The territory of Anguilla lies 146 miles east of Puerto Rico, six miles (10 km) to the north of St. Martin and between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. It is a British Overseas Territory and is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles.
In essence, Anguilla can be described as a collection of flat and lowlying islands and cays of coral and limestone, with the capital - The Valley - situated on the main island of Anguilla. The total area of the territory is 102 sq km and its name, meaning ‘eel’, was the name given to it by the French because of its long, thin shape.
Anguilla boasts the finest, powder white beaches and turquoise waters in the Caribbean. The highest point is Crocus Hill which is a mere 65m.
However, regardless of the island’s physical attributes, it is the people who truly make this country a jewel of the Caribbean. Anguillians are passionate about their culture and heritage and this is evident at all major cultural events and historical celebrations held on the island. Business or leisure travelers will find Anguillans very warm, peaceful, friendly and hospitable.
Anguilla is a British Dependent Territory. The British Monarch is represented by a Governor who presides over the Executive Council and is responsible for defense, external affairs, internal security, the public service and offshore finance.
The House of Assembly is elected for fi ve years and consists of seven elected members, two ex-officio members and two members nominated by the Governor. The legal system is based on English common law.
The population is estimated at 14,254 (2006) and the official language is English.
Anguilla experiences sub-tropical temperature. With an average of 35 inches of rainfall annually, the climate is hot throughout the year and tempered by trade winds in local areas. July to October tend to get fairly gusty and are classified as the hurricane months. Downpours are also frequent during this period.
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar is the official currency of Anguilla. Eastern Caribbean Notes are in denominations of EC$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of EC$1, and 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. The Eastern Caribbean dollar is fixed to the US dollar at US$1.00 = EC$2.70. US Dollars are widely accepted. Credit cards & travelers checks are generally accepted. Prices are quoted in either currency, so ask if you are unsure.
Flora & Fauna
Most natural flora on Anguilla is lowgrowing and tolerant of the salty air, strong sun and sometimes arid conditions. Here you will find Beach Maho or Sea Cotton, Green Agave, Aloe Vera, Organ pipe cactus, Buttonwood, a tree that grows in saltwater and brackish water and Tabebuia, the national plant of Anguilla, with pink blooms.
The national bird of Anguilla is the turtle dove (zenaida aurita), a brownish bird protected by law. Anguilla is home to over 120 species, 30 per cent of which are globally or regionally threatened or endangered species. Birds often spotted on Anguilla include the green Antillean crested hummingbird, the sugar-loving Bananaquit, the Frigate bird and the Brown pelican.
The mangroves and salt ponds throughout the island provide some of the best habitat for bird watching. Great blue herons are seen during their winter migration, while permanent residents include the Snowy Egret, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Lesser Yellowlegs or Pond Dipper, White- Cheeked Pintail and Black-Necked Stilt.
Several species of sea turtle are found in the waters off Anguilla. All are globally threatened or endangered. Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Leatherback and Green Sea Turtles are found in these waters, but in small numbers. In addition, Barracuda, Lobster, Sting Rays and Tiger Grouper are among the sea life in the waters off Anguilla.