Some Aspects of the Antiguan and Barbudan Way of Life Past and Present.


African Influences  Medicinal plants  Rastafarianism  Wattle Houses  Villages 
 Proverbs Expressions Oral History  Music, Pan & Carnival Old Christmas 
 Pottery        Sports National Symbols  Themes    Warri National Heroes


The following 'African Influences' and the description of how Emancipation Day was spent, are extracts from the Museum's new publication "AFRICANS TO ANTIGUANS: The Slavery Experience".



CUSTOMS - The art of bush plant healing is a relic from Africa and elsewhere. Gordon.    

Old people are acquainted with wild plants for certain diseases.  AAII: 51.

Masked costume individuals in Carnival originate from celebrations of the Yoruba, Asante of West Africa.  W&H 1989: 72.

Some Yoruba marriages were polygynous. "Outside children" are thus an African link. Gordon 1989: 25.

Warri came from the Gold Coast. It is the name of a Niger Delta tribe. HAS NL #18:3.

The shapes and methods used by Seaview Farm potters have African origins. Decorative punctuations in the pottery are of African design.       

The head was used to bear burdens, even cups or bottles. 3 or 4 year olds as well.  AAII: 146.

FOOD - Some foods that were brought to Antigua and Barbuda by the slave trade are Eddo, ochra, dasheen, eggplant, bonavista bean.  Harris: 115.

In Ghana, Ducana is Dokono and in the Twi language, Odokono. Fungi. H&W 1989: 77.

MUSIC - The emphasis on rhythm and its expression, and frequent use of percussion. Call and response. W&H 1989: 76.

RELIGION - Rastafarianism is an active religious doctrine with firm roots in Africa, within the Caribbean.  Gordon 1989:34.

Halie Selassie of Ethiopia became a messiah in spirit to the Rastafarians.  Gordon 1989: 34.

SUPERSTITIONS  - Placenta buried in one’s yard, the dry navel put in coal pot and no fire to be taken for 9 days, has at times persisted.  Adelaide Samuel, Pers. Comm. 1989.

Jumbies (Duppies) are vindictive and mischievous spirits of the bush and graveyard.  W&H 1989: 74.

Obeah was brought from West Africa by the slaves.  Drummond xiii.

Obeah was formerly carried on to a great extent. Description and stories are given.  AAII:50-54.

Even in days of freedom people use Obeah. Obeah bottles are used to guard provision grounds.  AAII: 52,54.

CULTURE - The Akan people have a spider hero, Anansi.  Ntikuma (Tacooma) was his son.W&H: 75.

Names.   African given names are used again today for example: Nsenga, Omowale, Keita, Ogwambi, Kwame, Nkosi, Malika, Kunle, Ato, Nekoda, Nyambi, Nkuma, Makeba, N'Jeri, Iyo. Pers. Comm. Janice Augustin

Old time African names still used today are Quashy, Polydore, Pompey etc.See Telephone Book 2003.

LANGUAGE - The Antiguan Creole today, has several words which are of West African origin, based on the tribes who came to the island.  Here are some of them:
Bassa bassa: "fooling around". Antroba= 'trober (plant). ETHenry Pers. Comm. with a West African.

Catta: A wad of cloth placed on the head to facilitate the carrying of heavy loads.
From  Twi   kata to cover or protect     
Congo: nkata

Cum cum saw: Just come, thinks he knows it all. On-a-me=An na me (It's not  me!" ). ETHenry Pers. Comm. with a West African.

Dukuna:  A small pudding made of varying mixtures of grated sweet potatoes, coconut, cornmeal plantain-flour.
From Akan: doko na  sweeten mouth      Twi:  boiled maize   Ga: Adangme  dokona 
Fungee:  Boiled cornmeal   From Twi: fugyee   Yoruba: funje  
Kunumunu: A man easily controlled by a woman. From Yoruba:  kunun, lacking in self-confidence.   kong-kong-sa,  to take sided, biased.   From  Twi

Nyam: To eat greedily. 
From a number of overlapping African languages.
Wagie/waggi/wajy: Used clothing; hand-me-downs.
From Igb:  wa,  to divide.   Je, to wear.
Yabba: A round, open, earthen ware vessel used mostly for cooking. Varies in size.  From Twi: ayawa  earthen vessel or dish
Yampi/yampie: Mucus exuded in the corner of the eyes especially after sleeping
From Twi: mpe
Warri: A game played with marbles or nichars.   From: Twi: ware    Fante: nware


Sources:   Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage:  Richard Allsopp
              Colours and Rhythms of Selected
Caribbean Creole: Joy Lawrence

Some Antiguan Proverbs are stemmed from West Africa. For example: “When man dead, grass grow at he door”.


AGRICULTURE - Slash and burn is still practiced. Huckster’s: the role of women in marketing is from Ghana. W&H 1989: 76.



1834    July 31.Thursday—Some timorous planter families did not go to bed on emancipation night, fearing lest the same bell which sounded freedom of the slaves might bring the death knell of the masters. At the Wesleyan Chapel when the midnight bell started to strike the congregation fell to their knees to pray.

Scarcely had the clock sounded its last note, when lightning flashed vividly around and a loud peal of thunder roared along the sky. Then came the burst they shouted, they sung, "Glory!", "Alleluia!" they clapped their hands, leaped up, fell down, clasped each other in their free hands, cried, laughed, went to and fro, tossing upward their unfettered hands, but high above the whole was a mighty sound … the uttering in broken negro dialect of gratitude to God. 

When the clock began to strike midnight, the people of Antigua were SLAVES ...when it ceased they were all FREEMEN! There had never been in the history of the world, so great and instantaneous change in the condition of so large a body of people. Freedom was like passing suddenly out of a dark dungeon into the light of the sun.


1834 Aug 1st  - On this day there was no frolicking, but nearly all the people went to  church  to “Tank God to make a we free!   There was more `religious' on dat day dan you could ‘tink of!".

 Many planters went to the chapels where their own people were assembled, greeted them, shook hands with them, and exchanged the most hearty good wishes.  The churches were thronged all over the island. At Grace Hill at least a thousand persons around the chapel could not get in.  During emancipation day and night, not a single dance was held, nor so much as a fiddle played. There were no riotous assemblies nor drunken carousels. Gratitude was the absorbing emotion.

Emancipation Day was celebrated very festively at Willoughby Bay (Bridgetown). The Wesleyan Chapel was all decorated with coconut fronds and at the schoolroom children and the elderly were entertained with cakes and lemonade. The first part of the day was spent in church, and in the evening people danced and were merry. Nowhere in the island was there any disturbance. After the holiday, labourers worked on equitable terms and sugar cultivation proceeded as before. Some slaves had avowed their intention of SLEEPING A WHOLE WEEK when freed, as if to prove to themselves and others, that they were truly MASTERS of their own bodies and time.

Planters believed that after such a revolution as emancipation there would be some relaxation of labour during the week following emancipation. But at  Dr. Daniel's estate (Weatherill's) of which he was manager, he found all hands in the field early on  Monday morning. However at his own estate (probably Belmont) his people were standing  with their hands on their hoes doing nothing. "What does  this mean, my  fellows, that you are not at work this morning?”  They immediately replied, "It is not because we don’t want to work, massa, but we wanted to see you first  to see what the BARGAIN would be". After that was decided on, the whole body of  WORKERS turned out cheerfully.

Mr. Howell, manager of Thibou Jarvis's Estate remembered arising from his bed on the 1st of August hearing exclamations of joy,  "I am free, I am free, I was the greatest slave on the estate, now I am Free!”.


MEDICINAL PLANTS                                                                                                                                   


   18. GO HOLLER  


Here is a list of plants sold at the St. John's Market, bought from Christophine Isaac of John Hughes, huckster about 40 yrs old and Eunice Chapman, also from John Hughes.


The main informant was Edith Brown of Bolans, born 20 May 1915.

Saturday 29th June, 1991.


1.  JUSTICA SECUNDA Vahl   St. John's Bush  For Colds.

 Fever. Cleans out the stomach, "It operate you!".

3.  PIMENTA RACEMOSA Christmas bush "Put it in porridge or tea for  taste".
4.  PACHYSTACHYS SPICATA Gas bush Eliminate gas.
5.  POLYPODIUM AUREUM  Paulter parcher Cold, asthma, "shortness of breath".
6.  PASSIFLORA FOETIDA  Pop-pop bush Gas, colds, in pregnancy "Help baby move around".
7.  OSIMUM  CANUM  Nu-nu Balsam Good for digestion.
8.  PIMENTA DIOIA Bay leaf Same as  3. Pimenta racemosum.
9.  PHTHIROSA CARIBAEA? Mistletoe Colds, diabetes, washing skin.
10. BAMBUSA VULGARIS Bamboo Coughs, colds, measles.
13. PLUCEA ODORATA Cattle tongue Asthma, tobacco subst,fever.
14. PHYLLANTHUS EPIPHYLLANTHUS Bilbush Colds, diarrhea,abortion, tea.
15. CYMBOPOGON CITRATUS Fever grass Colds, chills, fevers.
16. MERREMIA DISSECTA No-Yo Colds, coughs.
17. EUCALYPTUS Eucalyptus Colds, fever, malaria.
18. PICRAMNIA PENTANDRA Go holler Diarrhea, tea for biliousness, "Good for anything"




The Rastafarian movement was developed in Jamaica in the 1950 's and  spread throughout the West Indies. The word means Head Creator, which continually reminds Rastafari that they are the ones who have chosen the task of saving, guiding and protecting mother nature. It is a biblical religion emphasizing life, love and peace among all living creatures.  By practising "cultural resistance" and self-reliance, the Rastafarians use natural foods (ital) and herbal remedies, avoiding consumerism and other modern practices.  The Lion of Judah is portrayed in paintings and poetry, is of great bodily strength, mighty roar, intelligence and total movement.  His mane resembles the unique Rastafarian hairstyle of 'dreadlocks' and his proud and dignified gait is imitated. Rastafarianism is synonymous with Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, who is believed to have united the human and animal worlds. His name means Power of the Holy Trinity, jah Father, the Son and Holy One. Rasta live by his teachings and are inspired by his works established for us his anointed Saints to continue and complete when mankind is free.

The Four Colours used in decor and clothing are:

Reggae is a popular music form emerging in Jamaica since the 1960's.   It is: "The music of blood, black reared, pain rooted, heart-geared", (Linton Kwesi Johnson in 'Bass Culture').  It expresses belief in Africans and opposition to their exploitation in the New World.  It was popularised by Bob Marley, who aspired to change the world through principles of love and liberation of all people. Marley made reggae music as well as Rastas, internationally famous. 

Cannabis (Ganga) is treated as a sacrament, the 'Holy Herb" or "Wisdom Weed", was used for rituals only.




In the 1940's conditions of extreme poverty existed in Antigua. The people's rural cottages were made of wattle and daub: woven sticks plastered with mud and roofed with cane trash. It was not unusual for a family of six to eight to inhabit these cramped one-roomed dwellings.

Often the floors were bare earth, which sometimes hosted biting insects called jiggers. Clothes were supplemented with articles made with burlap sacks, known locally as crocus bags. Later, old flour bags were used. House wares were of folk pottery and the hollowed out shell of the calabash gourd. A smoky light was obtained from a rag stuffed in a bottle of kerosene oil, called a flambeau.

Working hours were long, from 6 am to 5 pm. Devoid of sanitary facilities, it does not take too much imagination to appreciate the unhealthy and socially impoverished situation which prevailed under such living conditions.

It was when two hurricanes ravished Antigua and Barbuda in 1951, that most of the wattle and daub cottages were blown down, never to be rebuilt. The 1950's did indeed begin to show a new awakening for Antiguans and Barbudans in their work and living conditions.

Old time Antiguan names for these cottages were: 'Trash Houses' and 'Stand back 'n Fire'.




A good kip (kept woman) better than a bad marriage.

A little is betta than nuttin'.

A no ebery day rain come light.

A pound 'ob fretment, no pay for a gill of debtment.

A word bettah dan a wink fo' a blind horse.

Absence of body better than presence of mind.

According to your act you get you wack (You're dealt with according to your ways)

After cloud, clear wedda (weather).

After laughter cometh tears

Ah no wanting a tongue mek cattle can't talk (It's not wise to say what one tink)

All cassada got de same 'kin, but all na hab de same tas'e.

All good night no mean goin' to bed.

Alligator lay egg, but him no fowl.

Alligator n'yam crapaud fo' bellyful, an' drink fo' sweet mout'.

Always try de water befo' you jump in it.

Ants know hard time a'come dat mek he does carry plenty food fo put in he house.

Anybody trouble me, I no see him, but me tell him howd'ye if we meet a pass.

Back can wait, but not belly.

Bad luck a obeah.

Bad name nebber kill rat.

Bad pasture mek sheep shabby.

Bad picnic an' young mule a one.

Bad 'ring nebber die.

Bad t'ing hab no owner.

Bald head soon shake.

Barkin' save a bitin'.

Bat trus' he'self to me to mek he hang a' raftertop.

Beautiful woman, beautiful trouble.

Beauty without grace is like a rose without t'orns or smell.

Because parrot mek noise dem say a he one eat banana.

Bef' face an' behin' back no' a one.

Before wedding it is 'me dear', after wedding it is 'you brute'.

Beggah dat beg from beggah nebber grow rich. (Beggar)

Beggar a look for work, but a-pray for no get am!

Behind back hab no ear.

Belieb half what you see, nuttin' what you hear.

Belly - full tell hungry - man 'kip - heart'

Bellyful bruk pot.

Bellyful man tell hungry man 'Keep heart buddy'.


Betta fe be lion-hearted gan pig-headed,

Betta fo' see some'ting, before some'ting see you.

Betta fo watch banbox full ob cockroach dan watch wan gal.

Betta for dem larf afta you when you right dan cry ober you when you wrong.

Bettah a go a heaven a pauper dan Hell a Rectah.

Bettah fo' beg dan to borrow.

Bettah fo' keep one cat dan fifty mouse.

Better belly fe' bus' dar good t'ings pwoil.

Better fe short ob pence dan short ob sense,

Better man belly bus' than good food waste.

Big house hab big 'tory.

Big promise mek fool many.

Big ship need big water.

Big story choke darg (dog).

Big word bruk no man's jawbone.

Big yeye choke mangy cat.

Bird sing sweet fo' he own he nest.

Bit-bit make poun'.

Black fowl can lay white egg.

Black man tief, him tief half bit, bucra tief himself whole estate.

Blind man see neighbours faults.

Boat sail too fas' go under water

Bottle no hab 'toppa belong to cockroach.

Brag is bery good darg, but hol'fast is better.

Braggin' ribah bebber drown somebody.

Brick 'pon brick mek house.

Bull frog say him a man, but he buil' house 'pon sand.

Bull horn nebber too nearby fo' bull head.

Bull loose a' pasture, man no boun' for walk close to he.

Bush heb yeye.

Buy beef you buy bone, buy lan' you buy rock 'tone.

Buy you' own n'yam (food), n'yam according to you' pocket.

Calabash a float a trench but can't float a ribbah.

Calabash outside green but him belly white.

Cane no grow like a grass.

Can't help"" no do for purpose."

Cat foot dof', but he 'cratch fo' true.

Chain fall down, bench get up.

Cheap bargain tek money

Choose a wife on a Saturday, nebber on a Sunday.

Clothes  cover character.

Cock grabble, hen grabble, picnie grabble, then dey can't sleep hungry.

Cock mout' kill cock.

Cockroach ha' no right in fowl house.(You no right to meddle in others business)

Cockroach nebber hav' de right before fowl.

Cocobeh follow yawes  (Troubles do not come singly.)

Com-com-sah (to carry favour) worse than obeah.

Come see me is one ting; come live with me is another.

Constant dripping wear away stone.

Cousin fowl mek bery good soup.

Cow dat belong to butcher, he nebber say him bery well.

Cow hab no bisness in horsa-play.

Cow say "''Tan up"" don' mean rest."

Crab know 'e back no strong so 'e no go under rock

Crack ball nebber men'.

Cruppo no jump yhem picknie walk (Children usually follow their parents footstep

Cry-cry picknie nebber hab night.

Cut copse fo monkey to run.

Darg (dog) bark nebber frighten moon.

Dark night hab no gub'nah.

Dat time roach had dance, he no ask fowl for to come.

Dawg ha money he buy cheese.

De bird ob field mus' hab weed.

De first time ant tas'e molasses, he mash he 'kin in it.

De same knife dat cut goat t'roat can cut sheep t'roat.

De sea en'got no back door! (If you get in, there's no guarantee you'll get out)

De ship nebber sail too far from the block.

De stick which knock the wild goat will come back and knock the tame one.

De way puss walk, a no so he jump.

De wisest of man is sometimes a fool.

De worse o'livin' better than de bes' o' dead.

Dem dey and bad egg an penny (There are worthless, good for nothing people)

Dey take you out-a yo parents' house a June rose.When dey done wid you you.....

Don' brek down de bridge you mus' cross.

Dont' talk cattle on cattle back.

Dress dung to your teeth (Nicely dressed).

Drunk or sober, study your bar (Always keep a cool head).

Duck and fowl feed together, but dem no' roost together.

Dutty water cool hot iron.

Ebery darg (dog) know he dinner time; puss him four o'clock.

Ebery shut-eye na sleep.

Ebery time fowl lay egg e' try to tell the whole world.

Eberyday der debbil no help tief, one day God help watchman.

Empty bag can't stand.

Empty vessels make most noise.

Every bully have them cooler (meets his match)(Mongoose on snakes)

Every day a fishing day,but no other day a catching day(Tings not always bright)

Every day bucket go to well; one day rope mus' cut.

Every dog is lion in he own backyard.

Every good fungi no meet good pepperpot(Not ev.person meets a suitable companion

Every skin teeth na laugh. (All smiles may not be genuine)

Eye fraid work. (At first glance a job might seem difficult than itin fact is.)

Faraway fowl hab fine fedders.

Firs' laugh a no laugh, a large laugh a de laugh

Force make water go up hill. Workers started to stand up for themselves

Fowl say him go to bed early for fear of confusion.

Friend in court better than money in de pocket.

Frog nebber gargle he t'roat till he tas'e fresh water.

Fry de big fish first, de little ones after.

Fu true, fu true (its the truth)- Every dog have dey day- Dog cheap(Very cheap).

Furder in the copse better de shady.

Gi nigga a' inch an' dem tek an ell,gi' dem a' ole grey horse an' dem ride he

Gib a t'ing an' tek back a t'ing, dat a bad man's play-'ting.

Give Jack e' jacket (Give credit where credit is due).

Goat no go to war, but him send his skin.

God pay debt without money.

God-amighty nebber shut him eyes.

Good friend better dan money dey a pocket.

Good fungee nebar meet good pepperpot.

Good me do, t'anky me get.

Good nature mek nanny goat bawl out ob door.

Good owner mus'n't hab 'tingy oberseer

Good sometime' easy for' 'fling 'way but hard fo' pick up.

Good wife bettah dan station waggon.

Greed choke puppy.

Guinea bird keep company wid fowl when his foot bruk.

Guinea-pig say he no want 'tory, dat a mek he hab no long tail.

Half a loaf of bread,beg s'mody buy it, but if you wan' whole loaf buy it you'self

Han' come, han' go. (You help me and I will help you)

Han' go a buff - go a nigger house

Hand go, hand come.

Handsome woman, handsome roque.

Hang yo kokatoo where you can reach um

Han'some face an' good luck a no all one.

Hen grea fo' hatch duck egg, but she no 'grea fo' tek duck picnea fo' swim.

Hen nebber mek chicken too hot.

Higher monkey climb de more he show he arse.

Hollow gourdie mek de most noise.

Hungry belly an' full belly no' walk one pa. (road).

Hungry belly may no' know soup no sweet.

Hungry man got no massa.

I believe that planting sucker follow the root

If bad name could kill ratta, all ratta would go dead.

If bee didn't hab 'ting, he would not keep his honey.

If big breeze blow wat anchor, wha you 'tink ob fowl fedder (feather).

If crab no walk he no get fat;if he walk too far he fall in de pot.

If man can' dance, him say de music no good.

If man no walk at night, he no know dat puss hab cockeye.

If niggah hate you, he gib you basket for carry water, but if you clever you pu

If nightingale sing too much him kill him mumma (jealousy).

If you call tiger massa, he willin' to n'yam wid you.

If you can't be a figure don't be a naught.

If you can't get turkey, satisfy with cock chicken.

If you heb glass window, nebber t'row stones.

If you heb no door fo' shut, shut you mout'.

If you keep you fingernail clean you can put it in gentleman's dish.

If you lie down with dog you get up wid fleas.

If you lub good fo' yourself, you mus' lub good fo' you' frien'.

If you nebber put on ledda (shoes) you will nebber feel de pinch.

If you ride de harse (horse), you mus' pay to shoe him.

If you try to play warri with God you will get no seed  (See meaning)

If you want to hear how de story go, wait 'til quarrel come.

If you want to know how ole woman' tongue long, you mu' pull she jigger out.

In for a penny, in for a pound (Go to the limit and bear the consequencies)

Is not every shine teeth a good laugh (Not all that smiles with you mean well)

It isn't one time dog want bone (You'll need something else again)

Jackass say dis world ain't level.

Jill-pot turn down, pot-bottom turn up

Jumbie know who foo freiken a foreday morning(Keep off peoplewith exagg.behavior

Jumbie know who foo friken a foreday morning(Keep off people w/exag. behaviour).

Jury gone upstairs. (Nothing is in the house for me to eat).

Keep you' secret in you own gourdy.

Kill mooma gi'e pickney -pickney nyam umarf.But kill pickney gi'e moonma-mooma..

Koo de pah (Look at the road or path)

Lazy niggah mek good driver

Lil pepper burn big man's mout.

Little as darg (dog) flea be, he can mek big man jump.

Little axe cut down big tree.

Live horse an get grass  (Live according to your means)

Lizard nebber plant corn, but him hab plenty,

Long time"" is bery long rope"

Man got too much tongue, him pay him daddy's debts.

Man nebber know de use of water, till him tank dry.

Man's neighbour bettah dan far off bruddah.

Market place a'woman's Court House.

Marriage he teet' and bite hot.

Marry you darter when you can, you son when you choose.

Me lub picnic, but me know n'yam wid dem.

Me na cut me nose foo spoil me face (I can't give away what I need for myself)

Mek friend when you no need dem.

Mek sure better than cockshure.

Mischief come by the pound an' go by the ounce.

Monkey know what limb to jump on  (Consider your actions carefully)

Monkey nebber so drunk to go to sleep front a darg (dog) kennel.

Monkey see monkey do  (We are copy cats)

Moon run fast, but day ketch um. (One day your evil will catch up with you!).

Mouth open, story jump out.

Muzzle dog no catch rat.

Na ebery big head got sense.

Nannygoat nebberscratch him back till 'e see stone wall.(Await the proper opport

Nebber ask goat for trustee for breadfruit tree.

Nebber call centipede name.

Nebber mek you sail too big fo' you ship.

Nebber mek you' sail too big fo' you ship.

Nebber min' how cockroach drunk, he nebber pass fowl yard.

Nebber tek a man by he looks.

Nebber trow away you walking stick till you cross de river.

Never drive fly from odder man's cow skin.

New broom sweep clean, but de ole broom know de corners.

Nigger dat don' eat pepper an salt, doan' trust he

No all horse get firs' jump a-win race.

No cuss alligator long mout'. Till you cross ribber. (River).

No fisherman say he fish stink.

No hang you cattacou where you carn reach it (Don't live above your income)

No man too old for ole maid.

No mek sweet mout' fool you.

No mind"" mek ship run ashore."

No put you'self in a barrel if matchbox can hold you.

No trow away you belly and tek trash 'tuff um(Don't give up certainty for uncert

No trus' pigeon in a cornfield.

No wait fo'get day tomorrer, tek time an' get there today.

No'hang you' clothes 'pon wan nail.

Nonsense man eat soup wid fork,rice wid pin, eat parch corn an' lik' him finger.

Not fo want o'tongue why cattle don't talk

Nuh count ya chickens before dem hatch(Don't celebrate your gains before realis

Nuh stick your nose in a eye hole.(Don't give yourself undue tasks,you can't do)

N'yam (eat) some today, leave some for tomorrow.

N'yam some, lef some till tomorrow.

Obeah man's daughter always pretty

Old fire tick no hard fo kindle  (Old friends are easy to reunite)

Old guitar make very nice tune.

Ole grudge, fresh lick.

Ole rat eat new cheese.

Ole woman want to cry, she say a smoke a dim she eye.

One dry stump a cane piece no fo laugh when cane piece ketch fire

One han' can't clap   (We need to help each other)

One one full basket

One rotten sheep will 'poil de whole flock.

One s'mody can quarrel.

One time"": nebber done."

One, one full basket  (Good things come slowly)

Only food put puss to watch milk

Only shoe know if stocking heb hole.

Only when you mash ants you know what in he belly

Orange yeller, but you don' know if him sweet,

Padlock you' tongue, or it lock you up.

Parson carn' preach wid dirty collar, for all yeye dey 'pon him.

Parson christen he own pickney first.  (Everyone looks to his interest first!).

Patience man drive pickaxe

Patient man ride jackass.

Pay de doctor and praise de Lord.

Pay today, trus' tomorrow.

Peacock hide him foot when he hear about he tail.

People min hungry and hungry make rata a-bite baking stone

Picnic pig say to dem mamma""Wha mek you' mout' long so"", Mamma say ""Wait chila"

Plantain sucker follow de root (Children follow the example of theirmothers)

Plantain sucker tek atta de root

Play wid monkey, but no play wid he tail.

Play wid puppy an' puppy li'k you mout'.

Play wid puppy, puppy lick yo' mout'; play wid big dog, big dog bite you.

Prayer need not be long when Faith strong.

Pretty pol say he a dandy man.

Prevocation mek dummy man talk.

Puss an' darg (dog) no heb the same luck.

Puss hab no han' but he take he foot fo' lick he face.

Puss may look like a King, but he rader rattah.

Puss n'yam rattah, tell him say rattah tail 'tink.

Quick cent betta dan slow dollar!

Ram goat may he soonah dead,before afternoon sun catch.

Ram-goat no cry fe he skin, he cry fo' he livin'.

Rattah nebber mek noise in a puss ear.

Rice what bubble in de pot, lie flat on de plate.

Ripe pear no know him danger 'til mout' catch him.

Rock a bottom riber nebber feel how sun hot.

Rock ston' dey a bottom ribber nebber know what rock 'tone 'pon roadside a feel.

Rum done, fun done.

Run from coffin an' you butt up wid jumby

Salt nebber say himself sweet.

Same cry at Murro is at Briggins  (Troubles are the same all over)

Same stick beat wild goat beat tame one.

Sarfley, sarfely ketch monkey.

Saucy s'mody always trouble.

Say some and lef some   (Do not tell all you know)

Scornful dawg eat dirty food   (The proud are bought low)

Seb'n years no nuff fo wash freckle off a guinea-hen back.

See an be blin', hear an be deaf.

See de candlelight befo' you blow out de match.

Seven year' no nuff fo' wash freckle off a' guianea-hen back.

Shapes & methods at Seaview Farm have African origins.Punctations African design

Sheep an goat no all one.

Ship won't heed to the rudder, rock bound to pick him up.

Shut mout' no ketch fly. (Nobody can blame you for things you never said).

Sickness come pon top a sore toe  (Troubles follow each other)

Sickness ride horse come an' tek food to go way.

Since 'beg pardon' come a fashon, li'l boy mash big man's foot.

Sleep hab no massa.

Some Antiguan proverbs are stemmed from West Africa

Some do well, some catch hell (Some get along financially, while othets starve).

Some fowl don't want feddah, dem want corn.

Some whiskey burn you pocket, some yo troat.

Sometimes 'tandin' collar 'tan top a empty stomach.

Spider an' fly can't mek bargain.

Stan' furr, see better

Stan' stiff and die strong.

Still tongue keep wise man head

Stone  under water no know when sun hot (You live too much a pampered life)

Sugar barrel nebber 'mash out.

Sweep you own front door, before you sweep fo' me.

Sweet tongue hide black heart.

Sweet wood blaze, but him no keep fire.

Tan safely bettah dan beg pardon

Tark ob de debbil an' you hear he wings.

Tek care is de mudder of safety

Tek time, walk fast.

Ten suit a de tailor betta dan one suit a de law.

Thanky today is not thanky tomorrow.

Thanky"" no buy half bit of bread."

The death of wilks make soldier crab get shell

The further you walk in the bushes,better shady you find(More U dig,more U find)

Tief from tief mek God-Almighty laugh.

Tigar (Tiger) sleep but he tail shake.

Time longer than rope (You can't beat time).

To get the egg you ha foo stan'de hen cackling(Bear w/rebut til U get what want)

Tomorrow is de border line ob de fool.

Too much bed make head dull.

Too much good buoy can buy jackass.

Tree look eber so soun' till woodpecker know what fo' di wid him.

Trouble dey a bush, anansi bring a dey a house.

Trouble mek' ole woman trot.

Trouble mek puss run up prickly pear.

Trouble nebber blow shell when dey come.

Trouble never set like sun.

Trouble on' sea no got back door.

Turtle say he no de 'tory dem a mek, so he walk out.

Two bull can' stan' a one pass (place).

Two man crab can't live in de same hole.

Ugly face no mean ugly heart.

Wa bun nose mek eye run water

Wa eye no see heart no grieve (What one doesn't see, doesn't bother one)

Wa fly min do before ol'lady eye run water?  (See meaning)

Walk'bout fool better dan siddown fool.

Watchman sometime a de bigger t'ief

Wha' de use ob you shawl when you character gone.

Wha mout say backside pay fah (Sometimes one talks things to one own hurt).

Wha' sweat a mout', sometimes hot a belly.

Wha' you lose in de jig, you gain in de reel.

What come off de hill fall in de valley.

What is fun for a dog is death to a mongoose

What na kill, fatten.

What pussy lef' dog well want.

What sweet in de mout' is sour in de belly.

When bottle coma, you tick an' all get drunk.

When bull an' bull meet, dey call watty ""Bro""."

When bull darg (dog) seek him wear puppy darg breeches.

When chair fall down, bench get up

When chicken tie up cockroach wan' explanation.

When cowtail cut off, God a'mighty brush fly.

When crab know he back soft, he stop under rock.

When darg n'yam egg, he nebber stop.

When dog mawger (thin and skinny) him head big.

When fish come outta sea an' say whale has sore eye an' runny nose, you believe.

When fowl drink water, him say ""T'ank God"", when man drink water him say nutting"

When fowl merry, hawk ketch him chicken.

When fowlscratch up toomuch dirty,he run de risk ob findin' his grandma skeleton

When han' full, him heb plenty company.

When hog n'yam potato, him n'yam 'kin and all.

When horse no dere, jackass tack firs' place.

When horse see dead in he eye, he don't care where he t'row de rider.

When man dead, grass grow at he door.

When man hab trouble, 'voman tak it mek larf.

When man know he chairback no'trong, his shouldn't lean back.

When me done wid sardine me no meddle with the tin (Reviving relationship,danger)

When mischief maker meet, de debbil (devil) go to dinner.

When niggah happy him tell gub'nor good morning.

When puppy get plenty milk, he make up he face at soup.

When puss gone, rattah tek house.

When puss hab money, he buy cheese.

When rain fall an' sun shinin' , a den de Hebbil licken' he wife.

When ram foot bruk, he find he massa door.

When ribber come down stone mouth full.

When sheep mek dance, goat heb no brainess dere.

When sun go down fowl nebber grabble for he chicken,he den grabble for he self.

When tief tief from tief, God laugh.

When turtle come out ob pond, an tell you alligator hab sore yeye, belieb him.

When you go fo' dig one grave, na dig one - dig two.

When you got money door open, when you no get, door shut.

When you hab plenty, member rainy day.

When you hang clothes outside, look out for rain  (Be careful at all times).

When you heb de debbil to deal with, feed he wid a long spoon.

When you own louse bite you, he bite fo' true.

When you pot full, cover n'yam some.

When you put han' in flour barrel it goes to wrist,when neighbors to you elbow.

When you quarrel wid you friend den you know how much dem know 'bout you.

When you sleep with darg (dog), you ketch him fleas.

When your neighbour beard(or house)catch fire,wet fo you

Where goat tie, a dey dem feed (People act according to their surroundings)

Where you see sugar, a dere you see fly.

Where you tie, you feed.   (Can insinuate, thieving from your employer)

Where you trow water it run, but where you trow blood it settle.

Wherever smoke there, fire there

White man's meat is black man's poison (Higher society gets away with it!}.

Why look in de dark wid fire-stick, when it ha' broad daylight to do it.

Wilful waste makes a woeful want (One's extravagance leads to desperate want).

Wise capt'n carry me fallas' dan sail.

Woman tongue like harse (horse) a-trot.

Woman' tongue sweet fo true.

Wuk older than you.

You can hide from t'ief, but you can't hide from liar.

You do more barking dan wa bitin' (You talk more than acting)

You eber see puss refuse butter?

You eber see puss run up prickly pear bush?

You go drink water before you reach a pan (Get pregnant while you very young)

You have to learn to such salt (You have to learn to sacrifice).

You kill me cat, me kill you cat (What you do to me, I'll do to you)

You kill me cat, me kill your cat (You hurt me, I hurt you back).

You know Arthur?  (I'm not talking to you).

You mus'learn to see an'no see (See things and say nothing).

You nar lib too shave you beard. (You will die young).

You nebber see pop-gun kill alligator.(Don't send a boy on a man's errand).

You no expect anything from one hag but one grunt (see meaning)

You play wid tar you mus' black your finger.

You play wid tar, you must black your face.

You see eberybody a run, tek time.

You shake man han' but you no shake he heart.



76 LOCAL EXPRESSIONS (Past & Present)

"Can't mash ants"-Too dainty to even step on something as non-threatening as ants.

"I can tell it's Warneford coming by the way he t'row he foot!".

"I have a shilling in hiding to have a pant built".

"I saw him driving like a naked soldier" (Fast like a US soldier from the WWII US base, alone in a jeep).

"Me na hab no fridge", means a person does not hold on to anything.

"Naked rum" (Straight rum) "Naked soda", "Naked water" (no land in sight at sea).

"s", "th", "y" not pronounced, eg "'tory", "de", "noung". (1843).

"There were naked guesses at the wedding!" So many guests (nothing but..)

"Tongue no hab no bone" + "Long grass carry news!".

(Why) - People like peas (A large crowd) - You drop someting (You forgot to greet).

...apprenticed as a carpenter and "walking for confirmation".

1840 c. A description of an albino or "Dendo" at Mayers estate called "Wonder".

1843. A "beetle" is the baton clothes were washed with against rocks near ponds.

1843.The negroes make rope and baskets which are called "Catacous".

1843. A beggar was a "bottom-foot buckra".

A gesture of shock/surprise of what heard, eg."Quarkoo, look a'muddy!"

Aboo - A chalk like stone used to write on slates at school.

All ah dem backbita (They are all slanderous ill-speaking people).

Bakkra - white plantation owners, whites.

Bassa bassa="fooling around". Antroba= 'trober (plant).

Bawl plenty - weep for a long time.

Big seed - hydrocele (accumulation of serous water in the scrotum).

Blue Tuesday - after a public holiday people took off the Monday.

Breeze off - take a rest.

Bull work - hard physical work.

Butt up with - to come in contact with.

Cocobay - leprosy.

Coffee woman - fortune teller. The people believed in superstition & the rituals.

Compliments of the season given for a donation. "Long life & crosperity!" (sic).

Cum cum saw= Just come, thinks he knows it all. On-a-me=An na me (It's not me!"

Dem a fu kip a arms lent (To avoid coming in contact with a person).

Dip mouth in - to intervene.

Dotish - subservient.

Down wet-up - to throw water at.

Dress to you teeth - Me na know wey dat dey (Don't Know where it is).

Drop the ball - to be replaced.

Dunkey pumps - A kind of lamp made by the people.

Fu true, fu true (its the truth)- Every dog have dey day- Dog cheap(Very cheap).

Get licks - get blows.

Glee turns to pain - from joy to sorrow.

Grow potato-Under your neck you can grow potatoes after not having regular baths.

Half-land - work a ground with half share to owner (usually 2/3 to massa!).

Happy-go-lucky = as luck would have it!

Hard enough - strong enough.

Hashum - corn roasted and ground with sugar.

He neither drank nor smoked and was very "mannersable".

Kooka bendal - uncovered place for the disposal of human waste and filth.

Man min naked and hungry - privation for so = Desperately poor and hungry.

Massa king and king do no wrong!

Me done see betta days!

Me go gibbet you - me go kill you.

Me na know wey dat dey!(I don't know where it is!) Mek me show you(Let me show y

Mek me show you - Jus cross dey! - Wan ton ah people (A lot of people).

Melle around town - talk of the town.

Melle man - well informed about other people's business.

Montula - "If you bother me you won't even get to walk the last mile to Montula".

Moonlight bright like a goo'back = moon shines like the Bible (Good Book).

Negus (named after Col. Negus) called "Sangaree", spirits and wine a "Swizzle".

In 1843, old people were called: Daddy, Grandy. Mid-aged: Uncle,Auntie, Young: Buddy, Sissy or See.

Old time people say "Needle and pin, when man marry trouble begin!"

Planters kill king and rule country = Planters were all powerful.

Pond water - a crapaud and animal waste water, man use it and survive.

Rush - Miss Jenkins made gone cakes.She sure had the rush (was popular)

Sarbice to oneself - recover from blows.

See how town tap - see how St John's was like.

Sha-sha - corn bread.(Once given to Gov.Strickland on a historic site tour).

Shoot hard labour - to work hard at physical labour.

Smady - somebody.

Sugar in its liquid state was called "Sling".

Tango - meat from old cattle

Wagy - clothes...hand-me-downs

Wah mek? (Let me show you). People like peas (A vast crowd).

1843. We hab, but ah we no know who we go (Will suffer because afraid taking chances).

Windward & Leeward means east and west. One "fires" a stone. Men servants were "boys".

Wipe foot from - not go back to.

Yu nuh no you ass from yu tail (You don't know what you are about).







In the 18th century, in the French colonial islands, slaves were barred from taking part in Carnival celebrations.  They celebrated secretly in their backyards. African drumming, dance and song depicting their African Culture vibrated from their backyards. "Le vrai"- (singing the truth) was the slaves' hilarious way of mocking their masters in song.



Benna derives from a West African word for song-dance that the slaves brought to the West Indies. It was a lively melody set to simple repetitive lyrics that dealt with a specific topic.  Introduced during post slavery life, which was little different from that which existed before, emancipated slaves had to find an outlet, other than through religious song, to express themselves and to forget about the social ills that existed. Music that was simple and free, entertaining yet functional, was an obvious vehicle.


Benna dealt with the bawdy, the scandalous, the cruel and occasionally the humorous. Benna provided slaves with a common voice. In the 1900's, benna evolved to becoming the newspaper of the people and provided an often illiterate population with rapid transmission of information. The earliest traceable record of Benna song states - "Emancipation day is past, massa done cut naygra ass.


In the 1940's and 1950's, a fearless character, John Thomas called "Quarkoo", sang "Benna". He composed and sang on the spot. His songs gave details of events ranging from the gruesome murders and courthouse trials to scandalous husband/wife infidelities of the upper and middle classes in the society. Some of the lyrics to his songs landed him in prison.


Today, calypsos are used as a basis for critique and open commentary, mainly political and social. The use of double language, metaphors and folklore has protected the performer from censorship. In the 1960's, tourism and the influx of North American visitors to our shores recognised the need for organised entertainment in the new hotels.


The first calypsonians performing in hotels were Dadian, Black Shirt, and Skeetch. Accompanied by a string band consisting of two guitars and a bass made from an empty oil drum with a string attached, they sang about "Slap in han"- a song about a woman being slapped by an unseen hand. Many persons thought that this was a sign of obeah.


1957 saw the first Carnival in Antigua, and Styler won the first annual Calypso King competition.

The mid-fifties heralded the emerging national consciousness expressed in calypso. A series of political and union victories against the colonial administration and sugar syndicate were expressed in calypso as patriotism, love of beauty of country.


The 1967 Calypso competition reflected this with "Beautiful lovely Antigua" by Swallow, "Prosperity" by Lord Lee and "Antigua where land and sea make beauty".


1957 -1965. Lord Canary and Zemaki performed the best music of this period, whose rivalry laid the foundation for the Swallow/ Short Shirt confrontations fifteen years later.


1964-1988 King Short Shirt and Swallow battled for the Calypso King of Antigua honour. King Short Shirt had won the crown fourteen times including three hat tricks.


1985 saw the emergence of The Burning Flames winning the road march with their composition of "Styley Tight". An electronic band made up of four persons, playing standard calypso rhythms associated with the three-note bass-pan of the early steelband.





The steelpan is indigenous to the Caribbean. It was introduced to Antigua in 1946 and plays a great part in the culture of the Island.

How steelpans or steeldrums are made. Each instrument starts with a 55 gallon steeldrum. The face of the pan is countersunk and shaped into a shallow basin using four different sized hammers The notes of the steelpan are patterned with a dull nail punchThe bottom of the barrel is cut off at the desired length.


How steelpans are tuned

The notes on the steelpan are “hit up”for tuning by balancing hammer blows from the inside and outside. Each note is tuned by ear using a pan stick and hammer. The pan is tuned again before a bonfire a thirty minute firing.

The steelpan is left to cool - after which it is ready to play.

“You may play the pan - but softly”





In June of 1953, to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, a carnival was organised. There was a parade of floats, troupes and groups, and a children's Carnival. It was not until 1957 that Antigua would celebrate its first Carnival that has continued to this day.


August Monday was a public holiday granted for celebrating emancipation of slavery. This was celebrated at Glanvilles pasture where brass bands played. Later in St John's, traditional characters such as the John Bull, the Moko Jumbie and iron bands would parade through the streets.


The Carnival Committee, headed by Mr. Ferdie Shoul, approached the Government for support in declaring the Tuesday after August Monday a holiday so that Carnival could be celebrated over a two day period. But sugar cane was the main crop on the island and the Antigua Sugar Factory management felt that production in the cane field would be seriously affected by the two day holiday period. Finally it was suggested that if the sugar cane production could be speeded up to finish before August Monday, Carnival celebrations on both days could serve a three fold purpose.


* To celebrate the after crop season

* To observe the emancipation of the slaves

* To attract visitors to Antigua in an off-season period. 


1957 Carnival - A Queen contest and a calypso contest at the Deluxe Cinema were the only shows held. Groups and troupes together with floats sponsored by the business community took part in the parade. The U.S. Navy and Air Force entered an annual float in the celebrations.


Over a period of time a Carnival city was established at the Recreation Grounds. Colourful masterpieces were designed and built as stage settings. All the major shows and parade of troupes were held at the Carnival City.





The early years of Carnival saw the assemblage of lots of cloth, shiny materials and cardboard fashioned into headpieces and body suits worn by the masqueraders. In the sixties, the historical band "Pageant of Sienna" featured Roman helmets, herald crowns, herald trumpets, and Roman breastplates made from copper and brass by Frank Agard, a metal craftsman living at the Point.


The seventies ushered in the wire bending skills of craftsmen, as wire was bent and formed into a design and covered with shiny materials and beads. Styrofoam, sponge, and glitter added to the array of materials.


The eighties introduced manufactured items as aluminium and fiberglass rods. Bigger costumes were being made; poles were attached to the frames to which materials were added resulting in a fan-like shape.


The Transition of Costuming Cost - In 1957, Gloria White was crowned Carnival Queen. Her costume entitled "Traffic Cop" was designed and made at a cost of EC$150 by E.T. Henry.


In 1991 Jacinta Osborne was crowned Carnival Queen wearing the costume "The Jewel of the Peacock" designed and made at a cost of nearly EC$5,000 by Allister Thomas.

Live on Carnival!







Here are just a few early time Antiguan and Barbudan Christmas Season happenings.

About three weeks before Christmas Day carol singers went around around town and villages. To add a bit of colour they would carry a 'Carol Tree'. This was a contraption made of wood with several arms like cross-bars. Japanese lanterns hung on these to give some light. It was a sort of large Christmas tree being carried outside. The radio now takes the place of Christmas greetings, but formerly it done by the carol singers. When visiting a home, the opening greeting was:


“Goodnight to the inmates of this peaceful residence,

We are the Choristers going around celebrating the Lord’s birth,

Christmas is now (7) days off,

We wish you health,

We wish you strength,

We wish you golden store,

We wish you heaven after death,

What can we wish you more?



(This died out about the 1970’s).



Christmas Week in the 1940’s and earlier, saw masqueraders and music filling the streets of St. John’s city. It was time when people really seemed to enjoy Christmas for what it was (with little, if any commercialism). A custom was to make a new dress for each of the three days of Christmas, when everybody dressed to the nines.


'Playactors' were youthful acrobats and tumblers, dressed in close fitting trousers to an inch above the knee, edged with lace like a woman's under drawers. Over this was  a skirt also trimmed with lace. Acrobats showed off to their girls and others by vaulting over sharpened garden forks. They performed other astounding feats by jumping over the backs of six or seven persons crouching on all fours to the accompaniment  of fife and drum, pipe brass, triangles and grater bands. The tempo of the drum was induced to a frenzy, whipping the acrobat into a whirling dance and stamping before the leap.


Compliments of the season. When donations were given, sometimes the following words were uttered: “Long life & crosperity!” (sic).


Decorations - Bay leaf was used  and cherry branches were made into trees for parties. At Dockyard, in the old days of warships, the bush ‘Hatstand’  (Randia sp) was hoisted to the tops of masts as a Christmas decoration, imitating the naval custom of hoisting a coniferous tree branch of northern climes. At English Harbour to this day,  the bush is known as ‘Up Mas’.


LONG GHOSTS with their heads levelled to the galleries above the ground floor of merchant's homes, once numerous in the city, roamed the streets in search of Christmas donations . If a donation was not forthcoming, a string inside the ‘ghost’ was pulled which made the arms wave about, giving an added sinister effect, and it showed that the operator was displeased! 


Long Ghosts were about 12 feet from the head to street level. The top section was a cylindrical shaped mask with cuts for eyes, nose and grotesque figuration of teeth through which a lighted candle would throw its illumination sufficiently to light the immediate surroundings. The mask was inscribed on both sides - a kind of Janus Head effect which gave the illusion of the ghost facing you though the operator's back was turned.






JOHN BULLS were replicas of the grotesquely masked African Witch Doctor with a bull's horns on the head. They were the dominating feature of the festivities in town and country. There was terror and excitement in the young and old.

John Bulls were tended by a 'Cattle Tender'. The crack of the whip he would tease the bull. The bull would then shoot off in the direction of the crowd of children or grown ups and plough through them and they would scatter.

The costume was sometimes just a sugar crocus bag with the head cut out and two armholes, with a big piece                              DAN MENDES

of rope around the waist. To absorb the blows from the whip they would stuff the back with grass or straw, like a hunchback. On his head he had a cow's horn clamped onto a rigid piece of cloth. His head was padded with a big 'catacoo', which was a soft support.

The John Bull generally wore a mask, but sometimes that reverted to was blackening their face with grease and paint and sprinkling with a little fine chalk dust. They looked very grotesque.

Some of the best John Bulls came from the villages to town, but most of them were porters or stevedores, men who would hang around the rum shops on Long Street.




JAZZ BANDS were a common sight up to the late 1950's. The first Jazz Band on the road was the Lyric Band, formed by the Antigua Volunteer Defence Force around 1921. They dressed in clown’s clothes in red and green. Harry Henry, Harry Murphy, Bertie Gonsalves, Clem Da Silva, Vere Griffith and Coxie Coates were in this band.


Another band was the ‘Portuguese Band’ whose colours were red and yellow.

Bands played guitars, saxophones, drums and trumpets. The Minstrel Band had a guitar, shack-shacks, mouth organs and bass pipes, blowing boob-boop-boop. But it didn't have any drums. Then there was the Monkey Band playing bass pipes and using a candy tin going toot-toot-toot like a conch shell - Oscar Mason, 1982.


That was Christmas in those days!    




If any older Antiguan and Barbudans can contribute further to old time Christmas, please call the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda. We must remember these things …




VILLAGE BEGINNINGS (After Emancipation)


Liberta was the first village to be built. Named after the word "Liberty"


Desire to own land gave rise to villages, e.g.. Liberta.

1834+ Proprietors sold 30'x50' land plots at $30. 2 room houses built.
1834+ Freemansville was the second village built.
1835 c. Greenbay was established after emancipation when people crowded into St. John's.
1835 c. Freed slaves sought land in the hills when planters denied them  land, e.g. Hamilton's
1836 Dr. Murray's wife had an infant school of 30 pupils at Falmouth.
1837 There were no independent villages. Planters were unwilling to give land.
1837 "Ten acre lands" were made available for ex-slaves to settle off estates
1837 Near Grace Hill an estate sold in acre lots to labourers (Liberta)
1837 Free villages spurred on after Governor released Government (ten acre) lands.
1838 Ex-slaves owned 1037 houses in 27 villages created. (36,000 people)
1839 Many labourers had purchased land and settled in villages.
1840 c. Planters found it necessary to sell of some lands, e.g. Buckleys, Swetes.
1840 c. All Saints was firstly called Free-Centre Village
1841 May. First mention of Cedar Grove when land bought for a Moravian mission.
1842 A group of houses near Liberta was called the Hamlet. (Tyrell's?)
1842 There were 27 independent villages of 3,600 population (9,273 in 1846)
1842 Bridgetown almost non-descript.
1842 Ottos Hill, on suburbs, belonged to heirs of Bastien Otto Baijer.
1842 There is "scarcely a relic" left of Bermudian Valley town.
1843 Freetown's population grew after earthquake damage at Bridgetown.
1843 Many ex-slaves have purchased land, built houses and have many comforts
1843 'Quake damaged estate cottages. Owners refused to rebuild. Free villages
1843 The population of Willoughby Bay was removed to the upcoming village of Freetown.

See more village beginnings and facts in the Museum's database by calling there.



TOWN  BEGINNINGS (At Settlement)


Falmouth was the first part of the island settled by the English.

1640 Gov. Warner lived near Falmouth Bay. The English settlers in the village.
1668 "Falmouth appears to have had the lead at this time".
1668/04 An act proposed a town to be built on St John's Harbour.
1670 New town of St J's, rebuilt after Fr. invasion, destroyed by hurricane
1671/04 Lt. P. Lee & Sgt-Major, N. Clarke paid 300lbs for fixing Court Ho. at Falmouth
1675 67 emigrants from Barbados settled in Antigua. (At Bridgetown?).
1675 Vessels not to unload or sell cargo except in the six appointed towns.
1675 Bermudian Valley was one of the trading towns appointed this year.
1675 Bridgetown one of the six appointed trading towns. (p. 41).
1675/09 Places of trade were: Falmouth, St J, Bridgetown, Carlisle Rd, Parham, Bermudian Valley
1676 Stapleton reported one church only, at Falmouth, also served as a Court
1689 Falmouth same size as St John's town.
1701 "Parham is our second town of trade. We have no guns"


                                      VILLAGE FACTS

Gov. Fiennes tax to raise money for piping water to the villages.
England come first to all of us. Leaders set up committees in villages.
Hide to do it, against the law. Still done in the villages.
Villages often had a "water warden", usually older women, to monitor water use.
Sea View Farm known as the 'King Village' as source of island's pottery.
Potters nicknamed "Ninety Nine Village" as 99 gifted or smart men lived there.
Life in villages able to play music loudly, prohibited in the estates.
Glanville's got its name from Glanville McGemley, owner of the sugar estate there
Greenbay and Parham villages are places where obeah specialists might be found.
Seatons got its name after a Welshman, owner of the plantation.
In villages, dolls held with dark strings were manipulated to Dance. Baby Dances.


A L L    S A I N T S - Four years after emancipation, in 1839, a chapel was built on Osborne’s pasture.  This chapel was named “All Saints”, as it was built near the border of several parishes bearing the names of saints.  Soon afterwards, as sugar workers began to leave the estates, houses began to appear near the chapel and All Saints village was born.

B E N D A L S - This village is named after an estate owner.  Bendal appears to have owned an estate there in the second quarter of the 18th century.  By 1750, Richard Oliver owned the estate.  At the time of emancipation, it was in the possession of Messrs Hyndman, but it was not yet a village though since 1823 there had been a Moravian settlement on the estate. The village was properly settled as the ex-slaves gradually left the surrounding estates.

B E T H E S D A  - A shipwright at the Dockyard, Charles Thwaites, was often invited to attend Wesleyan services at Lyon’s estate. 

One Sunday he noticed an old black man by the name of Henry Cochrane, preaching and teaching to slave children.  This gave Mr. Thwaites the idea of building a schoolroom half way between lyon’s and english harbour where he lived.  Charles Thwaites chose the site on some gentle rising ground with green smooth grass open to the gentle breezes of Willoughby bay.  Vigo Blake the headman at Blake’s with his fellow slaves built the schoolroom on this peaceful spot in 1813. It became the first schoolroom for slaves built in the West Indies. Soon houses began to be built around this school, so this is how Bethesda, “a place of mercy” came to be born.

B O L A N D S - In 1749, John Boland owned  an estate with a windmill at the site of this village.  After emancipation it was included in the 718 acre jolly hill estate, owned by Bertie Entwistle. By 1872 the Bolans estate had been split up into at least five different small holdings, and it is likely that the workers of these estates enlarged the village of Bolans, there

Being a group of buildings here by the 1850’s.  The Wesleyans were operating a school at Boland’s in the 1880’s.

B U C K L E Y S - Buckley’s was named after a plantation owner of the emancipation period. Col Daniel Matthew was the owner in 1750 and David Cranstaun was the owner in 1843.  He also, like his neighbour at Swetes, put some of his estate up for sale to the labourers and thus encouraged Buckley’s as a free village.

C E D A R   G R O V E - In the 1850’s this settlement was called Willocks Village, and even as late as 1942 it is shown on an American map as this name.  The nearby Mount Pleasant estate was owned by the Willock family from the 1790’s until emancipation. It seems that this is where their slaves had lived. By 1872, there was an estate here by the name of cedar grove, from which this village has taken its name. It was of 10 acres and owned by George Hart.

C L A R E   H A L L  - Clare hall village is built on the original Skerrits Estate owned by Mrs. A. Skerrit and later from 1814, by the Codrington family. The origin of this village must have occurred in 1913 when a model village, consisting of seven cottages, was laid out.

FALMOUTH- In 1676, the new Governor, Sir William Stapleton wrote a report back to England on the state of the colony he was about to govern. He stated there was only one church on the island and that also served as the sole court house, so it therefore believed that Falmouth must have become the first town. The Governor said the houses were built of timber, thatched and a few shingled.

F I V E   I S L A N D S - This village is named after the five islands off the end of this large peninsula to the west of St. John’s.  It was once a very large estate of 703 acres, owned by sir George Thomas and later by sir Stephen Hill. There was no trace of a settlement here at emancipation, but in 1842 it was reported to be a Moravian settlement, which later grew into the village of today.

F R E E M A N S V I L L E - Freeman’s village was one of the “fruits of Emancipation”.  After emancipation, estate owners gave workers land on which to build “free villages” and charged them a small rent. Freeman’s was a offshoot of the Parham Wesleyans and there was by 1856, a “lively church” and an overflowing congregation.

F R E E T O W N - A passage written in 1842, states that when Willoughby Bay village declined after emancipation, its population “removed to the rising village of Freetown. In 1841, a Wesleyan chapel had been built and attached to this was a teacher’s cottage. Freetown has also been known as “Farr’s hill” or “Far hill” (map of 1942).

J E N N I N G S - In 1749, Mr. Samuel Jennings owned a small estate with a cattle mill to the south of the present village. this estate was later known as Herman Hall. From 1772 until 1815 the estate was owned by the Codrington family. After emancipation, Hugh Thompson & Co became the owners which  estate was by now 316 acres in extent. At about this time the Moravian school, Cedar Hall, was established. The village of Jennings was formed around this school.

J O H N   H U G H E S  - In 1821, a retired naval pensioner by the name of john Hughes settled in Antigua from st Kitts where he had,” health permitting made a trifle by fishing”. He came to Antigua to be more accessible to the naval yard so that he could get his pension when it became available.  This was rare in those days. His hut was robbed in 1821, and a letter in the dockyard shows London being warned not to honour his pension ticket... Could this man have lived near mill hill and be the john Hughes of the  village today? Villages were often named after a person who had lived at a spot for some time, (see also Willikies)

L I B E R T A  - At just about the time of emancipation, a female estate owner became financially embarrassed and sold off a part of her property in small lots.  The labourers in the neighbourhood bought up all the little freeholds with eagerness, as it was their desire to own land in perpetuity.  No time was lost in settling on the spots, which they had purchased.  They soon framed their houses, and cultivated their gardens. Besides working on nearby plantations, income was also earned working as mechanics at the dockyard.  “liberta” (liberty) sprang up  as if by magic from 1835.  In 1842, a painted signboard near its border stated “The Village of Liberta”.

N E W F I E L D - The history of this village began in 1820, when the Moravians erected a stone building for the instruction of children on surrounding estates.  Two years later a Sunday school was started. By 1837, there were over 2,000 followers of the Moravians.  As can be seen on the map, Newfield is central to many sugar plantations, so it soon grew into village status. 

S A W C O L T S - This village is named after john Sawcolt who owned an estate here in 1750.  Just after emancipation, the 234 acre estate was owned by Paul Horsford and in 1872 by the water commissioners. In the late 19th century the Wesleyans operated a school here which shows that some sort of settlement had already started. It was greatly expanded when the estate was put aside for land settlement in 1917. 41 allotments were made covering an area of 55 acres. It took a little time to develop as the peasants regarded the scheme with suspicion until the governor set up certain rules.

S E A V I E W   F A R M - At the time of emancipation there was a small estate here called “farm”. About 1840 the Moravian bishop George Westerby started the first teachers training college and was called Lebanon. The village probably grew, as natural resources were locally available to carry out the folk pottery cottage industry.

S W E T E S - This village is named after the owner of the plantation here in the early 1700’s by the name of Main Swete. He had come from Modbury in South Devon. He was a member of the House of Assembly in 1715 and died in 1735. Just after emancipation, Henry Gale owned the 180-acre estate.  In the mid1840’s its owner marked off a portion of land for sale to labourers so sweets village developed at this time, especially since estate owners did not wish to rebuild labourers cottages after the great earthquake of 1843.

U R L I N S -  On old maps of Antigua the Urlins area was known as Glebe, which means to say that it was church land. This Village is named after the urlins family who were Antiguans of the late 17th century.  In 1763, Thomas Urlins owned land in southwestern Antigua. By 1872, there were four owners of Urlins estate, Edwards, Lovell, c. Hunt and j. Hunt. The estate totalled about 80 acres. Six years later, it was an estate of 67 acres owned by Benjamin Lowen.  

W I L L I K I E S -  In the old births and deaths register at St. Phillips church there is an “address” given as “Will Hicks”.  Will Hicks was a well off coloured person, who once lived in the Belfast area. In a later entry, this place had become “Will Hickies”, and so today’s name gradually became “Willikies”.     




Based on an “Antigua Sun” article, March 2002,

and a paper on Afro-Antiguan Folk Pottery by D. Nicholson, 1985. 


   TOOLS - calabash pc, stone, tin.   Building up from a ball of clay  


At the turn of the last century and even up to the 1940s, coal pots used for cooking were the modern improvement on the fireside for the common people. Along with clay flowerpots, which were perhaps the only existing type of vase to beautify the homes of yesteryear, there were also jar-pots, yabbas (used for roasting cassava bread-Bamboola) and Jabba pots used to fill the domestic needs, rather than the antiques they are prized as today. In fairly recent times, ash trays have been made for sale to the tourist industry.

The rich black soil, procured for the making of the pottery is found in the Sea View Farm area and extends to the environs of Lightfoot and Paynter’s. However, most Sea View Farm potters concentrate on an area called “Jumbolum,” close to Lightfoot, to obtain the unique strain of clay used for pottery. Most people are of the view that the orange-brown pottery items are made from clay of that same colour, but a particular clay, called “pottery paint” is found in the Freeman Ville area (also further east in the vicinity of Half Moon Bay) is used as a colour wash.

The soil, once it is mixed with water, easily melts into a thick paste to produce the colour of the local craft items to which we have grown accustomed. The mixture is used to paint the articles after they have been dried.

The pottery making process, including the baking, takes place in Seaview farm village. The potter’s sheds are adjacent to the houses. Most of the time is spent within that space, where in one corner there is a pile of dirt, a smaller bucket with red soil to make paint and a few calabashes. In place of a modern potter’s wheel, used to smooth the base of the pottery, potters store a couple of dried calabashes. They use a piece of the dried shell of the fruit as a type of ladle to smooth the surfaces of the damp clay. Much of the artisan’s time is spent in the workshop, so it is equipped with things that are needed at hand, including a telephone, radio. One truckload of clay makes many items and might last a month, and while awaiting use a wide plastic sheet keeps the clay damp. 

Preparation begins by feeling out the soil with bare hands. While churning the pile of clay little stones or any bits of grass are felt for. The smoother the soil the better. Gallons of water are mixed into the clay, it requires much wetting to get it to the right consistency – like dough.

The wares are made by women in the time honoured way, without the wheel, moulds or by coiling. The sides of the vessel are simply built up from a ball of clay, then smoothing and scraping is done with a piece of broken calabash. The red ochrous "pottery paint" is made into a slip and applied with a rag. The pottery is fired in an open fire under layers of green grass in the yards of the potters houses.

Pottery making as an industry is declining, so very few people understand the skill required for the craft. At present in 2002, there are only six potter families involved in the industry and only three run a full time business. In 1984, there were twelve and in 1962, there were as many as twenty. Earthenware is apparently heavy work for today's young, thus this cottage industry is dwindling.

The Museum possesses more information on the Seaview pottery industry of the past, including an archaeological paper given at the International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology by Desmond V. Nicholson.






March. A horse race was held on Lightfoot's Pasture between C. Violet & C. Emily.

1864 June. An Antigua cricket XI beat HMS Pylades team at Clare Hall.
1887 Feb. In the Athletic Sports G. Roden won 300yds, received 10/- from the Governor.
1893 The Exhibition Gardens was near the Cathedral, where there were tennis courts
1902 A tennis club for English whites was formed.
1904 Portuguese established a tennis club and admitted blacks of standing.
1913 A cricket tournament between the Leeward Islands was held.
1913 The Antigua Cricket Club started for the Portuguese
1913 April. A Challenge Shield was presented by Gov. Hesketh Bell to the Cricket Club.
1914 Opening of the Antigua Golf Club at Cassada Garden
1920 Rivals Cricket Club sponsored by E. Henry & J. A. Martin for the poorest
1920 The Rising Sun Cricket Club started for poor men in St John's
1920 Maple Cricket Club for ex-Grammar School boys and the Government Treasury
1920 St. John's Cricket Club started for middle class men.
1920's Ramon Camacho first professional cricketer. Played in New York
1928 23rd. West Indies was granted Test match status.
1930's Pat Nanton was Antigua's first black sporting hero. Cricket batsman.
1938 Pat Nanton held the AGS 100 yards record for 25 years, 10.1 secs.
1945 S. Walling, W. Gore, M. Richards selected for Leeward Is cricket team (Trinidad)
1945 The best cricketers were selected for the Leeward Islands team.
1945 Nov. Willikies beat Betty's Hope cricket team. B. Daniels (B/Hope) got highest score
1946 Cricketers Keith Walcott and Frank Worrell played at the ACC grounds.
1950 Antigua Cricket Association became the main Cricketing association.
1950 Lord Kitchener led jubilant W.I. cricket fans around Lords.
1950's Hubert Anthonyson was the best fast bowler in the West Indies
1950's Hubert Anthonyson was best all rounder, football, athletics, swimmer etc.
1951 Jan 29. Andy Roberts, fast bowler, born. Test debut 1973, v. England at Barbados
1951 Jan 6th.Maurice Hope World Light Mid.Wt.Champ.1979/81.35fights,won30.lost4
1955 July. Lester Bird was the fastest cricket bowler in the West Indies
1958 Lester Bird established the West Indies long jump record.
1958 First Antiguan to win medal in international event. Lester Bird Long Jump record
1958 c. Lester Bird, first Antiguan to win a medal in an international event.
1958 c. Lester Bird was Antigua's first world class sportsman.
1962 12 Jan. Richie Richardson, Capt. of the WI cricket team, born at Five Islands village.
1963 Sept 21. Curtley Ambrose, born. Bowler.1987-1st test.1992-Wisden Cricketer of Year.
1966 Shell Shield for regional cricket. Best of W.& L.I's. was "Islands Team".
1968 Antigua Sailing Week first held. Sponsored by the Hotel Association, with Govt.
1970's Andy Roberts was the fastest cricket bowler in the world
1973 First Nat. Department of Sports organised. Teacher, Reg Samuel in charge
1973 Pat Whyte appointed Assistant in newly created Sports Division of Min.
1973 Pat Whyte appointed Sports Editor at ABS Radio.
1974 A. Roberts was 1st Antiguan to play test cricket v. England, at Barbados
1974/5 Vivian Richards first test was at Bangalore versus India.
1975 Vivi Richards showed talent by scoring 30,101,50,98 in two Tests.
1975 Nov. A devastating new bowler from Antigua at the Test - Andy Roberts.
1976 Cricket. Viv Richards scored 1,710 runs in Test including 2 double centuries
1980 Nissan-Datsun cricket trophy replaced the Bell Shield.
1980/1 Ant. Recreation Ground became test cricket's 52nd venue when it hosted England.
1981 Combined Islands won the Shell Shield in cricket.
1981 Antigua awarded a West Indies Test Match - England v. West Indies.
1982 Windward & Leeward Islands competed as separate cricket teams.
1983 Sailing Week's economic expenditure determined as EC$ 1,963,600
1983 Richard Richardson was selected for the West Indies Cricket team.
1985 March. A public holiday to celebrate Vivi Richards as 1st WI Cricket Captain
1986 WI played 17 Tests winning 15,draw 1,losing 1.Won 37matches,dr29,los.5
1986 April. Cricketer Richards batted 100 runs in 56 balls at the ARG v. England.
1988 C. Ambrose, E. Baptiste & Winston Benjamin selected for W.I. cricket team
1988 Antigua awarded a one day International match-Pakistan v. West Indies
1988 For cricket competition the Shell Shield replaced by Red Stripe Cup.
1989 James Daley, inner of the OECS Bodybuilding Champs in Grenada.
1991 A cricket test match, West Indies v. Australia played at the ARG.
1991 March 6th. Vivi Richards became the leading W.I. test run-getter of all time.
1991 March 6.Richards made 8,053 runs in 168 innings,112 tests,24 centuries(51.3)
1991 April. Antiguan Hamish Anthony chosen for the W.I. test cricket team v. England
1991 August. Viv Richards left the field for the last time. Wisden Trophy retained.
1991 Sept.29th. Richie Richardson was named Captain of the WI Cricket team.
1991/2 Mervyn Richards, footballer, Antigua National Champion.
1992 Carl Knight, basket ball, Nat. Sportsman of Year. Captain of the Bulldogs.
1992 R. Richardson, Wisden Cricketer of Year.W.I.Capt.1991-96.Highest score-194.
1992 Jan. Fast cricket bowler, Hubert Anthonyson died aged 67yrs. See tribute.
1992 March. West Indies 1st test match v. S. Africa. West Indies won by 26 runs.
1992 March. Kenneth Benjamin made his debut at a test match. W.I versus S. Africa.
1992 Nov. Richie Richardson made his first tour as captain to Australia. WI won.
1993 Viv Richards held W.I. record for most runs, 829, in a cricket series.
1993 Jan. West Indies won test match by lowest margin in history. Australia by 1 run
1993 Feb. Ambrose took as bowler 33 wickets, most by any W. Indian v. Australia.
1993 Dec. West Indies team first tour of Sri Lanka. WI 300th & Sri Lanka's 50th.
1994 March. Ambrose the first WI bowler to take 10 wickets at the Oval, Trinidad.
1994 March 18th.World's record at ARG. Brian Lara scored 375 runs over Garfield's 365.
1994 Nov. Basket ball hero Nyah Roberts killed in a traffic accident.
1995 Sonia Williams,100 & 200 m. Antigua Olympic Team at Atlanta.
1996 Richie Richardson retired as the West Indies cricket captain.
1997 Kevin Gardner, tennis player, National Sportsman of the Year.
1997 John Maginley, only player in Int. Tennis to represent 3 Davis Cup teams
1997 Curtly Ambrose took 300 wickets & scored over 1000 runs.
1997 1996-Sports woman/man: Sonia Williams, Athletics. Al Burton, Softball.
1997 June 13th. C.Ambrose:4th West Indian bowler to reach 300 wickets.
1998 EC$7M invested into the ARG (hosted 6th Test Match England vs W.I.)
1998 Cricket. WI won the C&W one day international against England. 4 to 1
1998 Cricket. WI won C & W test match against England.
1998 1997 Sports man/woman: Kevin Gardner  (Tennis) Janil Williams (Athletics)
1998 Jan 7th.Brian Lara appointed captain in the C&W series against England.
1998 March. Janille Williams b.21/9/85.Record NY. Sportswoman of Year,'97
1998 March. ARG renovated, new pitch, outfield, new stands. Now seats 13,000.
1999 Viv Richards was knighted for his contribution to Cricket.
2002 Nov 12th.Tim Hector, ACLM, historian, journalist, sportsman died at 59 yrs.









As Won in a Competition, 1966.

In 1966, a national flag design competition was held for the occasion of attaining Independence in Association with Great Britain on February 27th, 1967. There were over 600 entries, with Mr. Reginald Samuel winning the first prize of $500 for the best design. He had entered the very last minute before the dead-line, and made the design in only about half an hour. He rushed to buy an envelope to get the entry to the Administration building in time. Later he heard he had won!  Mr. Samuel is an Antiguan artist, sculptor, painter and art teacher.

The winning design, together with the chosen anthem, coat-of-arms and slogan, was displayed on a board outside the Administration Building next to the Post Office, so the people of Antigua and Barbuda could see their future devices. That board may now been seen as an exhibit at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.

The Golden Sun symbolises the dawn of a new era. In 1994, it was decided that seven full points of the sun should be displayed for many as twenty had sometimes been shown!  It has been suggested that these Seven points could represent the six parishes plus our sister island, Barbuda though the designer himself did not have this in mind.

Red symbolises the dynamism of the people

Blue symbolises hope

Black the soil and our African heritage

Gold represent together our tourist attractions, sun, sea and sand.

The "V" depicted in the design by the black, blue and white bands is the symbol of victory.




C O A T - O F - A R M S   a n d   M O T T O

The Coat-of-Arms was originally designed by Mr. Gordon Christopher, about 1966, but was later modified by the Financial Secretary, Mr.  Don Cribbs. The motto “EACH ENDEAVOURING, ALL ACHIEVING” was composed by Mr. James H. Carrot M.B.E., who at the time was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Production and Labour. He won a prize of $100.


The PINEAPPLE surmounting the arms represents the famous Antigua Black Pineapple.

The red HIBISCUS flowers are symbolic of the many varieties that bloom in the Nation.

The golden SUN and the wavy blue and white BANDS symbolise the Sea, Sun and Beaches.

The central SUGAR MILL TOWER and the stem of SUGAR CANE echoes the historic production of sugar, once the main industry.

The Century Plant or DAGGER POLE with its stem and showy golden yellow flowers was a part of the historic emblem of Antigua and the Leeward Islands.

The two rampant DEER depict the only large animal within the Eastern Caribbean and that is unique to Antigua and Barbuda.

The SCROLL bears the motto of the Nation.



N A T I O N A L    F L O W E R

The Agave,  Dagger Log or Batta Log  (Barbuda). Agave karatto Miller.

This plant of the Lily Family is very majestic and noble to look at; it is well named as the word “Agave” is from the Greek “Agave” meaning “noble”. This is a fine national flower as the plants are very common and attractive dotting Antigua and Barbuda’s evergreen woodland hills, especially in the south part of Antigua. The plant flowers in time for each tourist season when Antigua and Barbuda should look its best. In the first few months of each year at the beginning of the dry season, a pole or log grows from the central rosette of the dagger-like leaves to bear an imposing, showy golden inflorescence about 20 feet high. The Dagger flowers only once in its life time which is between ten and twenty years: after flowering the whole plant dies. A common name outside Antigua is “Century Plant”, as perhaps it was thought it lived for a century before blooming. Dagger Log plants grow in dry areas and are drought resistant, storing moisture in the succulent leaves.

In Arawak Indian times the Agave was known as Maguey or Kabuya. The fibre of the leaves was used extensively for hammock strings as well as for cords, ropes and handicrafts. In the more recent past, Antiguans and Barbudans have used Dagger Logs in many ways. Notably the plant was a fisherman’s friend. Youths cut down the dead dried out poles on which the flower bloomed, spiked them together with a length of hard wood, to make “dagger rafts”. These they used for fishing in sheltered waters. In Barbuda, the rafts are called “Batta logs”. The fibre in the leaves is very strong and was used to make fishing twines, cords and ropes, while the brilliant white interior of the living leaves made tow-baits or “feathers”.

Another historical use of the Agave has been as tinder for starting fires with flint stones. The centre of the dead dried out rosettes produces a very fine dry powder, which, when heated, burns easily.  This fire making method was used during World War II when matches were scarce. Leaves were used as razor strops for sharpening old-fashioned razors, and medicinally the plant was used for curing tuberculosis.  A row of Agaves still makes a fine fence and is certain to keep out any intruder!


N A T I O N A L    A N I M A L

The European Fallow Deer. (Dama dama dama)

Suitably, two deer are very prominent on our nation’s coat-of-arms.  Deer do not live on any other island in the Eastern Caribbean, but they have thrived on Barbuda and Guiana Island (off the north coast of Antigua) for centuries. Deer are not indigenous to Antigua and Barbuda, but then no other mammal appears to be except perhaps a bat or two. It is thought European Fallow Deer were first introduced from Norway into England at the time of James I. It is not known exactly when the lessees of Barbuda, the Codringtons, introduced deer into Barbuda, but there were as many as a thousand head in 1740 and by 1827, they were a “nuisance” for they stripped the vegetation. In 1784, three thousand were reported, whereas a century later, there were only about 300. Deer were introduced onto Guiana Island sometime after 1811, when Bethell Codrington bought it for raising stock.

There has been some confusion as to whether the deer were Fallow or White-tailed, but it has now been ascertained they are Fallow. There are at least two varieties, black and common. At the beginning of this century the hunting license fee was œ1 for 3 deer, and the season was from January to April and from July to October. It is no longer common to see deer in Barbuda.  There are quite a number of them on Guiana Island on the north coast of Antigua, which are carefully protected.


N A T I O N A L   F R U I T

The Antigua “Black” Pineapple. Ananas comosus (L.) Merril

The pineapple belongs to the Bromeliad family which includes Man ‘pon Tree and Old Man’s Beard. The latter is quite common, and can be seen growing on trees and telegraph wires.

The Antigua variety of pineapple is known as the ‘Black’ as it has a dark green colour when it is most delicious, but is smaller than other commercial types. The variety is full of flavour, juicy and sweet; it ripens to a golden glow.

The Pineapple was first introduced into Antigua and Barbuda by the Arawak Indians from South America about the time of the first Christmas and was called Boniama or Yayama by them and was believed to be food for the Gods. The thorny leaves were used for producing initiation pains on young men, and for making twine and cloth. A tasty wine was made from the fruits and pineapples were also used for urinary complaints and for producing abortions.

In historic times, the fruit was used as a source of vitamin C, and in cakes and puddings. Medicinally the juice is good for fever, stomach pains, wasp stings and sea urchin spines in the flesh. The leaves are good as a poultice for sprains.

As early as 1640, settlers in Antigua cultivated the Black Pineapple near English Harbour, and they have been cultivated ever since on the south side of Antigua, particularly near Cades Bay and at Claremont.

In heraldry, the pineapple denotes hospitality, and was seen adorning many fine pieces of furniture in colonial times.  It is thus particularly fitting that it should be Antigua’s national fruit, symbolising the hospitality that is vital to our tourist industry - as well as being a tasty treat for visitors and us.


N A T I O N A L    T R E E

The Whitewood. (Bucida buceras L.) 

This large widely spreading timber and ornamental shade tree with nearly horizontal branches belongs to the Combretum Family and is related to the mangroves and almond trees. The leaves are clustered at the ends of the branches. It grows from about 30 to 70 feet in height with a 3 ft. diameter trunk. It thrives in damper places, such as the dry river beds of Antigua and in coastal areas. The olive-brown wood is very heavy, hard and strong with a specific gravity of 0.93.  The heartwood is dark yellowish brown to black, sometimes with horizontal stripes. The wood is rather difficult to work, but it finishes smoothly and is resistant to decay. Roots do not penetrate deeply, but are well spread out to benefit from small amounts of rain.

The wood is excellent for lathe turning. In historic times the strong timber was called Black Gregory and was used in making gun carriages for the forts, as the imported British elm rotted very quickly in the tropics. Formerly the timber was employed for durable construction, carts, gates, house posts, flooring, benches and marine piling. It also makes a very good grade of charcoal. The bark was used for tanning.  Because the wood was so useful, there are now few trees left, so we must care for them to flourish, as part of our valuable heritage.

Names in other countries are : Gregre (Virgin Islands), Black olive tree (Florida), Olive bark tree (Jamaica), Spiny black olive (Bahamas),


N A T I O N A L    B I R D

Frigate Bird, Man-o’-War or Weather Bird. (Fregata magnificens L.)

Probably the most valued asset to Barbuda’s tourism, second only to white sand beaches over ten miles long, is the Frigate Bird colony near the north end of the Lagoon. It is the largest nesting colony of the Magnificent Frigate Bird in the world. There may be no more than twenty-five nesting sites of these birds in the Caribbean today.

Visitors are taken from the village landing in boats to view the estimated 2,500 pairs. The birds are approachable and do not appear to mind having their portraits taken.

Frigate Bird Facts:


N A T I O N A L   S E A   C R E A T U R E

Hawksbill Turtle or ‘oxbill. (Eretmochelys imbricata)

This turtle is distinguished from other turtles by its narrow pointed beak and because the shell often has a jagged edge towards the rear.  As the shell has a bright mottled colouration (brown, orange and gold) it is known as ‘Tortoise-shell’. It has been much prized for handicrafts in making earrings, combs, spectacle frames, jewel boxes and suchlike; hence this turtle has now been placed on the endangered species list.  It is not as good eating as the green turtle, which is also endangered. The picture shows a juvenile.

At the time of the Caribs and the earlier Arawaks and archaic peoples, Hawksbill turtles (then known as Carets) were nesting in Waladli (Antigua) and Wa’omoni (Barbuda). They were prized, and perceived as a gift from their gods. Prehistoric seamen wore turtle motif jewelry in the belief that swimming prowess would thus be bestowed upon them.

Healthy coral reefs are very important to the survival of hawksbills, as one of their main foods are the sponges found growing on reefs.  These sea turtles grow to about 3 feet in length with a weight of 175 lbs.

The largest nesting concentration of Hawksbills in the Caribbean is at Pasture Bay on Long Island. Here the Jumby Bay Resort supports the tagging of turtles for scientific purposes from June to December, the primary laying season. Females leave the water and retreat to dig holes under the Seaside Grapes, into which they lay their eggs.  Baby turtles grow up in clumps of sea-weed far offshore, but many become food for other sea creatures.

Hawksbill Turtle Facts:

Turtles from 8-24 inches can be found feeding or sleeping when snorkelling on coral reefs. The largest are found on the 100 fathom line over the insular shelf.

400-500 nests are laid around Antigua and Barbuda in a year, by 80-100 females (1/3 on Long Island).

Females nest 4-6 times a year at 14-15 day intervals.

About 18,000 hatchlings are produced a year from Long Island, Antigua.

Probably only about 3% of these will reach adulthood.

Hawksbills live about 50 years.

Sand mining, pollution and building on or near beaches pose the greatest threat to our national sea creature.

Wind erosion has caused a rock near Five Islands to look like a turtle with its head above water, hence the name “Hawksbill Rock”.

In 1892 The Globe Hotel served the best Hawksbill soup.


N A T I O N A L   S T O N E

Petrified wood.

Wood becomes petrified (fossilised) when it is buried in the mud of a pond or swamp containing volcanic ash. The same applies to organic materials, for example, fish. The minerals in the ash (silica, iron, manganese) fill the spaces in the wood gradually, over millions of years of time, so that the wood’s cell structure is preserved as stone. Thus this stone becomes an impression of what was once wood or other organic material; it is now preserved in the earth’s crust.

Antigua’s petrified wood is approximately 25 million years old and belongs to the Oligocene period of geologic time.  Fragments of petrified wood may be found scattered in various places over Antigua’s central plain, especially in the All Saints and Freemansville vicinity. This shows that forests once existed in Antigua. At Corbison Point there is a petrified forest below the headland, buried under a 12-inch layer of volcanic ash containing pebbles of lava that lay over the top of tree stumps. A fatal explosion in Antigua’s volcanic district probably suddenly emitted siliceous vapours which instantly killed all living organisms, shell forms and the forest. These were silificied leaving even the most delicate microscopic details of organs and structures still visible today. Unfortunately, the parts of the forest at Corbison Point, remains of a rare phenomenon, are being constantly eroded away by the sea.


Earlier this century there was a petrified forest not far from Oliver’s and Clarke’s Hill which was a tourist attraction, but by now it has mostly been exported or collected by visitors. Polished transverse sections of petrified wood make attractive paperweights and other decorative objects. It is an endangered item and a non-renewable resource that we must treasure as a part of our geological heritage. A fine example of a fossilised tree trunk, and other small pieces, may be seen on display at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.


N A T I O N A  L   D R E S S

As Chosen at a Competition, 1992.

“In my National Dress I feel defined and rooted”

The Library Fund Raising Committee, as a project to raise funds for a new Public Library, launched a National Dress Competition in May 1992. Persons were asked to submit designs for both men and women, based on the Post-Emancipation era (1835 - 1940) in Antigua. Much research was made at the National Archives and at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda from old photos and post cards. The final was held at the Lion’s Club in December 1992. The winner was Heather Doram.

By 1865, all slavery was abolished in the Caribbean.. Since then there have been many changes in the economies, governments and lifestyles of Caribbean people.  These lifestyles borrow heavily from the colonial past, integrating the European and African cultures, customs and religions with those of the islands.  This is really apparent in our language, music, food, religions and forms of dress.

Women’s traditional dress has lasted through the years of slavery to the present day - naturally with some variations - for example, the practice of wrapping the head with distinctive head ties, these can be traced back to Africa.  Madras was a very popular material in the post-emancipation period.  The winning design was fashioned after the outfit actually worn by market vendors and cake makers in Antigua and Barbuda as far back as 1834. It features a madras dress with a gathered waist and puff sleeves, over which is worn a starched white apron. These aprons were sewn on by hand, utilising frills, lace, several tucks, and pockets.  Each lady did her best to outdo the other, and would throw on all her jewelry. A variety of matching headgear can be worn with this ensemble: elaborate head ties, a head kerchief with a wide-brimmed straw hat, or a cotta.

The male outfit features a madras waistcoat over a starched white shirt with full sleeves.  Black pants, white socks and black shoes complete the ensemble.  The straw hat sports a matching madras band.

The madras used in these designs was chosen for its symbolism: the red, gold and green represent the dynamism of our people and our African heritage.


N A T I O N A L    A N T H E M

As won in a Competition, 1966.

In 1966 a competition was held to determine a national anthem for the upcoming Independence in Association with Great Britain, which was to be attained on 27 February 1967. Several months after the competition Mr. Walter Chambers was surprised to hear that he had won the music part for the anthem and was later to receive a prize of $500.

Mr. Novelle Richards, who later changed his last two lines to fit the music on the suggestion of Mr. Chambers, submitted the words separately. Mr. Chambers was a church pipe organist and piano tuner and Mr. Richards a well-known unionist, poet, journalist and author.  At the time of full independence in 1981, the first eight lines were modified to include Barbuda.

There is an original notice board in the Museum that was hung in 1967 at the Administration Building informing Antiguans and Barbudans of what their new Flag and Anthem would be.

The first eight lines of 1967  . . .                                            and since 1981:         


Fair Antigua we salute thee

Proudly we this Anthem raise

To thy glory and thy beauty

Joyfully we sing the praise

Of the virtues all bestowed

On thy sons and daughters free

Ever striving, ever seeking

Dwell in Love and Unity.


Fair Antigua and Barbuda

We thy Sons and Daughters stand

Strong and firm in peace or danger

To safeguard our native land.

We commit ourselves to building

A true nation, brave and free

Ever striving, ever seeking

Dwell in Love and Unity.


 N A T I O N A L    M U S I C

As performed by a Fife Band.

A fife is a small flute with six to eight holes on top, which plays the diatonic scale. Fife music is typical of the music played in Antigua in the past, one of the reasons being that the fife is easily made by cutting a piece of bamboo from the bush. This was a cheap instrument for the impoverished Antiguans in olden times. All the other instruments were homemade as well.

Today the Rio Band of five or six players is perhaps the only fife band in Antigua and Barbuda; it is at any rate the most famous and has been playing since the 1930’s. It consists of a fife, a ‘Grudge’ or grater, a ‘Boom pipe’ (a piece of old pipe blown one end), a homemade ukulele and two guitars. Subject matter of the music played leans towards drinking, love & women but avoids the more political calypsonian styles.

Recommended reading: “The Rio Band - 50 years and still going strong!” (Anon) in Culture, Vol 1, #2, April 1991.


N A T I O N A L   S O N G


Benna is said to be derived from a song-dance, steeped in African rhythm, that the slaves brought to the plantations from Africa. These songs gave relief and solace to those that toiled in the sugar cane fields. The benna provided the slaves with a voice and a means of expression.

Benna or Ditti is a type of one verse repetitive song - the original folk-style of calypso. The banjo with no musical variations accompanied it. Benna appears to be peculiar to Antigua and Jamaica. Around the 1940’s and 50’s it referred to all secular or non-church music.  It became the Antiguan type of Trinidad’s calypso and was gradually replaced in Antigua by the latter.

“Quarkoo” was Antigua’s street crier and his lyrics were nearly synonymous with benna, though his style was purely his own.. He sold small items and his printed songs through the streets of St. John’s, as he announced sales or events, everything that radio does today.  He not only advertised for a small fee, but he entertained as well - singing folk songs and Benna. Quarkoo composed on the spot, he was “instantaneous”, the lyrics were repetitive. He was fearless, full of satire, often relating the latest gossip, he even landed himself in jail for slander! Benna was also sung in “call and response” with an audience.


Thomas Joseph’s benna (1924):

“Man Mongoose dog know you ways.

Mongoose go in a Forrest Kitchen

Thief out one of he big fat chicken,

Put um in he waistcoat pocket

Man Mongoose”

NOTE: “Mongoose” was a local scamp, and William Forrest was a merchant of The Parade (Thames Street, St. John’s).

An example of the straight forward style of Quarkoo’s benna:

“O, poor Millie,  

Millie gone to Brazil,  

Wire tie up she waist,

Red ants snap out she face ...”

Another benna:

“Maude smell donkey, she smell so funky

Me gee she water, me gee she soap

And she still smell funky!”


“Tuppence hapenny woman lie down pon de Bristol

The Bristol leggo Bum Bum etc ...”

 “Run Ya Bullah Run Ya”  has been played by the Rio Band for 50 years.

 Further recommended reading for a history: “Benna - An Elegy” by GER. IN Antigua Carnival - Calypso Talk ‘84.

“Burning Flamesia or Today’s Benna” (Anon) in Culture Magazine, Vol 3 #2 July 1993, page 10-11.


N A T I O N A L    W E E D

Widdy Widdy. (Corchorus siliquosus L.)

A slave food of the past. As far back as 1787, a letter sent back to England by a Mr. Luffman described some of the slave’s food, “Tops of yams are used like spinach as also the weedy weedy bush and prickly weed”... Widdy widdy bush boiled with cockles, is said to have been used by sugar workers to supplement their food supply when they struck for better wages and conditions in 1951.

The food made from this potherb with edible leaves, is known as “Popololo” (in St. John’s).  It has a high protein content, but is rather mucilagenous (sticky) to eat. It has a slippery ochro-like quality. It was once used as a tea for asthma and colds. Widdy Widdy belongs to the Tiliaceae family. The leaves of the Widdy Widdy bush are often added to the pepperpot, and “is really nice as it make you go off free!”, (is a laxative) ... (Adelaide Samuel). It requires little cooking for it rapidly softens and becomes sticky, a characteristic unappealing to many persons. The flavour is good and it is very nutritious, particularly the older leaves. (Martin & Rubert 1979:39).


N A T I O N A L   D I S H

Pepper pot and Fungee

The first people of Antigua - the Amerindians, made Pepperpots.  They called this highly seasoned stew “Tomali” (Toma = Sauce, ali = clay pot). The method of cooking was an ingenious type of food storage.  A rich brown pungent sauce was made by boiling any or all of the following available items:- fish heads, bones of fish, agouti, rice rat (Oryzomys spp., iguana, birds, seashells (chip-chips, oysters, whelks) in a deep clay fire pot with peppers, sweet potatoes, cassava juice and fine cassava flour. Cassava bread and other meats were dipped into this stew. It was boiled continuously and added to next day. The missionary, Father Breton, noted that it was rather unhygienic (even by 17th century standards) as often roucou (body paint) and women’s hair was found in pepper pots!

The pepper pots of Guyana today are still rather meat oriented as they were in our Amerindian times, but readers will note from experience and from the recipe opposite that the Antigua pepper pot is vegetable oriented - a mixture of green herbs and vegetables blended together.  It is usually eaten with fungee, a cornmeal delicacy.


“Every pepper pot ha ‘e fungee” - Antiguan proverb              

(Every person will meet a companion).

Earliest reference: “Sailors [in Antigua] eat much ... Dinners of salt fish or beef with piggins of fungy” (Antigua and the Antiguans.II:136).

Wartime song: “Oh, times too hard ... more throw in water, more fungee swelling!”


Recipe of the Antiguan and Barbudan Pepperpot by our own Gwen Tonge:

Needed: 4 eddo-leaves (cut up, 1 lb salt beef or 1 lb. other fresh meat optional); 4 eggplants (diced or antrobers); 2 teaspoons of margarine;

4 ochroes (diced); Salt & pepper to taste; Bunch of chive & thyme (pounded); 2 onions (chopped); 2 cups of green peas (cooked); 1 lb spinach chopped; 2 tomatoes (diced); 1 cup diced pumpkin; 1 cup diced squash; 2 teaspoonfuls of oil; 1 lb. salt pork, pig snout or 2 teaspoonfuls of ketchup; pig’s feet (cut in bits).

Method: Cook meats. Add vegetables, except green peas. Add seasoning.

Cook green peas in a small amount of salt water. Remove vegetables.

Chop well, return to pot. Allow to cook until thick. Add cooked peas.  Season and return to fire. When cooked, serve hot with fungee. Sometimes dumplins are added to the mixture.


Fungee recipe also by Gwen Tongue

Needed: 2 cups corn meal; 3 cups water; Salt to taste; 3 ochroes (cut in neat pieces); 2 tablespoons of butter.

Method: Bring water to the boil with ochroes until they are cooked.  Remove 2 cups of water to a pan. Add meal to the remaining boiling water. Using a wooden spoon, mix corn meal and crush to the side of the pan to remove lumps. Add water when necessary. When mixture leaves the bottom of the pan, remove from fire. Place butter in tea-cup or small bowl. Place large spoonful of fungee in bowl. Roll to a ball.  Serve hot with pepper pot; stewed or fried fish, or cod-fish and egg-plant.  Fungee can be left overnight. Sliced and dried and used with syrup or jam for breakfast.



N A T I O N A L   H I S T O R I C   S Y M B O L

The Sugar Mill Tower

According to an inventory made by the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda there are about 114 sugar mill towers still standing in Antigua. They are now silent witness to the days of when sugar was “king” and when African people were being exploited in the cane fields.

These towers once housed sugar cane grinding rollers that squeezed juice for manufacturing into sugar in the boiling houses. Large sails once turned in the trade wind to power these mills. The towers had to be very strong; hence they still stand today to be one of our symbols.

There are usually three openings in each tower. One arch was used as an entrance for taking in the cane and another was for exiting the crushed cane or begasse, later to be used as fuel in the boilers.  The tall long slit of an opening was used only when it became necessary to change the lengthy vertical wooden drive shaft that communicated between the mill machinery and the sails. This opening was called the exchange slit.

The first mill is said to have been built at Claremont, while the mill at the Savannah near Cobb’s Cross is another very old one. The Piggot family from Ireland was apparently the first sugar mill tower builders. There were 34 mills in 1705, but the number had risen to 175 by 1748. In the great earthquake of 1843, 35 mill towers were destroyed. The last working sugar mills were at Body Ponds, Union, Renfrews, and Constitution Hill (just south of All Saints and no longer standing). In 1994, one of the mills at Betty’s Hope was restored, so that it is now possible to see what all the mill towers of Antigua once looked like when in working order.

Some Mill Tower Facts:

The sails revolved 4 times a minute or 6/7 in a stronger wind.

In a week, a mill could grind 200 tons of cane to produce about 5,500 gallons of juice, which was then boiled down into 12 tons of sugar crystals.

The orders given by the “bosun” to start and stop a mill were “Turn her out” and “Turn her in”, referring to engaging the sails in the wind.


Thanks to the Bank of Antigua for the photos of the Mill, Turtle, Deer, Dress & Tree.



GER: 1984 “Benna - An Elegy”. IN Antigua Carnival - Calypso Talk ‘84.

Breton, Father Raymond: 1665.  Dictionnaire, Caraibe-Francois. Gilles Bouquet, Auxerre, France.

Chambers, Mr. Walter: 1995. Personal communication.

Chapman, N. & D.: 1980 Distribution of Fallow Deer. Mammal Review, June 1980.

Fuller, Eckert & Richardson: 1992. Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Antigua & Barbuda, WIDECAST CEP Technical Report No. 16.

Hanif, Mahamad: n.d. Sea Turtles of the Caribbean., Brochure of the Virgin Islands Conservation Society, Inc.

Jane, Charles: 1982. Antigua Black - A Pineapple of the Gods. Museum Library, ref: P-10.

Little & Wadsworth: 1964. The Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, US Department of Agriculture, Puerto Rico.

Luffman, John: 1788. A Brief Account of Antigua ... In Oliver’s History, 1898.

Martin, F.W. & Rubert, Ruth M.: 1979. Edible Leaves of the Tropics, US Dept. of Agriculture, Puerto Rico.

Margetson, Robert J.: n.d. Music (Calypso). Cultural Department, Ministry of Education & Culture, Antigua.

McDaniel, Lorna: 1992. Antigua & Barbuda: History of Music. Published privately.

Olsen, Dr. Fred: 1972. A Lush Forest Grew on Antigua 30 million years ago!   Mill Reef Digger’s Digest #8:14 March 1972.

Protheroe, E.: n.d. New Illustrated Natural History of the World.

Garden City Publishing, New York.

Record & Hess: 1972. Timbers of the New World.  Arno Press, NY.

Samuel, Mr. Reginald: 1995.  Personal communication.

Smith & Smith: 1986. To Shoot Hard Labour

Tonge, Gwen: n.d. Recipes of Antigua in the West Indies

Webster’s Dictionary.





There are two designated National Heroes:


1.   Vere Cornwall Bird, 'Founder of the Nation'

2.   Sir Vivian Richards, cricketer, 'The Master Blaster'.


V. C. B I R D
1909/12  9 Dec. VCBird born, the third of four children. To St John's Boys School
1910       Dec 7th. VCBird,  future Prime Minister, born at New St, St John's.
1939/01 16th.VCBird elected an executive member of the AT&LU.
1940       Feb.26th ATLU received legal status. VCBird  President in 1943.
1943       VCBird worked w/Robert Griffin to help organise a Union in Montserrat.
1943       Vere Cornwall Bird elected second president of the ATLU
1945       Reginald Stevens the first president of ATLU died. VCBird took over.
1945/04  VCBird new President of ATLU and a member of the Legislative Council.
1945/09  VCBird, at Barbados meeting to launch a Caribbean Congress of Labour.
1946       AT&LU won all seats to Legislative. Council, inc. VCBird, E. Lake & E. Williams.
1946/04  VCBird presided over the Antigua Section of the WI Sugar Boiler's Association
1951/01  VCBird faced Moody-Stuart under the Tamarind Tree; demanded better wages
1955       VCBird to Kenya with delegation to see that Mau Mau prisoners were treated well.
1965/12  CARIFTA agreement signed at Dickenson Bay by VCBird, Barrow & Burnham.
1966       To rid colonialism, VCBird led a delegation to UK for independence.
1967       VCBird government took over 13,000 acres sugar lands with British loan of $5m
1967/02  28th  Britain's Bottomley handed the constitution over to Premier VCBird
1967/03  Premier VCBird laid cornerstone of the Antigua University Centre.
1968/03  20th.VCBird resigned from PLM Govt, but George Walter refused.
1968/10  Oct 31. Deep Water Harbour formally opened by the Premier, VCBird.
1969       After 25 years, VCBird gave ATLU presidency. Jos. Lawrence took over.
1971/02  VCBird's ALP Government was voted out. VCB lost his seat in parliament
1976/02  18 Feb ALP victorious in the elections, VCBird back in Government.

1985       The Coolidge Airport was renamed the VCBird Airport, 28th Oct.
1987/01  Prime Minister VCBird reshuffled his Cabinet.
1987/01  A Ministry of Home Affairs created after a Cabinet reshuffle by VCBird
1987/11  Mon 2nd Nov. A bust of VCBird unveiled near the St John's Post Office
1988/01  Prime Minister VCBird had increased pressure within his ranks to reduce Cabinet
1988/11  22 Nov. VCBird received "Spirit of the Caribbean Award" in Miami.
1988/1    28 Dec. VCBird opened the new Coast Guard facility at Deep Water Harb
1988/12  New Government Printery with new equipment opened by VCBird.
1991/02  25th. St. .Luce resigned as Minister of Finance, VCBird took over.
1991/03  15th. P/Minister VCBird reshuffled his Cabinet. Lester Bird took Finance.
1992/02  US TV programme, VCBird's NBC interview, shown at East Bus Station.
1994       VCBird retired, his son Lester Bird became Prime Minister.
1994/02  17th.VCBird made last public announcement: Elections to be 8th March.
1998/06  VCBird Sr receives Order of the Caribbean Community Award.St. Lucia
1999/06  28th. VCBird, 'Father of the Nation' died at Holberton Hospital
1999/07  9th July. Sir VCBird the first to be buried in Heroes Park, Tomlinsons.

S I R   V I V I A N   R I C H A R D S
1952/03  6th.Isaac Vivian Richards, cricketer, born at Drake St, St John's.
1974/75  Vivian Richards first test was at Bangalore versus India.
1975       Vivi Richards showed talent by scoring 30, 101, 50, 98 in two Tests.
1976       Cricket.Viv Richards scored 1,710 runs in Test incl 2 double centuries
1976       Viv Richards "graduated" by scoring 291 against England.
1985/03  A public holiday to celebrate Vivi Richards as 1st WI Cricket Captain
1988/11  11th.Viv Richards now made 100 centuries, highest ever by WI cricketer
1989/02  11th. Mini-carnival at Airport when Viv Richards arr. from Australian test
1991       Viv Richards retired as 3rd most successful captain in all test cricket
1991/03  6th. Vivi Richards became the leading W.I. test run-getter of all time.
1991/08  Viv Richards left the field for the last time. Wisden Trophy retained.
1993       Viv Richards held W.I. record for most runs, 829, in a cricket series.
1999       Viv Richards was knighted for his contribution to Cricket.
2000/05  29th. Vivian Richards, greatest cricket batsman, was knighted at the ARG.








Each year it is customary for the organising committee of Independence celebrations to work under a theme for the year. Here they are:



1981   "A Nation to Build, a Country to Mould"
1982   "Youth Development, for Greater Productivity".
1983    "One Nation, One Family".
1984    "Freedom attained, Freedom maintained!"
1985    "Youth participation in National Development".
1986    "A Peaceful Nation Moving Forward!".
1987    "Give thanks together for benefits".
1988    "Build Strong on a Solid Foundation".
1989    "Building an Excellent Structure".
1990    "Maintaining Excellence".
1991    "Reflections".
1992    "National Unity for a Secured Future"
1993    "Forward Together"
1994    "The Family - Foundation for a Strong Nation"
1995    "Unite to Rebuild our Land, our Pride, our Heritage"
1996    "From Emancipation to Independence our heritage and our future.
1997    "Forward together with Pride & Productivity".
1998    "Positive Development through Sustained Efforts"
1999    "Our Elders Our Foundation: Our Youth our Hope for the 21st Century"
2000    "Creating and Sustaining an Environment for a Culture of Peace"
2001    "Volunteering to Preserve and Safeguard our Heritage"
2002    "Reunion 21"
2003    "Unrelenting, Dedication and Unity, Key for a Better Nation".
2004    "Antigua Barbuda, One Family"






The object of the game is to capture your opponent’s nickels. The nickels are called WARRI.

WARRI means “HOUSE” in a great many African dialects and the Game came to the West Indies from the Gold Coast of Africa with the slaves.

The word WARRI or HOUSES refers to the hollows on the board, and the counters are nickels, a small seed belonging to the Warri Bush, (Caesalpinia bonduc).

Each player starts with 4 nickels in each of the hollows on his side of the board. That is, 24 nickels on each side. The object of the game is to capture 25 nickels. The only way to capture the opponent’s nickels is to end in one of the hollows where there are one or two nickels. That is if the last nickel drops in an empty hollow to make a final score of 2 or 3, these nickels are captured and placed in the player’s store.

The opening player takes all of the nickels out of the hollows on his side and places one in each hollow in a counter-clockwise direction.

The nickels of any unbroken sequence of 2’s and 3’s on the opponent’s side of the board adjoining and behind the plundered hollow are also taken.

If a hollow contains more than 12 nickels then placing from one hollow will be more than one complete cycle of the board. The emptied hallow is omitted from the placing on the subsequent cycle and remains empty.

When an opponent’s hollows are empty a player must, if possible, put nickels into them.

However, if he cannot do so the game is over and all the nickels left on the board become the players.