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It was located on the major sailing routes among the region's resource-rich colonies.
Lord Horatio Nelson, a major figure in Antigua history, arrived in the late 18th century to preserve the island's commercial shipping prowess.
In fact, some historians Sugar became Antigua's main crop in about 1674, when Christopher Codrington (c 1640-1698) settled at Betty's Hope plantation.
He came from Barbados, bringing the latest sugar technology with him.
During Antigua Sailing Week, at the end of April and beginning of May, an annual regatta brings a number of sailing vessels and sailors to the island to play sports. Eventually, the Arawak migrated from the mainland, followed by the Carib.
On 6 September 2017, the Category 5 Hurricane Irma destroyed 90 percent of the buildings on the island of Barbuda. Prior to European colonialism, Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit Antigua, in 1493.
European diseases, malnutrition and slavery eventually destroyed the vast majority of the Caribbean's native population.
Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981. The capital is situated in the north-west and has a deep harbour which is able to accommodate large cruise ships.As a result, the Arawak and Carib populated much of the South American and the Caribbean islands. Sir Christopher Codrington, an Englishman, established the first permanent European settlement.Their descendants live throughout South America, particularly Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. From that point on, Antigua history took a dramatic turn.Today, collectors prize the uniquely designed "colonial" furniture built by West Indian slaves.Many of these works feature what are now considered "traditional" motifs, such as pineapples, fish and stylized serpents.