The name "Anguilla" refers to a 96-square-kilometer dependent island territory of the United Kingdom, located in the northeast Caribbean at 18°03′ N, 63°04′ W. Anguillans speak English and are mostly of African descent. The population was approximately 6,900 in 1992. "Anguilla," the Spanish word for "eel," refers to the shape of the island, which originated as a coral formation.
The earliest inhabitants of the island were Saladoid Indians, who arrived sometime around 1300 B . C .; they grew cassava and built several large villages. In the tenth century AD., post-Saladoid Indians came to the island and established a theocracy. British enslavement of the Indians and European diseases killed all the Anguillan Indians by the 1600s. Anguilla was colonized by the British in 1650, although the Carib and French both attacked the colony in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, respectively. Anguilla was later to become a part of the Saint Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla colony. As Saint Kitts gradually gained more independence from the U.K., Anguilla moved toward independence from the Saint Kitts government, and in 1980 it separated from Saint Kitts and Nevis to become a British Dependent Territory, drafting its own constitution in 1982. The Valley, capital of Anguilla, is home to the governor (the Crown representative), an elected seven-member executive council, and an elected eleven-member legislature known as the House of Assembly.
The economy of Anguilla is presently booming because of the tourist trade and the location there of offshore banks. Prior to 1985, however, high unemployment and emigration were common. The island has few natural resources (salt and lobsters), poorly developed agriculture (pigeon peas, maize, and sweet potatoes), and little manufacturing (boat building).
Douglas, Nik, ed. (1987). Review, 1981-1985. The Valley, Anguilla: Archaeological and Historical Society.
Petty, Colville L., and Nat Hodge (1987). Anguillas Battle for Freedom. Anguilla: PETNAT Publishing Co.
Westlake, Donald E. (1972). Under an English Heaven. New York: Simon & Schuster.