Anguilla: Culture and History
Anguilla is a small West Indian island that is still a member of the British Crown colony. It is the most northerly of the British Leeward Islands and it is about thirty-five square miles in area. It has The Valley as its capital, which is in the middle of the island. The native language of the Anguillans is English.
The island has recently been developing its tourist industry, as prior to that, the island had no visitor facilities. There was a government decision to invest in the facilities as the island has some of the finest beaches in the Eastern Caribbean.
The major industries there are fishing, tourism and boat building. It has now become one of the trendier top-end destinations in the Eastern Caribbean.
Anguilla has a population of about twelve thousand and their religious faith comprise of about 40% Anglicans, 33% Methodists, 15% Roman Catholic and other religions, 7% Adventists and 5% Baptists. It has one single road from The Valley headed west and two main roads head eastwardly. All roads branch off from these three roads.
The Anguillan culture is a mixture of British and African influences. This area of the Leeward is devoid of much rainfall, consequently, the island is arid and devoid of much forestation. The Anguillans focus their attention toward the sea, and therefore there is a great deal of interest in boat racing. There are a great number of unfinished homes there, as there are several Anguillans living abroad, who build their homes and furnish them base on spending capital earned overseas.
Arawak Indians were the first settlers in Anguilla as far back as 3500 years ago. There were very good fishermen, but were subsequently defeated by the Carib Indians, who called the island Malliouhana. The early Spanish explorers named the island Anguilla, which means "eel", perhaps because of its elongated shape.
The British were the first Europeans to establish itself as the colonial rulers over this island. The French tried to wrest colonial rule from the British in 1745, when a force of about seven hundred soldiers landed at Crocus Bay but they were outnumbered two to one by the British. The British and Anguillans who fought beside them repelled the French. The French made another effort in 1796 and were again repelled.
Britain viewed Anguilla as a liability rather than an asset and sought to align it with St. Kitts and Nevis, which were British dependencies at that time. Anguillans, fearing that the Kittians would subjugate them armed themselves for the upcoming battle against the Kittian army. The British misjudged the situation and therefore rushed some troops into Anguilla for a pending battle that never materialized. Anguilla had gotten what it wanted, that is, to remain a British colony, rather than to be an association with St. Kitts and Nevis. Britain granted Anguilla a heightened degree of home rule, and it is still a British dependency.