Antigua and Barbuda

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

Landscapes and Landforms of the Lesser Antilles






The country of Antigua and Barbuda comprises two islands located in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. While both islands are positioned on the Barbuda Bank, they each consist of a unique geologic setting: Antigua is composed of volcanic rock, clay, and limestone, while Barbuda is largely limestone with prominent cave features. Their unique attributes are not just geologic, as the two islands also have differing histories that developed in part due to environmental constraints—Antigua’s enslaved African population grew sugarcane as a British colony, while enslaved Barbudans raised livestock as a leased entity of the British Codrington family because of shallow soils resulting from the island’s karst topography. Today, Antigua is much more developed relative to Barbuda in terms of tourism and has a greater population density. Barbuda’s population is small and development is limited as a result of Barbuda’s unique land tenure of common property. Still, despite their differences, both islands face similar environmental hazards including drought, hurricanes, soil erosion, flooding, and the long-term risks posed by climate change.