children live away from their biological parents, and some children grow up in several different households. Parents make choices about where a child should reside, considering the economy of the household, people's work patterns, the need to care for the elderly, educational opportunities, and the simple fact that a relative may ask for a child to keep from being lonely.

Inheritance. Since 1987 it has been illegal to discriminate against a person because of birth status; a child born out of wedlock may readily be legally acknowledged by his or her father, and any child so recognized can inherit from the father's estate. The islanders usually divide inheritances equally among their children. A married man often remembers his illegitimate children in his will or with a gift made during his lifetime.

Socialization. Children are desired by both men and women, although women have primary responsibility for children's early care. In the past, many children were cared for by female relatives or older siblings. Today day-care centers and preschools are an option. Nevertheless, the extended family remains crucially important in children's socialization.

Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. The contemporary social structure consists of a small socioeconomic elite and two broad classes, middle and lower. The elite includes high-ranking political officials, local businessmen, major landholders, senior attorneys, and a few foreign entrepreneurs and expatriates who play important roles in the economy but who are noticeably absent from the official political process. The homes, cars, leisure activities, and family life of the elite are virtually indistinguishable from those of people in Antigua's middle class. The middle class includes young lawyers, landowners, teachers, clergymen, retailers, members of the civil service, and the few industrialists. The upper strata of the lower class consists of a petite bourgeoisie who own some productive resources and who may be self-employed. The large working class includes agricultural workers, fishermen, domestics, hotel workers, and common laborers. Barbudans are relatively homogeneous in terms of their homes and life-style; most are working class.

Political Organization. Few Antiguans could meet the property qualifications for voting, much less running for office, until well into the twentieth century. Planters controlled local politics until labor unrest heralded a movement for political reform. Adult suffrage was granted in 1951. Shortly thereafter, election rules were changed to allow greater participation among the working people. Independence occurred through a series of stages that Henry (1985) refers to as "constitutional decolonization." In 1969 the islands became associated states, gaining control of their internal affairs. Since 1981, Antigua and Barbuda has become a parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislature and an elected prime ministen The governor-general is the representative of the British Crown. The government has proclaimed a nonaligned foreign policy but maintains its strongest political and economic ties with Britain, Canada, and the United States. There are two major political parties, the Antigua Labour party and the United Progressive party. The former, led by V. C. Bird, Sr., has been politically dominant since 1946.

Social Control. Antiguans and Barbudans pride themselves on being a law-abiding people; the crime rate remains low. A police force and a four-tiered court system presently serve the islands. The first tier consists of the magistrates' courts, which decide some family cases, disputes between persons over small property claims, personal grievances, traffic matters, and minor assaults. The High Court settles major civil and criminal cases. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean meets intermittently. Because Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Commonwealth, cases decided by the Supreme Court may be appealed to the Privy Council in England.

Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. There have been two major waves of missionary activity in Antigua. The first occurred at the end of the eighteenth century, spurred by the arrival of Methodist and Moravian ministers on the island. The second wave of proselytizing began around World War I and gained momentum during the years of the Great Depression. Today the Anglican church has the largest following. Other large congregations include the Moravian, Methodist, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Pilgrim Holiness, and Pentecostal churches. Churches have historically played a very important role in the lives of Antiguans and Barbudans, and they remain very important today. Despite Barbuda's small size, more than half a dozen churches find congregations.

Some people also believe in a body of knowledge and set of rites called obeah. Deriving from Africa, obeah can be used for a variety of purposes including healing, causing sickness or other physical harm, determining who has been guilty of theft, "fixing" a court case, and ensuring that a loved one will remain faithful. It is illegal, but practitioners are mainly ignored by police.

Religious Practitioners. Ministers are accorded high prestige in the community. In addition to their roles as spiritual leaders, they provide psychological counseling and often mediate in conflicts among their parishioners.

Ceremonies. Antiguans and Barbudans celebrate with friends and relatives a child's birth, baptism, and marriage. Weddings and funerals are very important and elaborate events. Independence Day is celebrated on 1 November.

Arts. Cricket is the national sport. Antiguans and Barbudans also take great pride in their music. Calypso and steelbands are very popular, and there are annual competitions at Carnival at the end of July to determine the best songs, singers, and bands. During Carnival, troupes march in colorful costumes in the street and excited viewers "jump-up" enthusiastically to urge the revelers on. Visitors to Antigua can see an overview of the country's history at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda in Saint Johns. Choral and theatrical groups perform occasionally.


Gaspar, David Barry (1985). Bondmen and Rebels: A Study of Master-Slave Relations in Antigua. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Goveia, Elsa V. (1965). Slave Society in the British Leeward Islands at the End of the Eighteenth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Hall, Douglas (1971). Five of the Leewards, 1834-1870. Saint Lawrence, Barbados: Caribbean Universities Press.

Henry, Paget (1985). Peripheral Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Antigua. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books.

Higman, B. W. (1984). Slave Populations of the British Caribbean 1807-1834. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Lazarus-Black, Mindie (1994). Legitimate Acts and Illegal Encounters: Law and Society in Antigua and Barbuda. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

World Bank (1985). Antigua and Barbuda Economic Report. Washington, D.C.


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Antiguans and Barbudans

Antiguans and Barbudans

PRONUNCIATION: an-TEE-gahns and bar-BYEW-dahns

LOCATION: Antigua and Barbuda


LANGUAGE: English; Creole dialect

RELIGION: Anglican; other Protestant Christian groups; Roman Catholicism


The nation of Antigua and Barbuda consists of two islands located in the Caribbean Sea. Christopher Columbus sighted Antigua in 1493 and gave it its original name, Santa María de la Antigua. Spanish, French, British, and Dutch colonizers avoided Antigua and Barbuda. However, in 1632 a group of British settlers sailed from the nearby island of St. Kitts and established tobacco and ginger plantations.n-Except for a brief period of French rule in 1666, Antigua and neighboring Barbuda remained under British control for over 300 years. The islands became major producers of sugar, with the work done mostly by slaves brought to the islands from Africa.

The slaves were emancipated (freed) in 1834 but their living conditions were little better than they had been under slavery, since they had no way to get food and shelter. Antigua and Barbuda won the right to self-govern, with no control by the British, in 1967. Full independence followed in 1981. Some residents of Barbuda wanted to separate from Antigua. They were convinced to remain united with Antigua with the promise that Barbuda could control its own affairs. Barbudans continue to feel they have been ignored by both the British (before independence) and the majority on Antigua (after independence). A Barbudan proverb expresses this feeling: "Barbuda is behind God's back."


Antigua and Barbudaclose to the midpoint of the island chain known as the Lesser Antillesis located at the outer curve of the Leeward Islands, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Antigua is 404 miles (650 kilometers) southeast of Cuba. With an area of 108 square miles (281 square kilometers), it is the second-largest of the Leeward Islands and about two-thirds the size of New York City. Barbuda lies about 31 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Antigua and is about half its size.

Barbuda has sandy beaches and a large lagoon and mangrove swamp on its western side. The island was leased to a single British family for nearly 200 years and has only one village, Codrington.

The population of Antigua and Barbuda is just under 75,000, of whom 1,200 live on Barbuda. St. John's, the country's capital and economic center, has an estimated population of 35,000 to 40,000 people.


English is the official language of Antigua and Barbuda, but most inhabitants speak a dialect that is based on standard English combined with African expressions and local slang. Standard English pronunciation and grammar are also modified.

One of the most noticeable differences is in the form of pronouns used as the subject of a sentence, as in "Her my friend." Antiguans and Barbudans also omit the helping verb "to be." The standard English version of the previous sentence is, "She is my friend."


Obeah, a collection of beliefs and practices from Africa, has followers in Antigua and Barbuda, even though it has been declared illegal. Believers say it can heal the sick, harm one's enemies, and even be used for such common purposes as "fixing" a court case. Its features include a belief in spirits (of which the best-known are jumbies ) and the use of herbal potions.

A number of proverbs are shared among Antiguans and Barbudans to reflect on aspects of daily life. Examples are:

Better man belly bus' than good food waste.
Every dog is lion in he own backyard.
Mout' open, story jump out.
Stone under water na know when sun hot.
No fisherman ever say he fish stink.
De worse o' livin' better than de bes' o' dead.


About 45 percent of the population belongs to the Anglican Church, also known as the Church of England. The Anglican Cathedral overlooking the capital city of St. John's is one of Antigua's oldest landmarks. Other Christian groups account for about 42 percent of the population, and about 8 percent are Roman Catholic.


Public holidays in Antigua and Barbuda include New Year's Day (January 1), Labor Day (first Monday in May), CARICOM Day (July 3), Independence Day (November 1), Christmas (December 25), and Boxing Day (December 26). The Christian holidays of Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Whit Monday are celebrated, and occur on different dates each year. (CARICOM Day commemorates the founding in 1973 of the Caribbean Community and Common Market.)

The nation of Antigua and Barbuda is particularly known for its Carnival celebration, held in late July through the first Tuesday in August. Most of the festivities take place in the capital city of St. John's, including street parades led by revelers wearing elaborate glittering costumes, calypso and steel drum music, street dancing ("jump-up"), and contests. The climax of the festival is J'Ouvert on the first Monday in August. Then, thousands of celebrants pour into the streets at 4:00 am in a frenzy of dancing accompanied by steel drum and brass bands. The island of Barbuda holds its own, more modest, Carnival celebration, Caribana, in June.


Most young men and women go through the Christian ceremony of religious confirmation, performed around age thirteen. Other major life transitions, such as birth, marriage, and death, are also marked by Christian ceremonies.


"Aunty" and "Uncle" are sometimes used as terms of respect in addressing anyone older than the person speaking. A woman may be addressed with "Mistress" before her last name. A handshake is a customary greeting among business associates.


Most Antiguans and Barbudans live in houses constructed of concrete and wood, with at least two bedrooms, a living/dining room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Most homes on both islands now have indoor plumbing and electricity.


Couples in Antigua and Barbuda follow customs similar to those on other English-speaking islands in the Caribbean. They may be legally married or may live together without being married. Another arrangement is called a "visiting union." This is where a man and woman consider themselves a couple, but live apart. In this arrangement, the woman raises the children. Many children are raised by relatives other than their parents. Some children grow up in a succession of different households. Where a child lives depends on the family situation, including the parents' financial situation and employment, and whether there are grandparents to care for.


Pepperpot Soup

This is an Antiguan and Barbudan recipe. It is served with fungi (cornmeal pudding) or dumplings, but cornbread can be used instead.


  • 1 pound salt beef or other fresh meat, cut up (optional)
  • 1 pound salt pork
  • 2 pig's feet (¼ pound ham or Canadian bacon may be substituted)
  • 1 pig snout (1 Tablespoon ketchup may be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • ¼ pound fresh spinach, cut into large pieces
  • 1 large eggplant, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons margarine
  • 4 okras, diced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 pound chopped spinach
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup pumpkin, diced
  • 1 cup squash, diced
  • 2 cups green peas, cooked
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chives or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Fry the meat, stirring occasionally, until it is almost cooked. Remove the meat to a plate.
  3. Add all of the vegetables (except peas) and about 1 cup of water to the soup pot. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Mash about a third of the vegetables with a potato masher or spoon.
  5. Add the meat back into the pot. Add the peas, chives, and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook until thick. For a thicker soup, more vegetables may be mashed.

Couples may have children whether they are legally married or not. A 1987 law made it illegal to discriminate against children born out of wedlock. Children inherit from their parents, whether or not the mother and father were married.

Antigua and Barbuda is a popular tourist destination, and many women work in the tourist industry. The lack of child care can make it complicated for Antiguan mothers and fathers to raise their children.


The people of Antigua and Barbuda wear modern Western-style clothing. Colorful costumes are worn by many during the Carnival celebration in August.

In 1992, a competition to select a national costume was held as a part of the islands' eleventh anniversary of independence. The winning design was submitted by native Antiguan Heather Doram. The costume has versions for men and women, and is worn by many Antiguans and Barbudans on Heritage Day, the last business day before Independence Day, November 1. The costume features madras fabric, introduced from India after Antigua won independence.


The Creole food of Antigua and Barbuda is similar to that of other West Indian nations and includes such basics as rice and peas, pumpkin soup, and pepperpot soup. Fish and shellfish are an important part of the diet. The regional species of spiny lobster is especially popular, as are crabs and conch. Fungi, a sort of cornmeal pudding made with boiled okra, is another staple on the islands. It is usually served with salt fish.

Breadfruit (originally introduced to the region from the East Indies) is another staple. Meat-filled pastries ("pasties") are sold by street vendors. The country's most distinctive fruit is the Antigua black pineapple, which is exceptionally sweet.


Primary and secondary education is mandatory between the ages of five and sixteen. Pre-primary schooling is available from the age of three. The educational system in Antigua and Barbuda is based on the British system, which has grade levels called "forms." There are forty-five primary schools and twelve secondary schools on the islands. Although the nation has a literacy rate of 90 percent, there are serious problems in the educational system. These include a shortage of qualified teachers and inadequate facilities and supplies.


The music of the Fife Band is an important part of the islands' musical heritage. The band is made up of a stringed guitar, drum, and fife (or flute).

Internationally famous author Jamaica Kincaid was born and grew up on the island of Antigua and now lives in the United States. Her novels, short stories, and essays provide a vivid portrait of the Antiguan people and way of life. Kincaid has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since the 1970s, and her 1988 book-length essay, A Small Place, harshly criticizes British colonialism, the tourist industry, and government corruption and neglect in Antigua.

Antiguan playwright Dorbrene "Fats" Omarde is known for dramas that address the social and political issues confronting his country.


The majority of people in Antigua and Barbuda are employed by the government. About 11 percent of the people work in agriculture; industry employs the remaining 7 percent. Since tourism-related jobs are seasonal, it is a common practice to have ore than one source of income. This may require people to take on such part-time agricultural pursuits as keeping livestock or selling produce from backyard farming. Fishing is an important source of income on Barbuda, as are government employment and tourism.


Cricket, a left-over from the British rule, is the national sport of Antigua and Barbuda. The country has produced some of the world's best players. Antiguans play on the West Indies cricket team, which has been one of the world's best since the 1970s. Soccer is another popular sport.


The Caribbean's most popular male pastime of dominoes is enjoyed in Antigua and Barbuda. A game called warri, a mancala -type game brought from Africa, is also popular. Cricket, soccer, and basketball are all played for recreation.

Favorite types of music include calypso, reggae, and religious hymns. Benna is a type of calypso music that comes from the song-dance of African slaves. It was sung by "Quarkoo," who were Antiguan street vendors and entertainers. The Quarkoo were somewhat like street rappers in America. They made up Benna songs on the spot, using repeating lyrics and "call and response" with the audience. Their lyrics were often satirical or controversial, sometimes landing a Quarkoo in jail.


Antiguan artisans are known for the exceptional quality of their handthrown pottery. Striking items, both decorative and functional, are also crafted from handwoven sea cotton adorned with dyes and embroidery. Other handicrafts include woodcarving and basketry.


Antigua and Barbuda has serious environmental problems. Since there is no central sewage system, contamination by raw sewage and other forms of household waste poses a serious threat to the water supply. This is especially dangerous because the country does not have permanent natural lakes or year-round rivers. Also, the removal of sand for construction purposes threatens the nation's beaches, which are the basis of its tourist industry.

Problems in the educational system have contributed to a shortage of skilled workers, and the tourist industry, while using a large number of workers, creates work that is in most cases unskilled and low-paid. The government's abolition of personal income taxes and its reliance on foreign borrowing have left the country with a massive foreign debt.


Cameron, Sarah, and Ben Box, eds. Caribbean Islands Handbook. Chicago: Passport Books, 1995.

Luntta, Karl. Caribbean Handbook. Chico, Calif.: Moon Publications, 1995.

Schwab, David, ed. Insight Guides. Caribbean: The Lesser Antilles. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

Walton, Chelle Koster. Caribbean Ways: A Cultural Guide. Westwood, Mass.: Riverdale, 1993.


Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism. [Online] Available, 1998.

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"Antiguans and Barbudans." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . 21 Jul. 2018 <>.

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Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.