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Antigua and Barbuda

indies largest tropical redonda

Antigua and Barbuda, island nation in the West Indies, largest and most developed of the Leeward Islands.

Land and climate

The islands of Antigua, Barbuda, and Redonda (uninhabited), are of volcanic origin. White sandy beaches fringe the coasts; few places rise to more than 1,000 ft (2,048 m) above sea level. The climate is tropical with a dry season July-Dec.

People and economy

The population is predominantly of African and British origins. St. John's is the largest town and chief port, and tourism is the principal economic activity. In the 19th century, cotton replaced sugarcane as the main crop, and some tropical fruits are also grown. The United States maintains large naval and army bases near Parham.

History

Antigua was named by Christopher Columbus in 1493. The island passed from Spanish to French control in the 17th century and was taken over by the British in 1632. With Barbuda and Redonda as dependencies it became a self-governing West Indies Associated State in 1967 and independent in 1981.

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