The History of Anguilla

The History of Anguilla

Approximately 3500 years ago, a tribe of Amerindians left their native land of South America and sailed out to find a new home. They settled on what is now called Anguilla, a 20 mile long sand bar off the coast of St Martin.

They named the island Malliouhana, which meant "arrow-headed sea serpent" in their native language of Arawak. "Malliouhana" soon became a bustling community with villages, farms, and ceremonial sites.

It was not long before Europeans began to notice the exquisite "Malliouhana." They named the island Anguilla, or "eel", due to the island's elongated shape.

In the 1650s, British settlers came to Anguilla and colonized the island. They set up plantations in the flat center area of the island to grow corn and tobacco. These establishments were short-lived however; the Caribs, a warrior tribe from South America, overtook the population of the Arawak Indians and destroyed the plantations.

 British settlers came to Anguilla


More troubles arose in 1666 when French forces took over Anguilla. The island was relinquished to the British through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, but the French continued attempts to invade the British-governed island for 150 years.

Anguilla became a British colony and developed a high degree of home rule. In the 1830's; however, it was forced to enter into a union with nearby islands St. Kitts and Nevis. In 1958 the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla union became a part of the Federation of the West Indies.

The Federation collapsed only four years later, and as a result most islands gained institutional constitutions and St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla became an associated statehood. With these new privileges, Anguilla became inspired to fight for its independence.

The Anguillan Revolution or Anguilla's Independence Day, commenced on May 30, 1967. On this day, the Anguillans repulsed the Royal St. Kitts Police Force from the island. The British immediately came and interceded establishing a peace-keeping committee.

Anguillan Revolution


Anguilla was then granted statehood and independence, although debate still presided over Anguilla's succession until December 19, 1980. Anguilla became a British overseas territory with some measure of autonomy in government.

With political tensions finally settling, the 1980s were Anguilla's entree into the Caribbean tourism sector. This relatively late introduction lends a unique aesthetic to Anguilla's resort properties not found on other islands in the region.

Caribbean tourism sector


Mediterranean modern architect Myron Goldfinger designed two striking resorts in the mid-eighties, CoveCastles and Altamer on Shoal Bay. In 1988, Oscar Farmer, the architect responsible for the Hollywood Coliseum oversaw the building of the whitewashed Cap Juluca on the western end of the island.

Conair co-founder, Leandro P. Rizzuto became a major player in Anguilla's transformation into a vacation paradise when he purchased 35 acres after brief day visit. Instead of building a private residence, he opted to form a company called the Anguillan Development Corporation and use the property as the grounds for a five star resort. Sharing a name with Conair's culinary appliance division, CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa opened in 1999. True to its namesake, the resort prioritizes fine dining alongside sustainable practices that include on onsite hydroponic farm, desalination through reverse osmosis and solar energy. CuisinArt debuted a Greg Norman designed golf course in 2011, and opened up The Reef, a sister property in 2016.

The Viceroy, a luxury hotel property opened in 2010, and was sold to Four Seasons in 2016. Although it took a hit from hurricane Irma in 2017, the property was renovated, and reopened its doors to guests in March of 2018.

Today, Anguilla is considered a British dependency, and the island attracts tourists from around the world to play on its golden beaches and swim in its turquoise seas. Luxury villas and resorts offer visitors the best in accommodations for their Anguilla vacations. Fishing and boating, along with gourmet dining and fine beaches, draw visitors to this friendly island.

Anguilla General Information and Villa Rentals

Download Our Anguilla Destination Guide

Anguilla Vacation Ideas