Anguilla

Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles.
It consists of the main island of Anguilla itself, approximately 26 km (16 mi) long by 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and cays with no permanent population.

The island’s capital is The Valley. The total land area of the territory is 91 km2 (35 sq mi), with a population of approximately 13,500 (2006 estimate). It lies east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and direct north of Saint Martin.


 

Flag of Anguilla

anguilla-flagBlue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Anguillan coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms depicts three orange dolphins in an interlocking circular design on a white background with blue wavy water below.

The coat of arms of Anguilla consists of the emblem found on the Flag of Anguilla, a traditional symbol of the nation.

The coat of arms consists of the three-dolphin emblem that originated during the movement to free Anguilla from a union with other Caribbean islands.
The three dolphins stand for friendship, wisdom, and strength, and are formed in a circle to symbolize continuity. The white background is a traditional symbol for peace, and the blue over which the dolphins hover represents the sea.


 

Climate

Anguilla’s climate is tropical, with little seasonal variation. Temperatures range from 22°C to 30°C. Rainfall is low, averaging 100 centimeters annually, with substantial variation from year to year. Hurricanes are a threat in the summer or fall. The scant rainfall and poor soil allow for only low scrub vegetation.


 

Geography of Anguilla

anguilla-map

Anguilla Island Click to enlarge

Anguilla, in the northern Leeward Islands, lies 240 kilometers due east of Puerto Rico and 8 kilometers from St. Martin/Sint Maarten, the nearest of the Leeward Islands to the south. Anguilla is twenty-six kilometers long and six kilometers wide. It is a flat coral island, with its highest point only sixty-five meters above sea level.
Scrub Island, five square kilometers in area, lies just off Anguilla’s northeast end. Dog Island, smaller than Scrub Island, lies to the northwest, as do several small cays.

The name ‘Anguilla’ means ‘eel’ and well describes its long, thin shape. Sombrero, also known as Hat Island, is the northernmost island of the Lesser Antilles in position 18° 60’N, 63° 40’W. It lies 55 km or 34 miles north west of Anguilla across the Dog and Prickly Pear Passage. The distance to Dog Island, the closest island of Anguilla, is 39 km or 24 miles. Sombrero is 1.5 km or 0.9 miles long north-south, and 0.4 km or 0.25 miles wide.

Other islands in the group are:

  • Dog Island
  • Prickly Pear Cays
  • Sandy Island
  • Scrub Island
  • Seal Island
  • Sombrero Island (also known as Hat Island)

 

History of Anguilla

Maundays Bay, Anguilla.

Maundays Bay, Anguilla.

Anguilla was first settled by Amerindian tribes who migrated from South America. The earliest Amerindian artifacts found on Anguilla have been dated to around 1300 BC, and remains of settlements date from 600 AD. The date of European discovery is uncertain: some sources claim that Columbus sighted the island in 1493, while others state that the island was first discovered by the French in 1564 or 1565.
The name Anguilla derives from the word for “eel” in any of various Romance languages (modern Spanish: anguila; French: anguille; Italian: anguilla), probably chosen because of the island’s eel-like shape.

Anguilla was first colonised by English settlers from Saint Kitts, beginning in 1650. The French temporarily took over the island in 1666 but under the Treaty of Breda it was returned to English control.
Other early arrivals included Europeans from Antigua and Barbados. It is likely that some of these early Europeans brought enslaved Africans with them. Historians confirm that African slaves lived in the region in the early seventeenth century.
For example, Africans from Senegal lived in St. Christopher (today St. Kitts) in 1626. By 1672 a slave depot existed on the island of Nevis, serving the Leeward Islands. While the time of African arrival in Anguilla is difficult to place precisely, archive evidence indicates a substantial African presence (at least 100) on the island by 1683.
During the early colonial period, Anguilla was administered by the British through Antigua, but in 1824 it was placed under the administrative control of nearby Saint Kitts. In 1967,
Britain granted Saint Kitts and Nevis full internal autonomy, and Anguilla was also incorporated into the new unified dependency, named Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, against the wishes of many Anguillians.
This led to two rebellions in 1967 and 1969 (Anguillian Revolution), headed by Ronald Webster, and a brief period as a self-declared independent republic. British authority was fully restored in July, 1971. In 1980 Anguilla was finally allowed to secede from Saint Kitts and Nevis and become a separate British dependency (now termed a British overseas territory).


 

Economy

Sandy Ground

Sandy Ground

Anguilla’s thin arid soil is largely unsuitable for agriculture, and the island has few land-based natural resources. Its main industries are tourism, offshore incorporation and management, offshore banking, captive insurance and fishing.
Before the 2008 world-wide crisis the economy of Anguilla was expanding rapidly, especially the tourism sector which was driving major new developments in partnerships with multi-national companies.

Anguilla’s currency is the East Caribbean dollar, though the US dollar is also widely accepted. The exchange rate is fixed to the US dollar at US$1 = EC$2.70.

The economy, and especially the tourism sector, suffered a setback in late 1995 due to the effects of Hurricane Luis in September but recovered in 1996. Hotels were hit particularly hard during this time. Another economic setback occurred during the aftermath of Hurricane Lenny in 2000.

In 2011 Anguilla became the fifth largest jurisdiction for Captive Insurance, behind Bermuda, Cayman, Vermont and Guernsey. Captive management firms have staffed offices in Anguilla to service the existing captive insurance industry.

Anguilla aims to obtain 15% of its energy from solar power so it is less reliant on expensive imported diesel. The Climate & Development Knowledge Network is helping the government gather the information it needs to change the territory’s legislation, so it can integrate renewables into its grid. Barbados, have also made good progress in switching to renewables, but many other SIDS are still at the early stages of planning how to integrate renewable energy into their grids.


 

Transportation in Anguilla

anguilla2One of the British overseas territories, the Caribbean island of Anguilla measures only 16 miles (26 km) long by 3 miles (4.8 km) wide, so transport is simpler than in many countries. There is no public transport, such as bus or rail systems, since there isn’t enough need. However, Anguilla’s roads are better maintained than on many Caribbean islands.

Cars are the main means of transport, with driving on the left-hand side of the road, as in the United Kingdom. Although speed limits rarely exceed 30 miles (48 km) per hour and traffic moves slowly, with the island’s small size it doesn’t take long to get anywhere. Taxi service is unmetered, with set rates published in tourist guides. In addition to regular transport, taxis often offer island tours lasting several hours. Fares must be paid in cash.

Ferries offer transport from Anguilla to other islands. The ferry from Blowing Point to Marigot, St. Martin, known to the locals as the Haddad Express, runs all day on the half hour, into the night time. With no reservations required, taking the ferry is simple and inexpensive. Ferries can also be chartered to other destinations. One such Charter Service is from Blowing Point, Anguilla to Princess Juliana Airport to make travel easier.

Other means of transport include bikes, mopeds, motorcycles and walking. Because off the territory’s small land mass and flatter terrain, these methods make more sense on Anguilla than on many other Caribbean islands.

Cars, bikes,mopeds and motorcycles are all available for rental at reasonable prices. Both well-known car rental agencies and local companies operate rental businesses. Groups may also charter a private bus for excursions.


 

Demographics

DemographicsThe estimated mid-year population of 2014 is 14,500 (medium fertility scenario of The 2012 Revison of the World Population Prospects).
72% of the population is Anguillian while 28% is non-Anguillian (2001 census). Of the non-Anguillian population, many are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, St Kitts & Nevis, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Nigeria.

2006 and 2007 saw an influx of large numbers of Chinese, Indian, and Mexican workers, brought in as labour for major tourist developments due to the local population not being large enough to support the labour requirements.

The majority of residents (90.08%) are black, the descendants of slaves transported from Africa. Growing minorities include whites at 3.74% and people of mixed race at 4.65% (figures from 2001 census).

The 2001 census found 11,329 were capable of carrying a conversation in English, and 101 were not. 82 of those spoke Spanish as a first language, 7 spoke Chinese.The 2001 census found one heptalingual person, 13 pentalingual people, 35 quadralingual people, 173 trilingual people, 881 bilingual people.


 

Culture

Sandy IslandAnguillian cuisine is influenced by native Caribbean, African, Spanish, French and English cuisines. Seafood is abundant, and includes prawns, shrimp, crab, spiny lobster, conch, mahi-mahi, red snapper, marlin and grouper. Salt cod is a staple food eaten by itself and used in stews, casseroles and soups. Livestock is limited due to the small size of the island, and people there utilise poultry, pork, goat and mutton, along with imported beef.
Goat is the most commonly eaten meat, and is utilised in a variety of dishes.

A significant amount of the island’s produce is imported due to limited land suitable for agriculture production; much of the soil is sandy and infertile. Among the agriculture produced in Anguilla includes tomatoes, peppers, limes and other citrus fruits, onion, garlic, squash, pigeon peas and callaloo. Starch staple foods include imported rice and other foods that are imported or locally grown, including yams, sweet potatoes and breadfruit.


Cuisine

Anguillian cuisine is influenced by native Caribbean, African, Spanish, French and English cuisines. Seafood is abundant, and includes prawns, shrimp, crab, spiny lobster, conch, mahi-mahi, red snapper, marlin and grouper.
Salt cod is a staple food eaten by itself and used in stews, casseroles and soups. Livestock is limited due to the small size of the island, and people there utilise poultry, pork, goat and mutton, along with imported beef. Goat is the most commonly eaten meat, and is utilised in a variety of dishes.

A significant amount of the island’s produce is imported due to limited land suitable for agriculture production; much of the soil is sandy and infertile. Among the agriculture produced in Anguilla includes tomatoes, peppers, limes and other citrus fruits, onion, garlic, squash, pigeon peas and callaloo. Starch staple foods include imported rice and other foods that are imported or locally grown, including yams, sweet potatoes and breadfruit.


Language

Today most people in Anguilla speak a British-influenced variety of “Standard” English. Other languages are also spoken on the island, including varieties of Spanish, Chinese and the languages of other immigrants.
However, the most common language other than Standard English is the island’s own English-lexifier Creole language (not to be confused with French Creole spoken in islands such as Haiti, Martinique, and Guadeloupe).
It is referred to locally by terms such as “dialect” (pronounced “dialek”), Anguilla Talk, or “Anguillian”. It has its main roots in early varieties of English and West African languages, and is similar to the dialects spoken in English-speaking islands throughout the Eastern Caribbean, in terms of its structural features and to the extent of being considered one single language.

Linguists who are interested in the origins of Anguillian and other Caribbean Creoles point out that some of its grammatical features can be traced to African languages while others can be traced to European languages.
Three areas have been identified as significant for the identification of the linguistic origins of those forced migrants who arrived before 1710: the Gold Coast, the Slave Coast, and the Windward Coast.

Sociohistorical information from Anguilla’s archives suggest that Africans and Europeans formed two distinct, but perhaps overlapping speech communities in the early phases of the island’s colonisation. “Anguillian” is believed to have emerged as the language of the masses as time passed, slavery was abolished, and locals began to see themselves as “belonging” to Anguillian society.


Religion

Religion is another aspect of Anguilla’s cultural history. The Christian Church did not have a consistent or strong presence across the initial period of English colonisation; during this period the spiritual and religious practices of Europeans and Africans tended to reflect their regional origins. However, it should be noted that some Africans are likely to have encountered Christianity prior to their immigration to the island, in West Africa as well as on other Caribbean islands. As early as 1813 Christian ministers formally ministered to enslaved Africans and promoted literacy in English among converts. The Wesleyan Missionary Society of England built churches and schools in 1817.

According to the 2001 census, Christianity is Anguilla’s predominant religion, with 29.0 percent of the population practising Anglicanism. Another 23.9 percent are Methodist. Other churches on the island include Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Jehovah’s Witnesses (0.7%). Between 1992 and 2001 the number of followers of the Church of God and Pentecostal Churches increased considerably.
There are at least 15 churches on the island, several of architectural interest. Although a minority on the island, it is an important location to followers of Rastafarian religion – Anguilla is the birthplace of Robert Athlyi Rogers, author of The Holy Piby which has had a strong influence on Rastafarian beliefs. Various other religions are practised as well.


Sport

Boat racing has deep roots in Anguillian culture, and is the national sport. There are regular sailing regattas on national holidays, such as Carnival, which are contested by locally built and designed boats. These boats have names and have sponsors that print their logo on their sails.

As in many other former British Colonies, cricket is also a popular sport. Anguilla is the home of Omari Banks, who played for the West Indies Cricket Team, while Cardigan Connor played first-class cricket for English county side Hampshire and was ‘chef de mission’ (team manager) for Anguilla’s Commonwealth Games team in 2002.

Rugby union is represented in Anguilla by the Anguilla Eels RFC, who were formed in April 2006. The Eels have been finalists in the St. Martin tournament in November 2006 and semi finalists in 2007, 2008, 2009 and Champions in 2010. The Eels were formed in 2006 by Scottish club national second row Martin Welsh, Club Sponsor and President of the AERFC Ms Jacquie Ruan, and Canadian standout Scrumhalf Mark Harris (Toronto Scottish RFC). The club was lucky enough to host the HMS Iron Duke in September 2008 which saw a very spirited game going to the visitors 18-13. The St Barts Barracudas have also been to Anguilla to play the Eels also prevailing eleven points to six.

Anguilla is also the home of Zharnel Hughes, who specialises in the 100m and 200m sprint. He won the 100m in the 2013 CARIFTA Games in a time of 10.44 seconds, despite his time being some way below his PB.

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