Barbuda (/bɑːrˈb(j)də/)[9][10] is an island located in the eastern Caribbean forming part of the sovereign state of Antigua and Barbuda. It is located north of the island of Antigua and is part of the Leeward Islands of the West Indies. The island is a popular tourist destination because of its moderate climate and coastline.

Flag of the Barbuda Council
Motto: "Each Endeavouring, All Achieving"
Anthem: "Fair Antigua, We Salute Thee"
and largest city
17°36′N 61°47′W
Official languagesNone
Ethnic groups
Born in Antigua and Barbuda (92.10%)
Demonym(s)Inhabitant of Barbuda,[4] Barbudan, Barbudian
 Chairperson of the Barbuda Council

Mackenzie Frank
 Vice Chairperson of the Barbuda Council
Trevor Walker
 Member of Parliament
Trevor Walker
LegislatureBarbuda Council
23 September 1859
 Local government[6]
23 December 1976
 Independence from the United Kingdom under Antigua and Barbuda
1 November 1981
160.56 km2 (61.99 sq mi) (N/A)
 2011 census
10.2/km2 (26.4/sq mi) (not ranked)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
 Per capita
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
 Per capita
CurrencyEastern Caribbean dollar ($) (XCD)
Time zoneUTC−4 (−4)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy (CE)
Driving sideleft

Historically, most of Barbuda's 1,634 residents have lived in the town of Codrington.[11] However, in September 2017, Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 95% of the island's buildings and infrastructure and, as a result, all the island's inhabitants were evacuated to Antigua, leaving Barbuda empty for the first time in modern history.[12] By February 2019, most of the residents had returned to the island.[13]


The Pre-Arawakan peoples inhabited the area in the Stone Age.[14][15] The island was populated by Arawak and Carib Indians when Christopher Columbus landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early settlements by the Spanish were followed by the French and English who formed a colony in 1666.

In 1685, Barbuda was leased to brothers John and Christopher Codrington, who had founded the town of Codrington. The Codrington family produced food and transported slaves as labour for their sugarcane plantations on Antigua. During the 1740s, there were multiple slave rebellions at Codrington and all slaves were freed in 1834.

On 1 November 1981, the island gained its independence as an integral part of Antigua and Barbuda.


There is a widespread but disputed belief, shared by some Barbudans, that the Codringtons set up a human stock farm on Barbuda for the purpose of breeding the strongest, tallest enslaved people.[16][17] An article in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science has disputed this, stating that the Codringtons considered using Barbuda as a nursery, where slave children would have been raised to work on Antiguan plantations, but this plan was never realized.[18] Other sources indicate that slaves were, in fact, an export commodity[19] but this was probably due to natural population growth since no new slaves had arrived on the island since the mid-1700s.[20]

In any case, it's safe to say that the island exported slaves. According to a calculation made in 1977 by Lowenthal and Clark, 172 slaves were exported between 1779 and 1834. The majority were transported to Antigua, but 37 were sent to the Leeward and Windward islands, and some even ended up in the southern US. On the island, there were a number of slave uprisings, with the most significant occurring in 1834–1835.[21]

Britain emancipated slaves in most of its colonies in 1834, including Barbuda as an island dependency of the main colony of Antigua. For some years afterward, the freed slaves had little opportunity of survival on their own because of limited agricultural land and the lack of available credit to buy some. Therefore, they continued to work on the plantations for nominal wages or lived in shantytowns and worked as occasional labourers.[22] Sugarcane production remained the primary economy for over a century. Effective trade unions were not formed until the 1930s.[20]

The first map of Barbuda was made in the second half of the 18th century. At that time there were substantial buildings in the Highland area, a castle in Codrington, a fort on the river, now known as the Martello Tower, and houses at Palmetto Point, Coco Point, and Castle Hill. The map shows eight catching pens for holding captured runaway slaves, indicating that this was a common occurrence. There were several defensive cannon batteries around the island perimeter, as well as a large plantation in the Meadow and Guava area and another large plantation in the Highlands.[21]

Barbuda Land Act

The Barbuda Land Act of 2007 establishes that the citizens of Barbuda communally own the land.[23] The act specifies that residents must provide consent for major development projects on the island.[24] The Government of Antigua and Barbuda passed the act on January 17, 2008.[25]

Hurricane Luis

One of the most devastating hurricanes to strike the northern Leeward Islands in the 20th century, Hurricane Luis, a Category 4 storm, caused very extensive destruction to Barbuda in September 1995. Most houses were damaged or destroyed, with three deaths, 165 injuries, and power and water system disruptions. The hurricane left over 300 homeless; many lived in shelters for months. Estimated cost of rebuilding ranged from $100 million to $350 million.[26] Not all damaged buildings were replaced, and in early 2013, only two very expensive hotels were operating in addition to a few cottages that were for rent. In fact, there were very few facilities for tourists.[27] A report in early 2017 confirmed that there were still only two hotels; the primary attractions were the pristine beaches.[28] Many of the accommodations listed on the TripAdvisor page for Barbuda were actually in Antigua.[29]

Hurricane Irma

Satellite images of Antigua and Barbuda from August 21, 2017, and September 8, 2017, illustrating the damage caused by Hurricane Irma to Barbuda. The browning of the island was a result of extreme wind damage to foliage and desiccation of vegetation due to sea spray.[30]

22 years after Hurricane Luis, Hurricane Irma caused catastrophic damage when it made landfall on the island on 6 September 2017. Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated that the Category 5 hurricane had destroyed 95% of the structures and vehicles on the island.[31] Initial estimates showed that at least 60% of the island's residents were homeless because of the disaster.[32] All communications with Barbuda were down for a time; the storm had destroyed most of the communications system.[33]

On 8 September 2017, the government began to evacuate the entire island (with residents moved to Antigua) in anticipation of the Category 4 Hurricane Jose, which was approaching from the east.[34] Nearly 1,800 residents were evacuated to Antigua;[35] some were accommodated in the Sir Vivian Richards cricket stadium.[36] A hurricane warning for Jose was issued for several islands, including Barbuda.[37][35]

On 14 September, Ronald Sanders, Ambassador to the United States, described the situation on Barbuda: "There is no electricity there, there is no potable water anymore, there is no structure in which people can survive. We have a mammoth task on our hands."[12] He also stated this is the first time in 300 years that the island has not had a single living person on it.[38] Sanders said, "We are a small island community — the gross domestic product of Antigua is $1 billion a year. We cannot afford to take on this responsibility by ourselves. Barbuda is not just a disaster, it's a humanitarian crisis. We are hopeful that the international community will come to our aid, not because we're begging for something we want, but because we're begging for something that is needed."[12]

The United States Agency for International Development confirmed its commitment to provide coordination between the government and aid organizations; it also sent a Disaster Assistance Response Team.[39] On 8 September, the first of three cargo planes arrived in Antigua from the US, with over 120,000 pounds of relief supplies for Barbudans. The cost was covered by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and with donations from Martin Franklyn and the Coleman Company in the US.[40]

An estimate published by Time indicated that over $100 million would be required to rebuild homes and infrastructure. In a statement, Sanders stated that the reconstruction may cost up to $300 million. Philmore Mullin, Director of Barbuda's National Office of Disaster Services, said that "all critical infrastructure and utilities are non-existent – food supply, medicine, shelter, electricity, water, communications, waste management... Public utilities need to be rebuilt in their entirety... It is optimistic to think anything can be rebuilt in six months ... In my 25 years in disaster management, I have never seen something like this."[36]

A report in April 2018 indicated that many of the few people living on the island were making do in tents; some government buildings were still being repaired.[41] By that time, water and electricity were available in government buildings, the police station, the hospital and the post office in Codrington. Prime minister Gaston Browne said there were plans to build a new runway for jets at the airport but no specifics had been released.[42]

A house that was badly damaged by the Hurricane Irma.

By February 2019, an estimated 75% of residents had returned from Antigua.[13] Both China[43] and the European Union[44] funded rebuilding efforts which restored parts of the residential housing. Plans by Prime Minister Gaston Browne to overturn the century-old Barbudan communal land ownership by allowing residents to purchase land they occupy has been criticised as promoting "disaster capitalism".[13][45] Seen in relation with the planned construction of a new international airport,[46] critics voiced concerns that the main benefactors would not be the local populace, but international companies aiming to establish mass tourism.[13][47]


Barbuda's climate, pristine beaches, and geography attracted tourists for many years. Barbuda is served by Barbuda Codrington Airport and also had a ferry service to Antigua. Activities included swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and caving. Years after Hurricane Luis, in August 2017, there were still only two operating resorts on the island, although plans were being made to build other resorts before Hurricane Irma.[48]

Attractions that were popular included the Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Codrington Lagoon, Martello Tower, a 19th-century fort and the Indian Cave with its two rock-carved petroglyphs. Other points of interest included the beautiful Pink Sands Beach, Darby's Cave, a sinkhole with a tropical rain forest inside and Highland House (called Willybob locally), the ruins of the 18th-century Codrington family home, and the Dividing Wall that separated the wealthy family from its slaves.[49][48][50]


The total land area is 160.56 square kilometres (62 sq mi). The capital and largest town is Codrington, with an estimated population of 1,300 (2011 Estimated). The island is mostly coral limestone with little topographical variation. The "highlands" area on the eastern side of the island has hills rising to 125 ft (38 m), but the majority of the island is very flat, with many lagoons in the northwest corner.

The island is susceptible to hurricanes between August and October.

Major Division Areas

There are two major division areas on the island of Barbuda.

Major Division of Codrington (Codrington)

  • 90100 Codrington-North (Enumeration District)
  • 90200 Codrington-Central (Enumeration District)
  • 90300 Codrington-South (Enumeration District)

Rest of Barbuda

  • Barbuda-North (Village and Enumeration District)
  • Barbuda-South (Village and Enumeration District)
  • Barbuda-East (Village and Enumeration District)

Electoral history

The Barbudan parliamentary constituency was created before the 1976 elections.

List of MPs[51]
Election Winner Party Winners Percentage of Votes
1971 Claude-Earl Francis Progressive Labour Movement 50.00%
1976 Claude-Earl Francis Independent 31.45%
1980 Eric Burton Independent 67.87%
1984 Eric Burton Independent 54.16%
1989 Hilbourne Frank Barbuda People's Movement 57.90%
1994 Hilbourne Frank Barbuda People's Movement 56.64%
1999 Hilbourne Frank Barbuda People's Movement 55.96%
2004 Trevor Walker and Arthur Nibbs tied Barbuda People's Movement and Barbuda People's Movement for Change tied BPM 50.00% and BPMC 50.00% tied
2004 Run-off elections Trevor Walker Barbuda People's Movement 50.87%
2009 Trevor Walker Barbuda People's Movement 50.05%
2014 Arthur Nibbs Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party 50.05%
2018 Trevor Walker Barbuda People's Movement 55.58%
2023 Trevor Walker Barbuda People's Movement 57.8%


Barbuda is home to some notable wildlife, including the Antiguan racer, which is among the rarest snakes in the world. The Lesser Antilles are home to four species of racers. All four have undergone severe range reductions; at least two subspecies are extinct, and another, A. antiguae, now occupies only 0.1% of its historical range.[52]

Griswold's ameiva (Ameiva griswoldi) is a species of lizard in the genus Ameiva. It is endemic to Antigua and Barbuda and is found on both islands.


The climate is classified as tropical marine, which means that there is little seasonal temperature variation. In January and February, the coolest months, the average daily high temperature is 27 °C (81 °F), while in July and August, the warmest months, the average daily high is 30 °C (86 °F).


Like in Antigua, the education in Barbuda follows the British system with its three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. It is free and compulsory for students up to the age of 16.[53] The educational policy focuses on the philosophy that "each child should first be socialized as a human being and secondly as an economic unit of production."[54] See also the Education in Antigua and Barbuda for more information about education in the island.

Sir McChesney George Secondary School is the island's public secondary school.


Ethnic groups[55]

  • 95.11% African descendant
  • 2.88% Mixed (Black/White)
  • 1.00% Mixed (Other)
  • 0.44% Hispanic
  • 0.13% Arab (Syrian, or Lebanese)
  • 0.13% Caucasian/White
  • 0.13% East Indian/India
  • 0.13% Other
  • 0.06% Don't know/Not stated

Country of birth


The whole island is one constituency, has six enumeration districts and has a polling center at the Holy Trinity School.

The island is governed by the Barbuda Council.

See also

  •  Caribbean portal

Further reading


  1. "Barbuda Council". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  2. "Barbuda Council". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  5. "CHAPTER 44 : THE BARBUDA LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  6. "Antigua and Barbuda 2011 Population and Housing Census: A Demographic Profile" (PDF). Antigua & Barbuda Statistics Division ( June 2017. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
  8. "the definition of Barbuda". Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  9. "Barbuda PM: Unprecedented Level of Destruction". Anderson Cooper 360. CNN. 7 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  10. "2011 population and housing census for Antigua and Barbuda | The Caribbean Development Portal". Archived from the original on 2017-02-16. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  11. Panzar, Javier; Willsher, Kim (14 September 2017). "For first time in 300 years, there's not a single living person on the island of Barbuda". USA Today. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  12. Boger, Rebecca; Perdikaris, Sophia (11 February 2019). "After Irma, Disaster Capitalism Threatens Cultural Heritage in Barbuda". NACLA. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  13. Riley, Frank. "Imagine a Different Beach for Every Day of Year". The Los Angeles Times. September 13, 1987. p. 6.
  14. Allahar, Anton L. "Unity and diversity in Caribbean ethnicity and culture". Canadian Ethnic Studies. Calgary25.1 . 1993. p. 70–84.
  15. Crocker, John. "Barbuda Eyes Statehood and Tourists". The Washington Post. January 28, 1968. p. E11.
  16. Fleck, Bryan. "Discover Unspoiled: Barbuda". Everybody's Brooklyn. October 31, 2004. p. 60.
  17. Lowenthal, David A.; Clarke, Colin G. (1977). "Slave-Breeding in Barbuda: The Past of a Negro Myth". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 292 (1): 510–35. Bibcode:1977NYASA.292..510L. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1977.tb47770.x. S2CID 84773420.
  18. Sheridan, Richard B. (30 September 1974). Sugar and Slavery: An Economic History of the British West Indies, 1623-1775. Canoe Press. ISBN 9789768125132. Retrieved 30 September 2017 via Google Books.
  19. Leonard, Thomas M. (27 October 2005). Encyclopedia of the Developing World. Psychology Press. ISBN 9781579583880. Retrieved 30 September 2017 via Google Books.
  20. "barbudaful history - barbudaful". Archived from the original on 2018-06-19. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  21. Kras, Sara Louise (2008). Antigua and Barbuda. New York: Marshall Cavendish. pp. 35. ISBN 978-0-7614-2570-0.
  22. "The Barbuda Land Act, 2007" (PDF). Government of Antigua and Barbuda. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  23. "The Barbuda Land Act, 2007" (PDF). Government of Antigua and Barbuda. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  24. "The Barbuda Land Act, 2007" (PDF). Government of Antigua and Barbuda. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  25. "20th Anniversary of Hurricane Luis". 5 September 2015. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  26. Choat, Isabel (1 March 2013). "Barbuda, Caribbean beach paradise".
  27. Henderson, James (5 February 2016). "Antigua attractions". The Telegraph.
  28. "The Best Hotels in Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda for 2017 (with Prices)".
  29. Hansen, Kathryn (2017-09-11). "Hurricane Irma Turns Caribbean Islands Brown". NASA Earth Observatory. NASA. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  30. Fowler, Tara (2017-09-08). "Battered Caribbean islands brace for 2nd major hurricane in a week". ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures.
  31. "Barbuda 'totally demolished' but Antigua spared, says PM* Archived 2017-09-07 at the Wayback Machine". Trinidad Express Newspaper. Caribbean Communication Network. September 6, 2017.
  32. Bosotti, Aurora. Hurricane Irma UPDATE: Barbuda diplomat says ALL CONTACT has been lost with island". Express Newspapers. September 6, 2017.
  33. Loria, Kevin (September 8, 2017). "Barbuda is trying to totally evacuate today ahead of Hurricane Jose after Hurricane Irma 'demolished' 90% of the island". Business Insider.
  34. Panzar, Javier (9 September 2017). "Hurricane Irma leaves Caribbean islands devastated". Los Angeles Times.
  35. John, Tara (11 September 2017). "Hurricane Irma Flattens Barbuda, Leaving Population Stranded". Time. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  36. (now), Claire Phipps; Yuhas, Alan; (earlier), Matthew Weaver; Phipps, Claire; Farrer, Martin (9 September 2017). "Cuba lashed by category five winds as storm heads to US – as it happened".
  37. Sterling, Joe; Santiago, Cassandra (15 September 2017). "For first time in 300 years, no one is living on Barbuda". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  38. "USAID Administrator Mark Green's Call with Gaston Browne, Prime Minister, Antigua and Barbuda". 8 September 2017. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  39. "Government's Hurricane relief for Barbuda begin arriving on Antigua Friday". 9 September 2017.
  40. Maher, Philip (27 April 2018). "'World tends to forget the urgency of a disaster once the TV cameras leave' (6 photos)".
  41. "Updated: Mapping what's open and closed in the Caribbean: Travel Weekly". Archived from the original on 2018-04-29. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  42. Alexander, Harriet (23 September 2018). "China steps in to help rebuild Barbuda as West accused of 'benign neglect'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  43. "First Set of Keys Handed Over in EU funded Housing Support to Barbuda Project" (Press release). UNDP. 14 August 2020. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  44. Sou, Gemma (17 July 2019). "Barbudans are resisting 'disaster capitalism', two years after Hurricane Irma". The Conversation. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  45. Taylor, Diane (2 August 2018). "Work on Caribbean island airport halted by court ruling". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  46. Pressly, Linda (15 August 2019). "'Why I don't want to own the land my business is built on'". BBC News. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  47. "Barbuda: Set for construction of new resorts and airport runway - Business Focus Antigua". 5 May 2017. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  48. "5 Fun Things to Do in Barbuda : TravelAge West".
  49. "Antigua & Barbuda: Places to visit in Barbuda".
  50. "Antigua and Barbuda Election 2014 | Barbuda". Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  51. Sajdaka, Richard A.; Henderson, Robert W. (1991). "Status of West Indian racers in the Lesser Antilles". Oryx. 25 (1): 33–38. doi:10.1017/s0030605300034049. S2CID 35857578.
  52. Kras, p. 83.
  53. Thomas, Emel (2014). Education in the Commonwealth Caribbean and Netherlands Antilles. London: Bloomsbury Academic. p. 29. ISBN 978-1623563158.
  54. "Antigua and Barbuda::Statistics Division/Redatam Webserver | Statistical Process and Dissemination Tool". Retrieved 11 April 2022.

Further reading

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