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Antigua and Barbuda Timeline

A chronology of key historical events from 1493 to the present day.

1493 - Christopher Columbus visits Antigua and names it after the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Seville, Spain.

1632 - Antigua colonised by English settlers from St Kitts.


1667 - France formally ends its claim to Antigua in accordance with the Treaty of Breda.

1674 - Christopher Codrington, a sugar planter from Barbados, sets up a sugar plantation in Antigua.

1685 - Codrington leases the island of Barbuda from the British crown; African slaves imported to grow first tobacco and then sugarcane on plantations.

1834 - Slaves of Antigua emancipated.

1860 - Barbuda reverts to the British crown.

1871-1956 - Antigua and Barbuda administered together as part of the Leeward Islands federation.

Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Sr
Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Sr.
(1910 - 1990) was the first Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. In 1994 he was declared a national hero.


1946 - Vere Bird forms the Antigua Labour Party (ALP).

1958-62 - Antigua and Barbuda part of the British-sponsored West Indies Federation.

1967 - Antigua and Barbuda become a self-governing state within the British Commonwealth, with Britain retaining control of defence and foreign affairs.

1969 - Barbuda separatist movement comes into being.

Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Sr
Sir George Walter
(1928 - 2008) was a former premier of of Antigua and Barbuda. In 2008 he was declared a national hero.


1971 - George Walter replaces Vere Bird as Prime Minister after the Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) beat the ALP in the general elections.

1972 - Sugar industry closed down.


1976 - ALP, led by Vere Bird, returns to office after winning the general election.

1980 - ALP, led by Vere Bird, retains government after winning the general election .

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1981 - Antigua and Barbuda becomes independent.

Early 1980s - Attempts made to replant sugarcane fields, but these are finally abandoned in 1985 because of financial problems.

1983 - Antigua and Barbuda supports the US invasion of Grenada (as it has supported US sanctions against Cuba).

1984 - ALP, led by Vere Bird, retains government winning the general election .

1989 - ALP, led by Vere Bird, retains government winning the general election .

1990 - Prime Minister Vere Bird's son, Vere Jr, removed from public office in the wake of allegations of gun-running.

Lester BirdThe Antigua Labour Party, led by Lester Bird, retains government in 1994 and 1999 elections.


1993 - Vere Bird resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced by his son, Lester.

1994 - Lester Bird's ALP wins another general elections .

1995 - Riots erupt in protest against new taxes; Bird's brother, Ivor, convicted of smuggling cocaine into Antigua and Barbuda; Hurricane Luis hits the islands, claiming 75% of all homes and setting back development by 10 years.

1998 - Government closes down six Russian-owned banks accused of money laundering.

1999 February - US State Department describes the country as "one of the most attractive centres in the Caribbean for money launderers".

1999 March - Lester Bird's ALP wins another general election; direct hit by Hurricane Jose causes extensive damage.

2001 Multi-national Financial Action Task Force reports that Antigua is "fully cooperative" in the fight against money laundering.

Baldwin SpencerThe United Progressive Party, led by Winston Baldwin Spencer, won the 2004 general election.


2004 March - Lester Bird concedes defeat in general election. Baldwin Spencer, leader of United Progressive Party (UPP), is sworn in as Prime Minister.

2004 October - Parliament passes anti-corruption bill, providing for fines and jail terms for errant ministers and officials.

2005 April - Personal income tax - scrapped in 1975 - is re-introduced. Ruling party says move is needed to tackle deficit left by former administration.

2007 March - World Trade Organisation sides with Antigua in ruling that the US has failed to comply with a ruling to relax its restrictions on offshore, online gambling. Antigua, which has an internet betting industry, filed the case in 2003.

2007 December - WTO orders the US to pay compensation to Antigua over its online gambling trade dispute, but far less than the Caribbean nation had been seeking.

2008 July - Tourism industry rocked by shooting of British honeymoon couple in holiday cottage.

2009 February - Antigua's single biggest private investor, Sir Allen Stanford, is charged with massive investment fraud by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

2009 March - Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer leads the United Progressive Party to victory again in parliamentary elections, albeit with a reduced majority.

2009 - June - Antigua dismisses its chief financial regulator, Leroy King, after he is charged with helping Texas billionaire Allen Stanford cover up a fraud scheme.

2009 August - Antiguan government says Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave it $50m in financial aid after collapse of business empire of its biggest investor, Allen Stanford.

2011 July - Two men are found guilty of murdering a honeymooning British couple shot dead in Antigua in July 2008.

2012 March - A US court finds financier Allen Stanford guilty of running a $7bn Ponzi scheme through his bank based in Antigua.

2013 January - Antigua wins World Trade Organization permission to lift restrictions on US intellectual property, in a possible retaliatory response to US restrictions on the island's online gambling industry.

2013 October - Antigua and Barbuda launches scheme allowing foreigners to acquire citizenship with a $250,000 donation or a property investment of at least $400,000.

Gaston BrowneThe Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, led by Gaton Browne, won the 2014 general election.


2014 June - General elections set for 12 June 2014. Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) wins general elections (14 of 17 seats). Gaston Browne becomes Prime Minister.

2018 March - ABLP wins a second consecutive term in snap elections called on 21 March 2018, with 15 of 17 seats.

ABLP = Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party; UPP = United Progressive Partry; DNA = Democratic National Alliance; ABTLP = Antigua and Barbuda True Labour Party; BPM = Barbuda Preople's Movemnet; ABPM = Antigua Barbuda People's Movement; IND = Independent Candidate; *incumbent; ** Political Leader
Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission. http://www.abec.gov.ag/
Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party. https://www.ablpantigua.com/
Antigua Barbuda True Labour Party. https://www.facebook.com/truelabourite/
Democratic National Alliance. https://www.facebook.com/DNAAntiguaBarbuda/
United Progressive Party. www.http://unitedprogressive.party
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 Antigua & Barbuda Country Profile
 Antigua & Barbuda Government Structure
 Antigua & Barbuda Election Basics
 The Parliament of Antigua & Barbuda
 Political History and Dynamics
 Electoral Legislation
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 Glossary of Election Terms
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