Prior to European colonialism, the first residents were the Ciboney Indians, who inhabited the island for several thousand years before mysteriously departing. Pastoral Arawak Indians settled here before being replaced by the Caribs, the last group to inhabit the island before it was taken over by Europeans. That occurred in 1493, when Christopher Columbus spotted Antigua on his second voyage. Life did not change dramatically for nearly 150 years after, as the Caribs resisted any European efforts to colonize.
The Arawaks were the first well-documented group of Antiguans. This group paddled to the island by canoe (pirogue) from Venezuela, ejected by the Caribs—another people indigenous to the area. Arawaks introduced agriculture to Antigua and Barbuda, raising, among other crops, the famous Antiguan “Black” pineapple.
Antigua means “ancient” in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Santa Maria la Antigua—St. Mary of the Old Cathedral.
The island has an interesting history and violent past during the times of slavery under the British but today is only a holiday venue where they hold world-class sailing regattas.