General issues: De facto independent republic 1967-1969, De facto separate British colony 1969-1980, British dependency 1980-2002, British overseas territory 2002-Present
Country name on general issues: Anguilla
Currency: 1 Dollar = 100 Cents 1967-Present
Population: 5 400 in 1966, 15 000 in 2011
Political history Anguilla
Anguilla is a group of islands located in the Caribbean as part of the Lesser Antilles – for the exact location, please refer to the map of the Caribbean. Anguilla is the main island and the only island that is permanently inhabited. Archaeological finds show proof that the island, prior to colonization, has been inhabited by the Amerindian Arawak and Carib peoples that are found on many of the Lesser Antilles. Records of first exploration and settlement suggest, though, that the island was uninhabited at the time of colonization. Christopher Columbus may have been the first European to sight Anguilla in 1493. With certainty, the Frenchman René Goulaine de Laudonnière was the first European to explore the island in 1564. The British were the first to settle Anguilla in 1650 – settlements that were raided by Amerindian people in 1656 and, throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, several times by the French.
From the 17th until the 20th century, Anguilla was, almost continuously, administered as part of the Leeward Islands colony – the federal colony that grouped together the British possessions in the Leeward Islands. In 1825, Anguilla was made a dependency of Saint Kitts – a decision that was strongly resented by the Anguillians who, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, petitioned several times to be governed as a separate colony. Saint Kitts, with Anguilla, was grouped together with Nevis, in 1882, to form the presidency of Saint Kitts & Nevis, renamed Saint Kitts, Nevis & Anguilla in 1952 – one of the presidencies of the Leeward Islands. When the Leeward Islands colony was dissolved in 1956, Saint Kitts, Nevis & Anguilla became a separate colony and as such, between 1958 and 1962, joined the West Indies Federation – a short lived federation of most of the British possessions in the West Indies. When Saint Kitts, Nevis & Anguilla became an associated state in 1967, Anguilla revolted and proclaimed independence – the goal being to achieve independence from Saint Kitts and Nevis rather than from Great Britain. As negotiations failed, the British intervened by force in 1969. From 1969, Anguilla was administered as a de facto separate colony. Negotiations continued and, in 1971, Anguilla was de jure allowed to secede, which took effect in 1980, when Anguilla became a separate British dependency. Anguilla has been – a politically stable – British overseas territory since 2002.
Economically, the British developed plantations in the 18th century with sugar cane as the main crop. To man the plantations, slaves were brought to Anguilla – who would soon outnumber the planters of European descent. After the abolition of slavery in 1834 and because of increased competition and decreasing prices, sugar cane production went into decline. Anguilla, in the second part of the 19th and the first part of the 20th century, was little developed economically. In the second part of the 20th century, first, tourism and, later, off shore financial services were developed as the most important sectors of the economy. The population is 90% black with minorities of whites and people of mixed descent.
Postal history Anguilla
The first post office was opened in Anguilla in 1904. Anguilla, at the time, used the stamps of Saint Kitts & Nevis concurrent with the stamps of the Leeward Islands. Anguilla has issued stamps from 1967. The first issue is an overprint on stamps of Saint Kitts, Nevis & Anguilla – the overprint reading ‘Independent Anguilla’. The first stamps inscribed ‘Anguilla’ were issued later in 1967. During the period of de facto independence, mail was routed through the United States Virgin Islands. Large sets reflecting the political developments were issued in 1969 and 1980. In 1969, a second set of overprints appeared, just prior to the British intervention when the negotiations about the future status of Anguilla escalated. This time on previous issues of Anguilla with an overprint reading ‘Independence, January 1969’. In 1980, a set was issued to commemorate the de jure separation from Saint Kitts & Nevis – again an overprint on previous issues of Anguilla, the overprint now reading ‘Separation’. Anguilla has, until today, issued a blend of stamps with designs of national interest and designs aimed at the thematic collectors market.