Antigua and Barbuda is a sovereign island country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major islands, Antigua and Barbuda separated by 63 km (39 mi), and smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden, Prickly Pear, York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda). The permanent population number is about 95,900 (2018 est.), with 97% being resident on Antigua. The capital and largest port and city is St. John's on Antigua, with Codrington being the largest town on Barbuda. Lying near each other, Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17°N of the equator.
The island of Antigua was explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa María La Antigua. Antigua was colonized by Britain in 1632; Barbuda island was first colonised in 1678. Antigua and Barbuda joined the West Indies Federation in 1958. With the breakup of the federation, it became one of the West Indies Associated States in 1967. Following self-governance in its internal affairs, independence was granted from United Kingdom on 1 November 1981. Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Commonwealth and Elizabeth II is the country's queen and head of state.
The economy of Antigua and Barbuda is particularly dependent on tourism, which accounts for 80% of GDP. Like other island nations, Antigua and Barbuda are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, and increased intensity of extreme weather like hurricanes, which have direct impacts on the island through coastal erosion, water scarcity, and other challenges.