Each chapter in this guidebook includes a general description, a reference map, a short history section, important data, and the walks and hikes to be found there. The maps are intended to be used as a general guide only, showing the approximate locations of the walks and trails. Detailed trail maps are unnecessary as the islands are small and most of the hikes are short. Antigua has many things going for it. The weather is absolutely perfect and the people are truly warm and friendly. Other islands may boast of having 365 beaches, but Antigua really does offer enough little bays, coves, and inlets that you could visit a different one every day of the year. So, if you dream of spending days strolling on palm-lined beaches, riding the waves on a sailboard, snorkeling in small, hidden coral coves, dancing the night away to pop music, and exploring the well-lit wilderness of a gambling casino, Antigua may just be the place. In 1632, 139 years after Columbus sailed by and named the island after Santa Maria la Antigua of Seville, the first British settlers arrived from St. Kitts. Unlike many early colonists on surrounding islands, Antiguans did not have to endure centuries of conquest and reconquest by various European powers. Only once, in 1666, was the island dominated by France. However, this French rule was ended within three months by the Treaty of Breda. The island may not have had a turbulent history of its own, but it housed a major British naval base. Admirals Rodney and Hood, and later Admiral Nelson, commanded heavily armed fleets based on Antigua. These patrolled the Caribbean, protecting English merchant ships and Great Britain's interests in the New World.The abolition of slavery brought decline to the sugar industry and the island became less important to England. Until the 1960s it remained a relatively quiet and unnoticed island. In 1967, Antigua attained associated state status in the British Commonwealth and, in 1981, was granted full independence. In the last 20 to 30 years, the sleepy island has awakened to the lure of the tourist trade and now draws tens of thousands more visitors than the neighboring islands of Montserrat, St. Kitts, or Nevis. It has also developed into the gateway of the Lesser Antilles. Many international airlines now use Antigua's airport as a transfer point to other islands. The best point to start an exploration is at the pier in St. John's. Directly across the pier is the Westerby Memorial, erected in 1888 to honor the work of Moravian Bishop, George Westerby. Walk along High Street to the Post Office, where you can buy the highly prized and colorful postage stamps of Antigua. Turn left on Thames Street and immediately come to the Tourist Office - the best place to learn more about the island. Follow Long Street to Market Street, where you'll turn left and stop to visit the excellent displays in the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. This treasury of Antiguan memorabilia is housed in the old Court House. It was constructed in 1750 and is the oldest building in St. John's. One more block will bring you to Newgate Street and the Police Station, built in 1788 and surrounded by a unique style of fence. Continue right on Newgate Street to the most famous spot of the city, St. John's Cathedral. This impressive structure has a turbulent history. The original building was erected in the late 1600s, but deteriorated to the point that it was replaced in the early 18th century. The stone church then stood for 100 years before it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1843. Having learned from past mistakes, the builders of the present-day cathedral treated interior walls with pitch pine to add stability in the event of further tremors. This is just the beginning. Fourteen major walks on the island are described in detail, along with a wide variety of walks on hotel and resort grounds, plus the general information you need about getting to the island and finding what you need.