Inhabited by Caribs and Arawaks, Barbuda was visited by Columbus (1493); Spain and France established settlements before it was colonized by England from Antigua in 1678. The Codrington family held rights to the island from 1685 to the late 19th cent., when it reverted to the British crown, eventually becoming a dependency of Antigua. Under a 19th cent. practice legally codified in 2007, all land on Barbuda has been owned communally. The island suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Luis in 1995, and was devastated by Irma and temporarily evacuated in 2017; most Barbudans are still in shelters on Antigua. A law revoking communal land ownership was enacted in 2018, ostensibly to protect development and help restore the island, but many Barbudans regarded it as a land grab and challenged its legality.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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