Anguilla is the northernmost of the islands in the Sotavento archipelago of the Caribbean. Lowland, of coral origin. The islands enjoyed little attention from the British Empire, due to their modest size – just under 96 square miles – and its unsuitability for agriculture, caused by the lack of fresh water. From 1816 to 1871, Aguila, St. Kitts, Nevis and the Virgin Islands were administered as one colony. In 1871, the Virgin Islands detached and the remaining remained united, with the seat of government at St. Kitts.
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It remained until the colony of Anguilla-St. Kitts and Nevis became one of the 5 Caribbean island communities, affiliated with the British throne. The people of Anguilla rejected this innovation and launched a revolt against the government of St. Kitts. Under the leadership of trader Ronald Webster, Anguilla demanded an independent constitution. In March 1969, London sent troops to the island to secure the deployment of a Colonial Commissioner, but the separatist movement continued to be active.
Two years later, Anguilla obtained the right to self-government, and in 1976 a new constitution was introduced in the mother country, which introduced a parliamentary government, under the control of the British Commission. But in spite of this, in 1980, Anguilla only succeeded in permanently withdrawing from the state society and becoming an independent nation associated with Britain – and only after the Labor Party had seen itself forced to turn the government in St. Kit’s back!
The 1976 Constitution meant that an English-appointed governor should be responsible for defense, foreign policy, internal security – including the responsibility of the police – the public sector, the justice system, and tax administration. The Governor was at the same time chairman of the Advisory Assembly.
The first free elections, in accordance with the new constitution, were held in 1976 and Ronald Webster was appointed head of government, but the following year, in February, adopted a distrust agenda and he was replaced by opposition leader Emile Gumbs. In the 1980 election, Webster’s party, Anguilla’s Unity Party, achieved an overwhelming victory, sitting on 6 of Parliament’s 7 seats. A year later, the government faced fierce internal strife; Webster founded Anguilla’s People’s Party, and in the 1981 election they captured 5 seats. The two remaining seats went to Anguilla’s National Party, led by Emile Gumbs.
In September, a deal was negotiated with the U.K. to introduce the changes that would pave the way for an independent government.
On March 9, 1984, elections were held in accordance with the new Constitution of 1982, which provided for the maintenance of the parliamentary system. Anguilla’s National Party obtained 53.8% of the vote and Emile Gumbs became re-leader.
The new government tried to put in place a system of adding more power to the Advisory Assembly while trying to attract more UK investment to the island’s economic infrastructure. At the request of the Council to introduce certain constitutional amendments – mainly to address the issue of women’s rights and terms of persons born outside the island but with relatives residing in Anguilla – the governor appointed a commission to draft a new constitution.
During the 1980s, the construction industry, especially used to hotel construction, succeeded in reducing unemployment from 26% to 1%, but a stagnation in the 90s and the economic recession in the US led to a decrease in the number of tourists.
In 1991, Prime Minister Gumbs called for expanded cooperation between the British colonies and the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean.
Revenue, based on cattle farming, salt extraction, shrimp fishing, and the funds sent to the island by emigrants – especially residents of the United States – declined in favor of revenue from construction, tourism and the international banking world. In 1992, a law was passed that transferred the responsibility for issuing licenses to foreign firms to the governor, Bryan Canty; it should be seen as an attempt to more effectively control these.
In the March 1994 election, Hubert Hughes of Anguilla’s Unity Party won. In November, the Advisory Assembly introduced a new law regulating the activities of multinational corporations. Hurricane Luis, which raged in 1995, had a major adverse impact on the economy. In 1997 and partly in 1998, Anguilla had an annual economic growth of 7% as a result of increased tourism from the United States and the United Kingdom.
The March 2000 parliamentary elections were won by a coalition of ANA and Anguilla’s Democratic Party. The coalition had taken the name United Front and put Osbourne Fleming on the post of government leader.
In November, the OECD placed Anguilla on the list of tax havens, demanding that the country by December 31, 2001, enact laws to regulate financial transactions.
On May 9, 2001, a new census was conducted showing that the population had grown by 22%. A little less than expected. The number of children was increased by 30%. Than slightly higher than expected.
In April 2003, British Cable & Wireless lost its monopoly on communications in Anguilla. Although the country’s authorities did not set an exact date on when other companies would be closed, the legislation regulating the new situation in the telecommunications market was drafted. Acc. Attorney General Ronald Scipio will have a positive impact on the economic liberalization of the economy, as it will give local businesses new opportunities and open up investment from outside.
Anguilla’s National Alliance and Anguilla’s Democratic Party, gathered in the United Front, became the big victor at the February 2005 parliamentary elections, taking 4 of the 7 seats. The National Alliance got 34.1% of the vote and 3 seats, while the Democratic Party got 10.8%. Anguilla’s United Movement became the second largest party with 12.1% and 2 seats in parliament.
In 2006 and 07, a significant number of Chinese, Mexican and Indian workers came to the country to work in the tourism industry, which had grown so strongly in previous years that the indigenous population could not fill the necessary positions.
Hundreds of Indian workers supported by the local population demonstrated in the streets of The Valley in July 2007 demanding agreements. Until then, Indian workers had to live for an average of US $ 180 a month.
Hubert Hughes became Anguilla’s prime minister in February 2010. His stated goal is independence from the British colonial power, and this, despite the fact that it would mean stopping EU aid, and stopping visa-free access to the United States, Canada and the French and Dutch colonies in the Caribbean.
Anguilla’s energy needs in 2012 were covered by solar energy for 15%.
The Conservative Anguilla United Front (AUF) won the election in April 2015, gaining 6 out of the Assembly’s 7 seats. The former government party AUM, in turn, lost its 4 seats. Subsequently, the AUF’s Victor Banks was appointed as head of government.
Anguilla was directly hit by Category 5 Hurricane Irma in September 2017. One was killed and the hurricane caused enormous devastation. However, not as devastating as Barbuda, which subsequently had to be 100% evacuated.