Anguilla at a Glance

Anguilla is 91 sq kms in size and is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean. Anguilla lies 113 km to the west of St Kitts and 8 km to the north of St Maarten and is east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The island is a coral limestone foundation mostly flat with its highest elevation at Crocus Hill at 65 m above sea level.

Anguilla is sub tropical with the heat and humidity tempered by trade winds, temperatures average 27 degrees centigrade and the mean annual rainfall is 789.25 mm.

It is only a few minutes by air from the major international airport of St Maarten and is served by regular flights from the other international Caribbean gateways of Antigua and Puerto Rico. AnguillaĆ­s location and its reputation as a friendly and virtually crime-free society has established itself as a high-end tourist destination.

Fact File:

Capital:The Valley
Official Language:English
Total Population:12,871 (1999 estimate, Ministry of Finance), 276 per Sq km
Head of State:Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Governor:Appointed by Her Majesty’s Government
Currency:Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$)
United States Dollar (US$)
Time Zones:Eastern Standard Time +1 hour
Greenwich Mean Time -4 hours
Phone Code:1-264 and local 7 digit number
Telecom Service:Cable & Wireless (West Indies) Ltd. Provides high quality domestic and international services
Airport:Wallblake Airport
Airlines:Direct flights to:
Puerto Rico – British Airways and major American carriers, including American, Delta and UnitedSt Maarten – K.L.M., B.W.I.A., American Airlines, Air Canada, Continental, Air France and United AirlinesAntigua – British Airways, Air Canada, American Airlines and B.W.I.A.LIAT, Tyden Air and Winair also provide direct flights to Puerto Rico, St Maarten and Antigua
Adult Literacy:92%
Education:Is free and compulsory between the ages of five and seventeen. There is one state comprehensive school, six state primary schools and five day care centres for children under the age of five.
Transport:The main method of transportation is by car. There are taxis for hire and several car rental companies. There is a limited bus service.
Sea Ports:The principal port is located at Road Bay in Sandy Ground. There is a smaller port at Blowing Point which serves the passenger ferry to and from St Maarten.
Shipping Lines:A weekly service is provided by two U.S. Lines, Tropical Shipping and Bernuth Line, which operate between Miami and Anguilla. There is a daily freight service to and from St Maarten.

Historical Overview

As early Europeans sailed past Anguilla for the first time, they must have marvelled at the contrast between it and its mountainous neighbour St. Martin just a few miles to the south. The island is flat with only a few rolling hills rising to the highest elevation of 213 feet. Early visitors would have been enthralled by its most striking feature: the dozens of blinding white sand beaches which ring its coastline, some stretching for miles and others hidden away in tiny inlets. In a region renowned for pristine beaches, Anguilla’s rank among the finest.

It is not clear whether these first voyagers came ashore. If they did they would have found a limestone and coral island covered with low vegetation, rocky in some places but with areas of more fertile soil in the low-lying areas or “bottoms”, and they with a few salt ponds scattered here and there. As they sailed away its long narrow shape inspired them to name it “L’Anguille”, the French word for “eel”. They left this tranquil paradise to slumber in peace for many more years before the first colonists arrived to settle on what in time came to be called Anguilla.

The island was first thrust upon the international stage in 1967 when it unilaterally opted out of a union with St. Kitts and Nevis. The tri-island Associated state was moving towards independence and the Anguillans decided that, rather than continue under the rule of St. Kitts, they would take their chances, seek to secede from the union and remain under British rule. The events which followed are well documented. The island briefly became the subject of newspaper headlines worldwide. After much political and diplomatic manoeuvring, a political settlement was reached but not before British paratroopers had landed in Anguilla to restore order. Instead of the heavily armed rebel force which they expected, the British troops were met by islanders waving Union Jacks and singing “Rule Brittania”; this, after all, was precisely the objective which they were seeking to bring about.

In 1981 the island was formally separated from St. Kitts and Nevis. Today it remains a British Overseas Territory with a similar constitutional status to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The late 1970’s and early 1980’s saw a new and exciting development. Anguilla embarked upon a major initiative to become a high quality, exclusive tourist destination. This initiative yielded immediate and remarkable success and the 1980’s was a decade of rapid economic and social development for the island. The boom in construction as resorts were built, coupled with the creation of jobs in this new tourism sector confirmed Anguilla’s position as one of the most affluent islands in the region. The secret of its success is undoubtedly the image which it has carefully built as a high-end tourist destination and as a place where the discerning visitor can enjoy peace and privacy in some of the most luxurious resorts in the world.

Anguilla has also been involved in the provision of international financial services for many years. In 1991 the Government took the decision to develop the financial services sector as a means of strengthening and diversifying the overall economic base and to provide another employment source for Anguillians who were now obtaining university education in unprecedented numbers. The island already possessed most of its characteristics that are essential to an international financial services centre. These have assisted financial planners to put together structures requiring a neutral tax jurisdiction.