The first day of November is Independence Day in Antigua and Barbuda to mark the day in 1981 when this island Caribbean nation gained its freedom from Great Britain.
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All three islands that make up the nation, Antigua, Barbuda, and Redonda, and the whole population, some 80,000 strong, celebrate Independence Day each year with great enthusiasm. Their history and path toward independence was long and hard.
Although sighted and partially named by Christopher Columbus, Antigua and Barbuda was first colonised by the British in 1632 and following. Soon, the colony became a centre of tobacco, sugarcane, and slavery. Most of the people today are descendants from these freed slaves.
In 1967, Antigua and Barbuda gained partial self-rule, but not until 1981 did they gain full independence. But Antigua and Barbuda remains within the British Commonwealth of nations. Some in Barbuda feel a desire to separate from Antigua, but this has not yet happened.
Independence Day in Antigua and Barbuda is a time of colourful parades, food fairs, cultural exhibits, and a host of other festive events.