Along with the traditional friendly smile, reggae, calypso, sea and sun imagery used for depicting most Caribbean islands, Anguilla’s tourism and economic profile has evolved into one of high-class, that is luxurious and with much potential for further development.

The many villas, resorts and hotels that align Anguilla’s beaches are a sign of the level of investment and economic growth that the country has had over the past decade regardless of its size and topographical features, which, initially appeared to be unfavorable for economic growth but, today, have become the basis for Anguilla’s success.

In its initial stages of development, Anguilla’s growth pattern was similar to that of other English speaking Caribbean islands, but the country’s thin arid soil, limestone and coral formation did not provide favorable conditions for the further development of the agriculture industry, which was mainly based on the production of sugar cane, and then over the years, banana. Anguilla was abandoned by a vast majority of the first British settlers to whom the island did not present sufficient viable economic opportunities and as a result developed a small population made up of African slaves and a few white plantation owners.

Population growth remained relatively slow as Anguilla’s economic activities shifted from large scale agriculture to peasant farming, fishing, boat building and salt production, which did not require large amounts of labour and eventually became the mainstay of the island’s economy. However, with the advent of tourism, little rainfall, abundant sunshine and bare white coasts that were considered “disadvantages” were translated into beautiful emerald coasts and good weather conditions – the perfect conditions for attracting foreign investment and developing the tourism and business sectors.

Firstly, Anguilla is located in the northeastern part of the Leeward Islands, which puts it away from the regular path of annual tropical storms; saving the country from the constant expenditure and rebuilding that many other Caribbean islands tend to deal with on a yearly basis. Then, Anguilla’s status as a British Overseas Territory (BOT) has assisted it in establishing a well-regulated legislative framework, advanced telecommunications facilities and gives foreign investors and tourists the sense of credibility, political and economic security that they look for in countries in which they show interest. These major factors have contributed to Anguilla’s development as an emerging financial services center, offshore jurisdiction and tourist destination.

Anguilla’s history begins with the traces of the horticultural Saladoids who migrated from the Barrancas and Saladero regions of the northeastern Venezuelan coast; – tools, artwork and pottery that are distinguished from the creations of other West Indian indigenous tribes by their unique firing techniques and colours. The geological and religious significance of Saladoid culture and mythology in Anguilla was reinforced by the discovery of rock carvings or Petroglyphs in the Fountain Cavern during various archeological expeditions to Anguilla that date evidence of religious rituals and other practices at the site between AD 300 and the early 15th Century.

Early occupation of Anguilla is reported to have begun somewhere in the early 1630’s by Dutch voyagers who roamed the seas of the New World in search of riches, although no evidence of the Dutch presence on Anguilla has ever been discovered. British colonization took place twenty years (1650) later when Anguilla, along with all of the Eastern Caribbean islands, with the exception of Martinique and Guadeloupe, was officially settled by the British.

The late 1930’s brought tension to Anguilla when the island was integrated into a union of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla. This was disapproved of by the majority of Anguillans who felt that they were forced into a grouping that neglected and poorly represented their interests, especially because the island was allowed only one freeholder representative to the House of Assembly which was based in St. Kitts. Upon the collapse of the Federation of the West Indies in 1962, most of the islands drafted their own constitutions and Anguilla was made an associated statehood with St. Kitts and Nevis. Anguilla again disapproved of the decision and demanded its independence from the tri-state union with St. Kitts and Nevis.

The celebration of Anguilla Day on May 30th commemorates the removal of the Royal St. Kitts Police Force from Anguilla by angry protesters. In an article titled Revolution was Rumbling Like A Volcano, written in celebration the 30th anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution, Atlin Harrigan gives an exciting, vivid and personal account of the confrontations that took place both in Anguilla and St. Kitts during Anguilla’s fight for independence from the Federation.

On December 19, 1980, Anguilla was finally declared a separate Dependent British Territory and granted a certain degree of self-autonomy, after several years of debate regarding the island’s succession. Today, Anguilla has a pluriform multi-party system, the Chief Minister is leader of Government and the English Crown is represented by the Governor General who is the Head of State.

Anguilla is often considered a collection of cays or flat, low-lying coral and limestone islands that include Anguillita, Scrub Island, Sombrero, Dog Island, Sandy Island, Seal Island, Prickly Pear Cays and Scilly Cays. The Valley, Anguilla’s capita, has an estimated population of 1, 169 inhabitants.