Antigua & Barbuda Independence Day

Independence Day Festival in Antigua and Barbuda —1 November

The Independence Day in Antigua & Barbuda is celebrated annually on the 1st of November, as to mark the day in 1981 when this island Caribbean nation attained complete freedom from Great Britain. The National Day is celebrated with colorful parades, cultural exhibitions, and a host of other festive events in Antigua and Barbuda.

The first day of November is celebrated as the Day of Independence in Antigua and Barbuda. All three islands that make up this Caribbean nation: Antigua, Barbuda, and Redona, celebrate this key event with great enthusiasm, as the nation became officially independent on this day, ending over 350 years of British rule.

Winning independence was never so easy for the Antiguans. They had to go through all the thick and thin, but their strong determination and the craze of freedom, turned the impossible into possible, and the island Caribbean nation became a completely independent state within the Commonwealth of Nation on November 1, 1981.

Antigua and Barbuda Independence Day

Antigua and Barbuda Independence Day in  will be celebrated on Monday, 1st November. This year, the country will celebrate its 40th-year of independence (40th Independence Anniversary) — commemorating the freedom from Great Britain.


Antigua and Barbuda Independence History: How Did Antigua Gain Independence?

Antigua Barbuda Independence Day

Antigua and Barbuda is a little island nation in the Northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean Sea. The country comprises of three islands – Antigua, Barbuda and Redonda with a population of around 80,000 citizens. Most of the inhabitants are descendants of African slaves who were brought to develop sugarcane and tobacco in the island in the colonial period – for example, the British in the seventeenth century.

Antigua and Barbuda’s rich history goes back to the Siboney pursued by Arawaks, on to Christopher Columbus, through English and French pioneers, the impact of sugar and the plantations, slavery and the long periods of colonialism. The island picked up autonomy in 1981.

Early Times and Settlement

Siboney were the first inhabitants of the country, who can be dated back to 2400 BCE. Long after the Siboney had proceeded onward, Antigua was settled by the peaceful, agricultural Arawaks (35-1100 A.D.), who were then displaced by the Caribs – an aggressive people who placed themselves throughout the Caribbean.

The first European contact with the island was made by Christopher Columbus amid his second Caribbean voyage (1493), who located the island in passing and named it after a church in Seville, Santa Maria la Antigua.

European settlement, nonetheless, didn’t happen for over a century, to a great extent because of Antigua’s lack of fresh water and the strong Carib resistance. The Caribs were the most influential groups of the West Indies and attacked the early colonizers.

The Colonization of Antigua & Barbuda

After the failed attempts at colonization by the Spaniards and French, The colonization of Antigua started by Sir Thomas Warner in 1632, while Sir Christopher Codrington settled in Barbuda. Antigua formally turned into a British colony in 1667.

Britain took over Barbuda in 1628; while in 1680, Charles II allowed the island to the Codrington family, who held it until 1860, in which year it was added to Antigua. As the main Caribbean island under British administers to have a decent harbor, Antigua was the dockyard for the British West Indies, utilized by the Royal Navy from 1725 until 1854.

The Abolition of Slavery in Antigua & Barbuda

Sugar became the chief crop of the region, leaving behind tobacco, and prompted the importation of enslaved Africans to work on the highly productive domains. After the abolition of the slave exchange (1807), the Codringtons set up a major ‘slave-farm’ on Barbuda, where youngsters were trained to supply the district’s unpaid labor force, until the point when slaves were liberated in 1834.

The liberation in 1834 of slaves, who had been employed on the highly profitable sugar estates, rose many difficult challenges in acquiring labor. A disastrous Earthquake in 1843 and a hurricane in 1847, meant the islands had to face some serious economic disasters ahead.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Road To Independence

The liberation in 1834 of slaves, who had been employed on the highly profitable sugar estates, rose many difficult challenges in acquiring labor. A disastrous Earthquake in 1843 and a hurricane in 1847, meant the islands had to face some serious economic disasters ahead.

Interest for self-determination created in parallel with a concern to make political and economic linkages with other Caribbean nations. The labor movement turned into the focal point of political advancement, and accumulated strength amid the economically-troubled years of the twentieth century. Vere C Bird framed the nation’s first trade union association in 1939 and later progressed toward becoming the leader of the Antigua Labor Party (ALP).

The very first elections under universal adult suffrage occurred in 1951 and were won by the ALP. The Leeward Islands colony, of which Antigua and Barbuda were a part, was defederated in 1956, and in 1958 Antigua joined the West Indies Federation. At the point when the alliance was broken up in 1962, Antigua continued on with discussions of alternative types of the federation.

An arrangement was made in the West Indies Act of 1967 for Antigua to expect a status of relationship with the United Kingdom on February 27, 1967. As a related state, Antigua was completely self-administering in every single inward issue, while the United Kingdom held duty regarding external issues and defense.

Vere C Bird of ALP Leads the Nation To Complete Independence

As per the West Indies Act 1967, Antigua turned into an associated state with interior self-government, the UK holding control of foreign issues and defense. Vere Bird Sr turned into the primary Premier, but the ALP was expelled at the following elections in 1971 by the Progressive Labor Movement (PLM), driven by George Walters.

The two parties had their underlying foundations in the labor movement; the fundamental difference around then was that the PLM was striving for early autonomy, while the ALP worked for stronger economical establishments to be developed first.

The ALP came back to control at the 1976 elections. Following the ALP’s triumph, Bird drove the nation to full independence on November 1, 1981. Antigua and Barbuda obtained acquired United Nations and Commonwealth membership and joined the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States in 1981.

Antigua Labor Party (ALP) won the elections again in 1984 and 1989 by huge margins, giving Bird firm control of the islands’ legislature.

Antigua & Barbuda Independence Day Celebrations on The Night of 1st November 1981

Bird drove the nation to full freedom on Sunday, 1 November 1981, when the flag of the new country of Antigua and Barbuda was raised as the nation turned into a complete sovereign and autonomous state. At midnight, the Union Jack was brought down from the flagpole at the St. John’s Recreation Ground and then replaced by the newly-designed Antigua and Barbuda flag.

Church bells chimed, firecrackers lit up the skies, and guns boomed from three British warships and one ship each from the United States and Venezuela which cruised into St. John’s, the capital, to salute the new country. Princess Margaret, showing up in the interest of her sister, Queen Elizabeth II, introduced the instruments of state to new Prime Minister Vere Cornwall Bird.


Antigua and Barbuda Independence Day: Celebrations & Activities

Independence Day (November 1) is a public holiday in Antigua and Barbuda. All educational institutes, private, public, and government offices remain closed on this day.

Antigua and Barbuda Independence Celebration

Gaining independence from Great Britain in 1981 meant that Britain can longer control the internal or external affairs of the country. Independence, which was achieved after a long struggle, meant the country would now be given equal rights on various issues such as international trade, treaties, and policies. As an independent nation, the country could now assign Ambassadors overseas who represent the country and take part in various international organizations.

The Independence Day in Antigua and Barbuda means a time of colorful parades, showing patriotism, cultural exhibitions and a plethora of exciting festive events. The Independence Day celebrations last for one whole week, with lots of sports competitions, expos, and food fair. The citizens anxiously wait for their National Day to come as it’s a whole fantastic week of fun, excitement, and celebrations throughout the country.

The Antiguans love this event so much that they start the independence day decorations two weeks prior the Independence Day. All schools, public and private buildings are decorated beautifully with traditional yellow and red check of the National Dress used for clothing.

Here’s how Antigua and Barbuda Independence Day Celebrations take place:

Celebrating the end of 350 years of Great Britain colonization, the island Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda is full of Independence day festivities like colorful fireworks, parades, and flag-waving ceremonies. Thousands of Antiguans participate in independence day special events and commemorate this day in unique and entertaining ways.

1). The Independence Day celebrations in Antigua & Barbuda start with special prayers for peace and progression of the nation. The citizens get all suited and booted in their national dress colors and head out to see the energizing military parade – where the military forces show their strength and display of armories. The governor-general and prime ministry of the country are also in attendance and dish out honors to worthy citizens. The military forces then partake in the most elaborate gun salute, a noisy yet spectacular moment.

Bear in mind that it’s only 10 in the morning at this point and just the beginning of the independence day celebrations – Goodness knows how it will be when the sun goes down and rum begins to flow. All things considered, Antigua and Barbuda have plenty to be proud of!

2). Many Antiguans celebrate their Independence Public Holiday by heading out to the beautiful beaches with stunning sands, sparkling with warm waters lapping against it. Some citizens might also engage in beach fun activities like volleyball and swimming before a delicious BBQ lunch.

There are also special boat cruises which take you round the island. On Independence Day in Antigua and Barbuda, these boat cruises are fully-booked by local and foreign tourists.

3). As the sun goes down, a steel-drum band and local DJ strikes up and a JUMBO grill begins. The delicious grill feeds hundreds of party-goers, who then dance to local music and fire up the crowd.

4). Every town, district, and the city of Antigua & Barbuda has fun First of November celebration. Homes, buildings, and streets are all illuminated with colorful lights and decorated with pennants. Many inhabitants head out to the streets, carrying their National Flags, and singing “Fair Antigua, We Salute Thee”.

5). The biggest food fair in Antigua and Barbuda happens amid the nation’s Annual Independence Celebrations on November 1. Food vendors from around Antigua & Barbuda, set-up small colorful stalls decked with national flags on the outer grounds of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and prepare themselves to welcome people going to the Independence Ceremonial Parade in the stadium.

Foodies spend their whole day at the occasion, as vendors serve up delicious local dishes for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Popular choices include the island’s traditional dishes, plenty of seafood from sister-island Barbuda and desserts like coconut sugar cakes and old-fashioned ice cream.

6). The Independence Day Festival in Antigua and Barbuda continue for one whole week. This week of festivities also includes musical concerts, theatrical presentations, sports competitions, and fashion shows. The Independence Day celebrations are so lit that they attract thousands of tourists every year, who book a holiday to this heavenly island to engage in Independence Day Festival and make their vacations memorable.

Every year the Antiguans look forward to Independence Day, and it is the only country to hold these types of grand annual celebrations of freedom. The November 1 Independence Day holiday is regarded as the best time of the year to party, have fun, and entertain with families. Antiguans cherish their autonomy to such an extent. They have a bounty to sing about with regards to their little yet pristine and heavenly island!

Happy Antigua and Barbuda Independence: Wishes Quotes Greetings

  • Happy 38th Year of Independence to the Gem of The Caribbean, our beloved islands, Antigua and Barbuda!
  • Happy Independence Day to the twin islands known for its reef line beaches and rainforest – Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Happy 38th Independence to my home, my land, Antigua and Barbuda. I love this place with my whole heart and I only hope that we can strive to be a better nation and a better people!
  • Known for its firing pepper pot and fungie, Happy Independence to Antigua and Barbuda 37 years strong!
  • “Where land and sea make beauty” Happy Independence Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Each endeavoring, all achieving, Live in peace where man is free. Happy 36th Independence Day Antigua and Barbuda!


Interesting Facts & FAQs About Antigua & Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is an autonomous Commonwealth nation containing its 2 namesake islands and a few smaller ones. Situated where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet, it’s known for reef-lined shorelines, rain-forests and, resorts. Its English Harbor is a yachting point and the site of memorable Nelson’s Dockyard. In the capital, St. John’s, the national gallery displays colonial artifacts. Let’s read some interesting facts and FAQs about Antigua & Barbuda.

Also Read: Interesting Facts about Tuvalu National Flag

  • Official Language of Antigua and Barbuda: English
  • The currency of Antigua and Barbuda: Eastern Caribbean Dollar
  • Famous sport in Antigua and Barbuda: Cricket
  • Antigua and Barbuda Population: 100,000+ only
  • Antigua and Barbuda Literacy Rate:9 %
  • Education in Antigua and Barbuda: The education is compulsory in the country. The system of education is purely based on the British education system. The government provides free schooling to children between the ages of 5 and 16 years.
  • Natural Resources: Cotton
  • Climate: Tropical Climate
  • Capital City: John’s
  • Antigua is pronounced An-TEE’ ga!
  • People of Antigua & Barbuda are called: Antiguans or Barbudans
  • National Dish: fungie and pepperpot
  • Culture: West African & British
  • The country attracts around 1,000,000 tourists each year!
  • Due to 365 beaches in the country, it is nicknamed as: “Land of 365 Beaches”

National Flag of Antigua and Barbuda: What The Symbols & Colors Represent?

The national flag of Antigua and Barbuda was initially adopted on February 27, 1967. The design is a red field comprising an inverted isosceles triangle based on the top edge of the field indicating towards the base edge of the field bearing three horizontal bands of black, light blue, and white with a 7-point golden rising sun centered over the black band.

Antigua and Barbuda Independence Day

  • Red Color: Energy or the lifeblood of slave forefathers
  • Black Color: Soil & African Heritage
  • Blue Color: Hope, Caribbean Sea
  • Yellow, Blue, and White (from the sun down) when combined: sun, sea, and sand
  • V-formed by Red Borders: A symbol of victory “Victory at Last”
  • Seven Points of Golden Rising Sun: six parishes plus the region’s sister island, Barbuda

Who Designed The National Flag Of Antigua and Barbuda?

In 1966, a national flag competition was held for the event of accomplishing Independence in Association with Great Britain on February 27th, 1967. More than 600 artists took part in this competition, with Mr. Reginald Samuel winning the principal prize of $500 for the best plan and design.

*Do you know? Mr. Reginald Samuel entered the competition a minute ago before the deadline and made the design in just about 30 minutes.

The Coat Of Arms Of Antigua and Barbuda & National Motto

The coat of arms of Antigua & Barbuda was designed back in 1966 by Gordon Christoper and was officially introduced a year later in 1967. The coat of arms has a complex design with different symbols representing the country in their own unique symbolism.

  • At the top, there is a pineapple, a fruit which is famous on the island
  • The different plants seen in the coat of arms are: red hibiscus, yucca, and sugarcane plant (all abundant in the country)
  • The design on the shield shows the golden sun rising from a blue and white sea. The sun symbolizes a new beginning
  • The black background on the shield represents the African Heritage
  • At the bottom of the shield, there’s an image of a sugar mill
  • The shield is supported by a pair of deer representing the wildlife of this island Caribbean nation
  • At the base, there’s the national motto of Antigua and Barbuda, which says: “Each endeavoring, All achieving”

*Do you know? Famous fashion designer, Giorgio Armani, resides in Antigua & Barbuda.

When did Antigua and Barbuda gain complete independence?

Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981.

Who colonized Antigua Barbuda?

It was colonized by British for about 350 years!

Is Barbuda and Antigua the same island?

Antigua, Barbuda, and Redonda (different islands) collectively form the independent state of Antigua and Barbuda, within the Commonwealth of Nations. They are a part of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies.

Is Antigua and Barbuda a developed country?

Antigua and Barbuda is among the most developed countries in the Caribbean. The literacy rate is 99%, people work on high-income, the country has a strong economy, and tourism is booming.

What is the best time to go to Antigua?

The ideal time to plan a vacation to Antigua is from May to November, the island’s off-season. Rates are least expensive during these months and the climate is pretty good. You’ll experience less rain between December and April, yet rates are costly and the islands are overcrowded by tourists.

What should I buy in Antigua?

Lavender jade jewelry, handcrafted wooden masks, textiles, local pottery, Mayan-culture inspired handbags, fresh fruits, and Caribbean clothing.

What is the religion of Antigua and Barbuda?

More than 74% of the population of Antigua and Barbuda follows Christianity. The total number of non-Christians is small; they include an estimated 200 Muslims, 200 Hindus, and nearly 30 Jews. The government and constitution respect the freedom of religion, and there are no reports of societal abuses based on religious practices.

What is Antigua famous for?

One of the most respectable cricketers of all times, Sir Vivian Richards is an Antiguans, who played for and captained, the West Indies Cricket Team.

Antigua also hosted the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Furthermore, the country also organizes Antigua Sailing Week and Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta competitions, in which hundreds of sportsmen across the globe take part in.

Is Antigua and Barbuda safe?

There are three islands in the country: Antigua, Barbuda, and Redonda. All of them are safe, but the safest among them is Antigua which attracts lots of tourists because of its 365 spectacular beaches!

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