Antigua and Barbuda is one of the Caribbean’s most prosperous nations, thanks to its tourism industry and offshore financial services.
But a reliance on tourism makes the nation vulnerable to downturns in the world market.
Antigua has tangled with the United States over its online gambling industry, which at its height employed more than 4,000 people and was a major contributor to the economy. But it shrunk drastically because of US restrictions, the Antiguan government says.
The Bird family has dominated the country’s politics since its independence in 1981 until 1994. Underlying this stability was a succession of scandals, including allegations of corruption. The Bird family was also accused of abuse of authority.
In 2009, the country’s economy was rocked by news that its single biggest investor, Texan billionaire Allen Stanford, had been charged with massive fraud by the US authorities.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Capital: St John’s
- Population 90,800
- Area 442 sq km (170 sq miles)
- Major language English
- Major religion Christianity
- Currency East Caribbean dollar