About Anguilla

Learn more about the country of Anguilla including facts about the Anguillan people & their history, geography & maps of Anguilla, and the Anguillan economy & government. Basic Anguilla demographics including population, religion, GDP, topography, languages and more.

Anguilla Country Profile

Anguilla National Flag Animated Image

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History of Anguilla

Long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean, Anguilla had been settled by Arawakan-speaking Indians who called it Malliouhana. They were originally from the Orinoco River basin of South America and arrived on the island about 2000 BCE.

Anguilla was colonized in 1650 by British settlers from Saint Kitts and thereafter remained a British territory, administered as part of the Leeward Islands colony. The British did not encounter any Arawaks on the island, but in 1656 a raid by Indians from one of the neighboring islands wiped out their settlement. The early years were difficult for the colonists. In 1666 a French expedition attacked the island, and in 1688 a joint Irish-French attack forced most of the colonists to seek refuge on Antigua.

During the latter part of the 17th century, the poor yield from tobacco (the island’s principal cash crop) and from cotton created economic hardship. However, in response to the increasing demand for sugar in Europe, the settlers began producing sugarcane, using enslaved Africans, in the early 18th century. Sugar, which yielded better returns than tobacco or cotton, transformed an economy made up primarily of European small farmers into one in which the labouring class was composed mostly of African slaves working on sugar estates.

Anguilla’s economic and social development was frequently disrupted by European political conflicts that spilled over into the Caribbean. The French attacked the island in 1745 but were repelled by the local militia. They attacked again in 1796, causing much destruction, but were eventually forced to withdraw with great loss.

Conditions in Anguilla were influenced not only by European conflicts but also by political expediency. The British government thought it convenient to have Saint Kitts make laws for Anguilla and therefore created a legislative union between them (1825), although the Anguillan freeholders who owned the sugar estates protested strongly. Anguilla was ruled directly from Saint Kitts. Britain ended slavery in the colonies in 1834, and over the next few years many of the plantation owners sold their land to former slaves and returned to the United Kingdom. The lack of any meaningful economic development on the island heightened Anguillan discontent with the union. In 1872 the islanders petitioned the British government to dissolve the union and administer the island directly from Britain. The petition was ignored, and in 1882 a British Federal Act united Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla as a constituent part of the Leeward Islands Federation.

During the early 1890s, Anguillans endured much suffering when prolonged droughts led to severe famine. Such conditions and the Great Depression of the 1920s and ’30s—which affected the entire Caribbean but hit poverty-stricken Anguilla particularly hard—caused many Anguillan workers to migrate to the Dominican Republic to work in the sugarcane fields. Others found work in Aruba and Curaçao.

A series of labour disturbances throughout the British West Indies in the 1930s spurred the creation of a royal commission (popularly known as the Moyne Commission) to examine social and economic conditions in the islands. The commission advocated political and social reforms, and its findings hastened the democratization of the political process. Anguilla was granted universal adult suffrage in 1952. Further changes occurred in 1956—with the dissolution of the Leeward Islands Federation and the designation of Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla as a crown colony—and in 1958, when the three islands formed a single political unit within the West Indies Federation. After the federation’s collapse in 1962, the British government attempted a federation of the smaller territories; when that, too, failed, most of the islands were granted new constitutions that provided for statehood in association with Britain. In 1967 Anguilla became part of an associated state with Saint Kitts and Nevis, again contrary to the wishes of Anguilla, which ejected the Saint Kitts police, set up its own government, and proclaimed an independent republic.

Negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict failed, and British troops intervened in March 1969. British rule was restored and a temporary commissioner was installed. Subsequently, the Anguilla Act of July 1971 placed the island directly under British control. A new constitution in 1976 gave the island a ministerial system of government and provided a larger measure of internal autonomy under the Crown. In 1980 Anguilla formally became a dependent territory (from 2002, overseas territory) of the United Kingdom, and a new constitution became effective in 1982; it was amended in 1990. Anguilla has developed into a stable parliamentary democracy with a growing economy, a consequence of massive injections of foreign capital, mainly from the United States, during the early years of the 21st century.

People of Anguilla

Population growth rate:1.98% (2004 est.)

Birth rate:

14.45 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)

Death rate:

5.46 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)

Net migration rate:10.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)

Sex ratio:at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2004 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 21.91 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 28.72 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 14.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.9 years

male: 73.99 years

female: 79.91 years (2004 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.74 children born/woman (2004 est.)


noun: Anguillan(s)

adjective: Anguillan

Ethnic groups:

black (predominant), mulatto, white


Anglican 40%, Methodist 33%, Seventh-Day Adventist 7%, Baptist 5%, Roman Catholic 3%, other 12%


English (official)


definition: age 12 and over can read and write

total population: 95%

male: 95%

female: 95% (1984 est.)


13,008 (July 2004 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 23.8% (male 1,569; female 1,523)

15-64 years: 69.4% (male 4,641; female 4,385)

65 years and over: 6.8% (male 396; female 494) (2004 est.)

Median age:

total: 30.4 years

male: 30.4 years

female: 30.3 years (2004 est.)

Government of Anguilla

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Anguilla

Dependency status:

overseas territory of the UK

Government type:



The Valley

Administrative divisions:

none (overseas territory of the UK)


none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday:

Anguilla Day, 30 May


Anguilla Constitutional Order 1 April 1982; amended 1990

Legal system:

based on English common law


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Alan Eden HUCKLE (since 28 May 2004)

head of government: Chief Minister Osbourne FLEMING (since 3 March 2000)

cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from among the elected members of the House of Assembly

elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed chief minister by the governor

Legislative branch:

unicameral House of Assembly (11 seats total, 7 elected by direct popular vote, 2 ex officio members, and 2 appointed; members serve five-year terms)

elections: last held 3 March 2000 (next to be held NA June 2005)

election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – ANA 3, AUM 2, ADP 1, independent 1

Judicial branch:

High Court (judge provided by Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court)

Political parties and leaders:

Anguilla United Movement or AUM [Hubert HUGHES]; The United Front or UF [Osbourne FLEMING, Victor BANKS], a coalition of the Anguilla Democratic Party or ADP and the Anguilla National Alliance or ANA; Anguilla Patriotic Movement or APM [Quincy GUMBS]; Movement for Grassroots Democracy or MFGD [Joyce KENTISH, John BENJAMIN]

Political pressure groups and leaders:


International organization participation:

Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), OECS (associate)

Diplomatic representation in the US:

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US:

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description:

blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Anguillan coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms depicts three orange dolphins in an interlocking circular design on a white background with blue wavy water below

Economy of Anguilla

Anguilla has few natural resources, and the economy depends heavily on luxury tourism, offshore banking, lobster fishing, and remittances from emigrants. Increased activity in the tourism industry, which has spurred the growth of the construction sector, has contributed to economic growth. Anguillan officials have put substantial effort into developing the offshore financial sector, which is small, but growing. In the medium term, prospects for the economy will depend largely on the tourism sector and, therefore, on revived income growth in the industrialized nations as well as on favorable weather conditions.


purchasing power parity – $104 million (2001 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:

2.8% (2001 est.)

GDP – per capita:

purchasing power parity – $8,600 (2001 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:

agriculture: 4%

industry: 18%

services: 78% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line:


Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):


Labor force:

6,049 (2001)

Labor force – by occupation:

agriculture/fishing/forestry/mining 4%, manufacturing 3%, construction 18%, transportation and utilities 10%, commerce 36%, services 29% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:

6.7% (2001)


revenues: $22.8 million

expenditures: $22.5 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2000 est.)

Agriculture – products:

small quantities of tobacco, vegetables; cattle raising


tourism, boat building, offshore financial services

Industrial production growth rate:

3.1% (1997 est.)

Electricity – production:


Electricity – consumption:

42.6 million kWh


$2.6 million (1999)

Exports – commodities:

lobster, fish, livestock, salt, concrete blocks, rum

Exports – partners:

UK, US, Puerto Rico, Saint-Martin (2000)


$80.9 million (1999)

Imports – commodities:

fuels, foodstuffs, manufactures, chemicals, trucks, textiles

Imports – partners:

US, Puerto Rico, UK (2000)

Debt – external:

$8.8 million (1998)

Economic aid – recipient:

$3.5 million (1995)


East Caribbean dollar (XCD)

Currency code:


Exchange rates:

East Caribbean dollars per US dollar – 2.70 (fixed rate since 1976)

Fiscal year:

1 April – 31 March

Geography of Anguilla

Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, east of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N, 63 10 W
Map references: North America
Area: total: 91 sq km land: 91 sq km water: 0 sq km
Area-comparative: about half the size of Washington, DC 
Land boundaries:
 0 km
Coastline: 61 km
Maritime claims: exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 3 nm
Climate:tropical; moderated by northeast trade winds
Terrain: flat and low-lying island of coral and limestone
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point: Crocus Hill 65 m
Natural resources: salt, fish, lobster
Land use: arable land:0% permanent crops: 0% permanent pastures: 0% forests and woodland: 0% other: 100% (mostly rock with sparse scrub oak, few trees, some commercial salt ponds)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: frequent hurricanes and other tropical storms (July to October)
Environment-current issues: supplies of potable water sometimes cannot meet increasing demand largely because of poor distribution system
Environment-international agreements: party to: NA signed, but not ratified: NA

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