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It is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region and the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda.
Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981. The capital is situated in the north-west and has a deep harbour which is able to accommodate large cruise ships.
Today, collectors prize the uniquely designed "colonial" furniture built by West Indian slaves.
Many of these works feature what are now considered "traditional" motifs, such as pineapples, fish and stylized serpents.
It was located on the major sailing routes among the region's resource-rich colonies.
Lord Horatio Nelson, a major figure in Antigua history, arrived in the late 18th century to preserve the island's commercial shipping prowess.
For a large portion of Antigua history, the island was considered Britain's "Gateway to the Caribbean".
In fact, some historians Sugar became Antigua's main crop in about 1674, when Christopher Codrington (c 1640-1698) settled at Betty's Hope plantation.
He came from Barbados, bringing the latest sugar technology with him.
It is the site of a restored British colonial naval station called "Nelson's Dockyard" after Captain Horatio Nelson.
Today English Harbour and the neighbouring village of Falmouth are known as a yachting and sailing destination and provisioning centre.As a result, the Arawak and Carib populated much of the South American and the Caribbean islands. Sir Christopher Codrington, an Englishman, established the first permanent European settlement.Their descendants live throughout South America, particularly Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. From that point on, Antigua history took a dramatic turn.The Arawak introduced agriculture to Antigua and Barbuda.