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Barbuda is one of those very few islands in the
Caribbean that remains--and probably will remain for some time--so undeveloped as to seem
positively deserted at times. With the exception of the guests of the island's small
number of accommodations, the population seems largely to consist of the graceful Fregatamagnificens, or frigate bird. As the birds possess a marked preference for the
northwest lagoon, Barbuda's seemingly endless white and pink sand beaches are left to the
peaceful wanderings of those lucky enough to sojourn here.
Activities on Barbuda are appropriately relaxed, including beachcombing
(on the northeastern Atlantic coast), fishing and hunting and, at the island's resorts,
golf, tennis, snorkeling, diving, or simply soaking up the sun and the calm. Points of
interest include the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, the truly noteworthy pink and white sand
beaches, and an abundance of shipwrecks and beautiful reefs. Barbuda can be reached easily
from Antigua, either by air (a 20-minute flight, twice daily) or by boat (in three hours).
The island is home to the luxurious K-Club, Coco Point Lodge and Hotel Palmetto resorts, as well as
to a number of other hotels and comfortable guest houses.
Barbuda's history has been intimately tied to that of Antigua for
centuries. The first early attempts to settle Barbuda (by both the British and French)
were failures, and it wasn't until 1666 that the British established a colony strong
enough to survive the ravages of both nature and the Caribs. In 1680, four years before he
began cultivating sugar on Antigua, Christopher Codrington was granted (with his brother
John) a lease to land in Barbuda. With subsequent leases that granted them additional
rights to the substantial wreckage along Barbuda's reefs, they became the island's
preeminent family. For much of the eighteenth century the Codrington land on Barbuda was
used to produce food and to supply additional slave labour for the Codrington sugar
plantations on Antigua, and so the Barbuda's fortunes rose and fell with those of its
larger neighbour. Testament to the influence of the Codringtons remains today, both in the
island's place names and in its architectural remains. On Barbuda's highest point (124
feet) are the ruins of the Codrington estate, Highland House, and on the island's south
coast still sits the 56-foot high Martello castle and tower, a fortress that was used both
for defense and as a vantage from which to spot valuable shipwrecks on the outlying reefs.
More information on Barbuda is
available from barbudaful.net
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