Located in the Eastern Caribbean, the twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda sits 650 km south-east of Puerto Rico. Antigua is the larger island with a resident population of about 65,000, a third of whom live in the capital of St John’s. Barbuda lies 48 km north of Antigua and has a population of 1500. Antigua is a well developed resort, visited by more than half a million tourists annually, who enjoy the beaches in one of the most temperate climates in the world.
Discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, Antigua was first settled by the British in 1632. The island was captured by the French for a short time in 1666, but the islands remained under British sovereignty until independence on 1 November 1981. Antigua retains a democratic government, based on the British Parliamentary system, and English remains the official language.
Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation and the World Bank.
Business and finance
Antigua and Barbuda’s financial offshore industry and commercial activities have grown significantly since independence, together with the development of infrastructure to support commercial and financial activities.
Modern corporate and financial legislation make the islands attractive to offshore corporations. With international banks, local banks, law firms, tax advisers, accounting firms and trust companies including PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Pannell Kerr Forster and KPMG.
The deep water harbour allows large cruise ships to dock at Antigua, with several shipping lines and airlines serving North America, Caribbean, and European cities.
The currency in Antigua and Barbuda is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) which is fixed to the US dollar at the rate of USD1.00 to XCD2.70.