Anguilla,located in the Caribbean Sea is the northern most island in the Leeward Island chain. Anguilla is 16 miles long, 3 miles wide, 35 square miles. It has as its capital - The Valley - which is located in the middle of the island. The official language of Anguillans is English. The island is made up of coral rock, the terrain is flat with a high cliff wall extending along the northern coast and tapering down to the south.

Christopher Columbus sighted the island in 1493 and named it for its eel-like shape: Anguilla means "eel" in Spanish. No attempt was made to colonize it, probably because it was controlled by the notoriously fierce, warlike Caribs, who knew the island as Malliouhana, the Carib word for eel. The Caribs, a tribe of cannibals, had captured the island from the peaceful Arawak tribe and had completely eradicated them, not only from Anguilla but also from the entire Caribbean.

First colonized by English settlers in 1650, Anguilla was incorporated into a single British dependency along with the neighbouring islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the early 19th century, much to the objections of many Anguillans.

Anguilla declared itself independent in 1967, as the three-island unit of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla was granted statehood. Anguilla's aim: to remain under direct British rule as a Crown Colony.

Anguilla achieved its political objective in 1969 when the British Armed Forces invaded and established a separate, direct administration. Formal separation from St. Kitts-Nevis was finally achieved in 1978 when by an order in Council, Anguilla became a Crown Colony once again. What many regarded as turning back the hands of time, the Anguillians heralded as the first step to real political freedom when Anguilla became a Dependent Territory of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Today, Anguilla's constitution resembles that of many other British Dependent Territories, including that of the British Virgin Islands and Montseratt and provides for the Government to be carried out by a Governor acting as a representative of Her Majesty the Queen and a Chief Minister together with other Ministers appointed from the elected members of the Legislative Assembly. The legal system is based on British Common Law and is supplemented by local statutes. Judicial matters are handled by a Magistrate Court, a High Court and a regional Court of Appeal serving the Eastern Caribbean.

Anguilla is known for its intentionally sunk shipwrecks, artificial reefs that provide for the enjoyment of scuba divers. The island is home to a truly unique attraction, a 960-ton Spanish galleon [El Buen Consejo] that rests quietly on the ocean floor with her cannons and cargo serving as a silent testament to the Caribbean's turbulent past. The site is an award-winning underwater park, Stoney Bay Marine Park, open to certified scuba divers. Anguilla also boasts a healthy double reef system, where a wide variety of corals flourish.

The island has recently been developing its tourist industry, as prior to that, the island had no visitor facilities. There was a government decision to invest in the facilities as the island has some of the finest beaches in the Eastern Caribbean.

The major industries there are fishing, tourism and boat building. It has now become one of the trendier top-end destinations in the Eastern Caribbean.

For those of you who are Carnival Revellers, Mas Designers or Band Leaders - The Anguilla Carnival - Anguilla's Summer Festival is scheduled for August 3 - 13, 2006

A week-long festival that begins the weekend prior to August Monday (the first Monday in August). Carnival includes costumed parades, music and dancing. August Monday is a public holiday.


Information provided courtesy of: Caribbean Association Midwest America