The first people are believed to have settled
on the island of Antigua at least 4,000 years ago. They
were followed by agricultural taino, which in the 12th
century AD was chased away by the caribou. In 1493, the
explorer Christofer Columbus reached Antigua, but the
island was not colonized until after 1632, when a group
of Englishmen settled there.
In the late 1600s, the Englishman Christofer
Codrington founded sugar plantations on the island.
Slaves were brought from Africa to work on the
plantations. The sugar and strategically located port
made Antigua one of the most successful British colonies
in the Caribbean. The island of Barbuda was rented by
the Codrington family. It was not until 1860 that
Barbuda formally merged with Antigua.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Antigua and Barbuda, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
The sugar industry weakened in the late 19th century
and suffered a severe crack in the 1930s, when the price
of sugar fell sharply. Antigua experienced a recession
and social unrest. In 1940 the island's first trade
union was formed.
In 1946, the bourgeois Labor Party of Antigua was
founded (abbreviated to ALP in English). The party's
candidates were elected to the local parliament,
including party leader Vere Bird. In the 1951
parliamentary elections, the Labor Party won and Vere
Bird became prime minister.