Antigua (An-tee-gah) may be an independent nation, but it is still British in many of its traditions. Economically, it has transformed itself from a poverty-stricken island of sugar plantations to a modern-day vacation haven. The landscape of rolling, rustic Antigua is dotted with stone towers that were once sugar mills.
The first people that are known to have lived in Antigua are the SIBONEY or 'stone people' who were here in 1775 B.C.. They had stone and shell tools, and lived on whatever natural resources they could find. Traces of them are found at Jolly Beach, Deep Bay and North Sound.
The ARAWAKS date from the time of Christ, coming to these islands in paddled canoes from South America. They introduced agriculture into Antigua and Barbuda, bringing such crops as pineapples, corn, sweet potatoes, peppers, guava, tobacco and cotton. They mostly lived on the north and east sides of Antigua, where the reefs provided good fishing. Some of the places they lived are at Indian Creek, Marmora Bay, Half Moon Bay, Mill Reef, Green Island, Cloverleaf Bay, Long Bay, Coconut Hall, Galley Bay, Hawksbill and Curtain Bluff. They left Antigua about 1100 A.D., but some remained, who were then raided by the CARIBS, another Indian people based in Dominica. The Caribs named Antigua "Waladli", Barbuda "Wa'omoni" and Redonda"Ocanamanru".
COLUMBUS named this island "Antigua" in 1493, as he sailed past. It is named for the Cathedral in Seville, Spain, "Santa Maria La Antigua". He is said to have prayed in this church before the Voyage. From then on, several explorers came to Antigua, as well as Buccaneers, who exploited the island for its timbers, medicinal and dye plants, and the cattle which they had introduced as a source of meat.