Since 2016, when he joined the diplomatic corps , Dario Item is the ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda. He now representes the country in Spain, but also in the Principality of Monaco and in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
One of the main tasks of an ambassador is the promotion of the history, traditions and culture of the country he represents.
Antigua and Barbuda is well known for its beautiful beaches. It is in fact considered one of the best holiday destinations.
However, Antigua and Barbuda is more than that. It is a country with a long history and a strong tradition. In this article I’m going through the main stages of its history.
The history of Antigua and Barbuda
The first inhabitants were the Arawak, deposed by the Caribs in the 12th century.
Antigua was reached by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage in 1493, who gave it its name from the church of S. Maria de la Antigua in Seville.
After the fierce opposition of the natives, it was only in 1632 that the British were able to settle permanently in Antigua. The British installed a plantation economy (tobacco, sugar cane), and it became a possession of Great Britain in 1667.
The governor Christopher Codrington started the first sugarcane plantation incorporating the nearby Barbuda. Codrington was one of the worst slave traders in history: he deported slaves from West Africa and used them in the deforestation of Antigua to make room for the first plantations.
Antigua was particularly appreciated for its deep-water bays that provided safe shelter for the ships. During the 18th century, numerous fortresses were built to guard these natural harbours.
Slavery was abolished in 1834 but living conditions did not improve much. The local economy went into crisis.
It was only in 1939 that the inhabitants of Antigua managed to create a political formation aimed at asserting their rights.
Independence was achieved in 1967, albeit in the form of a member state of the British Commonwealth.
The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981. Elizabeth II became the first Queen of Antigua and Barbuda and Vere Cornwall Bird Sr the first Prime Minister.