Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the northeastern Caribbean
, first settled by Amerindian tribes who migrated here from South America
The earliest Amerindian artifacts found on Anguilla have been dated to around 1300 BC, and remains of some settlements here date from 600 AD.
Its actual discovery by Europeans
is in dispute to this day; some say Columbus sighted it in 1493, while others claim the French
first arrived in 1564.
Most seem to agree that Christopher Columbus 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.
Those 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.
Regardless, in 1650, English settlers from Saint Kitts
arrived and colonized the island. The remaining Caribs and French forces tried to control it, but in the end, the English remained in charge.
It is likely that some of the early Europeans brought enslaved Africans with them, but when compared to other Caribbean islands, their numbers remained small.
During the early colonial period, Anguilla was administered by the British through Antigua, but in 1824 it was placed under the administrative control of nearby Saint Kitts.
In 1967, Britain
granted Saint Kitts and Nevis
full internal autonomy, and Anguilla was also incorporated into the new unified dependency, named Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, against the wishes of many Anguillians.
This led to two rebellions in 1967 and 1969 (Anguillian Revolution), headed by Ronald Webster, and a brief period as a self-declared independent republic. British authority was fully restored in July, 1971.
In 1980 Anguilla was finally allowed to secede from Saint Kitts and Nevis and become a separate British colony (now termed a British overseas territory).
Anguilla is known as a quiet, peaceful island, with miles and miles of white sand beaches, all ringed by crystal clear waters.
Tourism is the major industry, and visitors (many coming to scuba dive
), arrive by air, while some take one of the convenient ferries linking Anguilla with Marigot, St. Martin.