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Antigua and Barbuda - Land of 365 Beaches

Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guinea, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda). The permanent population numbers approximately 81,800 (at the 2011 Census) and the capital and largest port and city is St. John's, on Antigua.

Separated by a few nautical miles, Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17 degrees north of the Equator. The country is nicknamed "Land of 365 Beaches" due to the many beaches surrounding the islands. Its governance, language, and culture have all been strongly influenced by the British Empire, of which the country was formerly a part.


Seventy-four percent  of Antiguans are Christians, with the Anglican denomination (about 44%) being the largest. Other Christian denominations present are Baptists, Presbyterians and Catholics. Non-Christian religions practiced in the islands include the Rastafari Movement, Islam, Judaism and the Bahá'í Faith.


English is the official language, but many of the locals speak Antiguan Creole. The Barbudan accent is slightly different from the Antiguan.

In the years before Antigua and Barbuda's independence, Standard English was widely spoken in preference to Antiguan Creole, but afterwards Antiguans began treating Antiguan Creole as a respectable aspect of their culture. Generally, the upper and middle classes shun Antiguan Creole. The educational system dissuades the use of Antiguan Creole and instruction is done in Standard (British) English.

Many of the words used in the Antiguan dialect are derived from British as well as African languages. This can be easily seen in phrases such as: "Me nah go" meaning "I am not going". Another example is: "Ent it?" meaning "Ain't it?" which is itself dialectal and means "Isn't it?". Common island proverbs can often be traced to Africa. Spanish is spoken by around 10,000 inhabitants of the country.


The people of Antigua & Barbuda enjoy a more-than-90% literacy rate. In 1998, Antigua and Barbuda adopted a national mandate to become the pre-eminent provider of medical services in the Caribbean. As part of this mission, Antigua and Barbuda built the most technologically advanced hospital in the Caribbean, the Mt. St. John Medical Centre. The island of Antigua currently has two medical schools, the American University of Antigua (AUA), founded in 2004, and The University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA), founded in 1982.

There is also a government owned state college in Antigua as well as the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Information Technology (ABIIT) and the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI). The University of the West Indies has a branch in Antigua for locals to continue university studies.

Antigua has two international primary/secondary schools Including CCSET International, which offers the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, and Island Academy, which offers the International Baccalaureate. There are also many other private schools but these institutions tend to follow the same local curriculum (CXCs) as government schools. Both international schools are relatively inexperienced with offering international degrees. CCSET international has existed for several years but only began offering an International Degree in 2007. While CCSET's graduating classes have consistently been awarded the OSSD, this is somewhat controversial because CCSET students receive their diplomas from one of CCSET's (constantly changing) partner schools based in Ontario.


The culture is predominantly British: For example, cricket is the national sport and Antigua has produced several famous cricket players including Sir Vivian Richards, Anderson "Andy" Roberts, and Richard "Richie" Richardson. Other popular sports include football, boat racing and surfing. (Antigua Sailing Week attracts locals and visitors from all over the world).

American popular culture and fashion also have a heavy influence. Most of the country's media is made up of major United States networks. Many Antiguans prefer to make a special shopping trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Family and religion play an important roles in the lives of Antiguans. Most attend religious services on Sunday, although there is a growing number of Seventh-day Adventists who observe the Sabbath on Saturday.

The national Carnival held each August commemorates the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, although on some islands, Carnival may celebrate the coming of Lent. Its festive pageants, shows, contests and other activities are a major tourist attraction. Calypso and soca music, both originating primarily out of Trinidad, are important in Antigua and Barbuda.

Corn and sweet potatoes play an important role in Antiguan cuisine. For example, a popular Antiguan dish, Dukuna is a sweet, steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes, flour and spices. One of the Antiguan staple foods, fungi, is a cooked paste made of cornmeal and water.

Miss Antigua and Barbuda 2012:

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