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The Antiqua and Barbuda Collections Exhibition
The Antiqua and Barbuda Collections
1) British Colony
3.Travel Around with Pictures collections
The Antiqua and Barbuda Historic collections
Antigua was first settled by pre-agricultural Amerindians known as “Archaic People”, (although they are commonly, but erroneously known in Antigua as Siboney, a preceramic Cuban people). The earliest settlements on the island date to 2900 BC. They were succeeded by ceramic-using agriculturalist Saladoid people who migrated up the island chain from Venezuela. They were later replaced by Arawakan speakers around 1200 AD, and around 1500 by Island Caribs.
The Arawaks were the first well-documented group of Antiguans. They paddled to the island by canoe (piragua) from Venezuela, ejected by the Caribs—another people indigenous to the area. Arawaks introduced agriculture to Antigua and Barbuda, raising, among other crops, the famous Antiguan “Black” pineapple. They also cultivated various other foods including:
sweet potatoes (White with firmer flesh than the bright orange “sweet potato” used in the United States.)
Some of the vegetables listed, such as corn and sweet potatoes, still play an important role in Antiguan cuisine.
For example, a popular Antiguan dish, Ducuna (DOO-koo-NAH) is a sweet, steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes, flour and spices. In addition, one of the Antiguan staple foods, fungee (FOON-ji), is a cooked paste made of cornmeal and water.
The bulk of the Arawaks left Antigua about 1100 A.D. Those who remained were subsequently raided by the Caribs. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Carib’s superior weapons and seafaring prowess allowed them to defeat most Arawak nations in the West Indies—enslaving some, and cannibalizing others.
The Catholic Encyclopedia does make it clear that the European invaders had some difficulty identifying and differentiating between the various native peoples they encountered. As a result, the number and types of ethnic/tribal/national groups in existence at the time may be much more varied and numerous than the two mentioned in this Article.
According to A Brief History of the Caribbean (Jan Rogozinski, Penguin Putnam, Inc September 2000 ), European and African diseases, malnutrition and slavery eventually destroyed the vast majority of the Caribbean’s native population. No researcher has conclusively proven any of these causes as the real reason for the destruction of West Indian natives. In fact, some historians believe that the psychological stress of slavery may also have played a part in the massive number of native deaths while in servitude. Others believe that the reportedly abundant, but starchy, low-protein diet may have contributed to severe malnutrition of the “Indians” who were used to a diet fortified with protein from sea-life.
The Indigenous West Indians made excellent sea vessels that they used to sail the Atlantic and Caribbean. As a result, Caribs and Arawaks populated much of South American and the Caribbean Islands. Relatives of the Antiguan Arawaks and Caribs still live in various countries in South America, notably Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. The smaller remaining native populations in the West Indies maintain a pride in their heritage.
Christopher Columbus landed on the islands in 1493, naming the larger one Santa Maria de la Antigua. However, early attempts by Europeans to settle the islands failed due to the Caribs’ excellent defenses. England succeeded in colonising the islands in 1632, with Thomas Warner as the first governor. Settlers raised tobacco, indigo, ginger, and sugarcane as cash crops. Sir Christopher Codrington established the first large sugar estate in Antigua in 1674, and leased Barbuda to raise provisions for his plantations. Barbuda’s only town is named after him. In the fifty years after Codrington established his initial plantation, the sugar industry became so profitable that many farmers replaced other crops with sugar, making it the economic backbone of the islands. Codrington and others brought slaves from Africa’s west coast to work the plantations under brutal conditions.
By 1736, so many slaves had been brought in from Africa that their conditions were crowded and open to unrest. A slave called “Prince Klaas” (whose real name was Count), out of extreme oppression, killing, rape and force conversion to Christianity by the European war mongers, planned an uprising in which the African origin peoples would be freed, but the plot was discovered and put down by killing of thousands of African people who were brought from their African homeland to Antigua as forced slavery.
During the 18th century, Antigua was used as the headquarters of the British Royal Navy Caribbean fleet. English Dockyard, as it came to be called, a sheltered and well-protected deepwater port, was the main base and facilities there were greatly expanded during the later 18th century. Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson commanded the British fleet for much of this time, and made himself unpopular with local merchants by enforcing the Navigation Act, a British ruling that only British-registered ships could trade with British colonies. As the United States were no longer British colonies, the act posed a problem for merchants, who depended on trade with the fledgling country.
The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, is composed of several islands, with the two namesake islands being the largest. Antigua is the largest and most populated of the islands. The islands are located on the eastern portion of the Caribbean in the Lesser Antilles island archipelago.
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