Independence Day in Antigua And Barbuda
In Antigua and Barbuda, the 1st of November is a very special day. It’s a day for all residents of these two islands to commemorate their independence from the United Kingdom. They were formal British colonies for over 300-years, but that changed in 1981 when they gained their independence and became an Independent Commonwealth Country.
On the islands, this holiday is extremely popular, and it’s not just because it’s a day off for the general population. People all over these islands attend dance festivals, sporting events, art and craft exhibitions, and food fairs. There is a huge ceremonial parade as well and usually an address made to the nation by the Prime Minister.
The History Of Independence Day In Antigua And Barbuda
During the late 15th century, Christopher Columbus sighted the island on his way to the New World. The Spaniards would attempt to settle the islands, but because of the hostility of the Carib populations and a lack of freshwater, they decided their colonial efforts would be best practiced elsewhere.
In 1632, British sailors would arrive on the island and found a settlement at Falmouth. In 1674, the first sugar estate was then founded, and sugar production on the islands would be the main economic activity for over two centuries.
During the 20th century, the call for independence from Great Britain began to spread across the islands. At first, this movement was driven by workers looking for better working conditions, but it soon spread throughout the rest of the population as well. On November 1st, 1981, the islands would become an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations. Sir Vere Cornwall Bird would become the first Prime Minister of the newly minted country.
Observing Independence Day In Antigua And Barbuda
As we mentioned earlier, one of the main events of this holiday is a parade. During this parade and festival, the Antiguan flag is raised and the national anthem is sung. There is also a week of celebration that includes food fairs, expos, art exhibitions and a whole lot more. The whole country crackles with national pride and patriotism during this time.