Anguilla Brief History Article

Troubled times – Anguilla brief history article

Anguilla brief history article written by Travel Writer & Editor Linda Jackson

Anguilla – a small Caribbean island off the beaten track – hasn’t always been the exclusive luxury retreat for the rich and famous that it is today, so this Anguilla article gives a very brief history about the island.

It might be off the beaten track for many tourists but the quiet island of Anguilla, just 16 miles long and three miles across and the most northerly of the Leewaard Islands in the eastern Caribbean, Anguilla, has become a luxury Caribbean retreat for celebrities, the rich and famous.

Shaped like an eel, from which it derives its name (anguille in French), this peaceful coral island lies 150 miles east of Puerto Rico and nine miles north of St Martin. Known originally as Malliouhana (the sea serpent), Anguilla was inhabited from around 2,000 BC by Arawak-speaking Amerindian people

This Anguilla brief history article touches on the island’s troubled times

Anguilla hasn’t always been lavish and pleasurable.  It was colonised by the British in 1650 who were subsequently wiped out by Caribs who arrived from a neighbouring island.  But these Carib inhabitants, who had originated from South America, fled the island in fright when the French raided it in 1666.

Those were troubled times in the Caribbean and a 150-year power struggle ensued between the French and British for control of Anguilla, causing hardship for its people and economy.

Very difficult to make ends meet in Anguilla many European farmers left, resulting in an island mostly populated by African slaves. 1745 saw the French attempt, and fail, to invade Anguilla; as they did again in 1796.

Although the French destroyed the main settlements on the island the Anguillans, despite losing many men in the process, managed to drive the invaders back to the shore where they were sandwiched between incensed islanders and a British frigate that had come to Anguilla’s aid.  Two French warships were destroyed in the ensuing battle… ending the invasion attempts by the French.

Anguilla snippets of information

Boat racing is the island’s national sport, the 28ft hand-crafted boats an impressive sight; Anguilla’s most spectacular display of culture is August Summer Festival celebrating emancipation: it starts with j’ouvert Mornin’, a daybreak jam through the streets, with festivities lasting two weeks. Dining out (a French-Caribbean fusion) is unbelievably good with around 100 eating places ranging from beachfront shacks to gourmet restaurants.

How to get to Anguilla

Through St Martin International Airport, taxi to Marigot, then 20-minute boat ride

Click here for details of Caribbean adventure activities in Anguilla and things to do in Anguilla.

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