The island of Antigua is half of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The first known settlers of the island were an indigenous people of the Americas that were on the island as early as 3100 BC. They were followed by others over the centuries. Then Columbus passed the island in 1493 and it then followed the history of the rest of these islands.
The British arrived in the 1600's and took control. The island became very important to them in the early 1700's when the English and French were fighting for control of the islands for the wealth they produced. Antigua was in a strategic defense position against the French.
The island nation became independent in 1981. It still has close ties to Britain in a complicated (to me) system of government which has Queen Elizabeth II serving as the island's Queen and is represented by a Governor General on the island. It is called a unitary, parliamentary, representative monarchy.
Today, tourism is the leading source of income for the over 80,000 inhabitants. It is called the land of 365 beaches and has resorts and luxury homes all over the island.
We opted for an island tour to get a feel for the its history and scenic vistas. Our first stop was a 1700's British mountain battery fortification that gives amazing views of the south coast. This position was selected because no ship could pass close to the island without being spotted. If they approached too close, they would be under the battery canon.
Next was "The Lookout", just a short distance from the battery. This location on the southernmost tip of the island overlooks the 1700's British harbor and behind it, Nelson's Dockyard. On this point is the lookout station that can spot enemy ships and signal the fleet in the harbor and the canon batteries nearby of the enemies position. A water catchment system for fresh water is located here. There were barracks for the officers and galley for feeding the crews. Here you have a great view of the natural harbor and the dockyards just beyond.
Next we drove through the country side and descended to sea level and visited Nelson's Dockyard. Today it is a cultural heritage site and high end marina and well known for Antigua sailing week.. During the 1700's it was the heart of the island's defense system. Admiral Horatio Nelson lived at the dockyard for four years starting in 1784. It is an wonderful place to wander around with many of the original buildings now be used for modern activities. You can imagine the tall ships at the dock while enjoying the sight of many modern yachts laying where wooden British war ships were preparing for war well over 200 years ago.
Home used by British royal family during island visits overlooking the dockyard
Original winches used for ship repair's in the 1700's
Original bldg now used as a hotel and restaurant
Called Nelson's home, but was build after he left the island..now a museum
Original bakery still in use
What remains of original boathouse.