According to Countryaah, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda is Saint John’s. The Carribes inhabited most of the islands in the sea that bear their name today, but in the 16th century they left many of these islands – including Antigua – due to lack of fresh water.
The name Antigua was given by Christopher Columbus to an island in the Antilles in 1493 in memory of the church in Seville, “Santa María de Antigua”. The Spaniards arrived in the island in 1520 and the French in 1629, but they too had to leave because of the lack of fresh water. However, some Englishmen had developed techniques for collecting and storing rainwater and therefore remained on the island.
In 1640 there were 30 families on the island. The few natives who had been there had been killed by the settlers who acquired African slaves to work first in the tobacco and later sugar cane plantations.
In 1666, war broke out between England and France, prompting the French governor of Martinique to invade the island and abduct all slaves. When the English regained the island in 1676, a wealthy landowner from Barbados – Colonel Codrington – acquired large lands on the island and introduced new slaves. Sugar production on the island was thus resumed.
Slavery was abolished in the British colonies in 1838. Nevertheless, Antigua continued for several decades with a slave-like society – right up to the formation of trade unions in the early 20th century.
The island’s first trade union under the leadership of Vere Bird was established on January 16, 1939. Antigua’s Labor Party (ALP), which was the island’s first political party and also led by Bird, had its starting point in this union.