Exploring the Rich Heritage and Vibrant Culture of Anguilla: A Journey through its Fascinating History

Exploring the Rich Heritage and Vibrant Culture of Anguilla: A Journey through its Fascinating History

· 4 minute read

When you think of Anguilla, no doubt you are picturing stunning beaches, crystal blue waters, and the very best of Caribbean living; and you wouldn't be wrong. 

However, Anguilla is more than just an idyllic Caribbean island, and in fact has a rich culture and complex history. 

With a varied and diverse blend of African, British, Caribbean, and Indigenous influences, it's more than just a luxurious getaway destination and is home to AZUR SEZ, Anguilla's only special economic zone destination.

Let's take a look at some key aspects of Anguillian culture and learn about the island's interesting history.

Anguilla's History

Anguilla has a complex history that has shaped its unique cultural identity.

Originally inhabited by the Arawak and Caric Indigenous peoples, it was called "Malliouhana", meaning "arrow-shaped sea serpent". 

British Control

In the 17th century, European powers, including the British and French, vied for control of the island due to its strategic location and valuable salt deposits, and in 1650, the British gained control of Anguilla and established a plantation economy. 

Relying heavily on enslaved labor, the island faced challenges due to economic decline and political instability.

Disputes between the British colonial authorities and planters over taxation and land ownership caused further rifts, and the island of Anguilla petitioned the British government to address these issues and be granted greater autonomy. 

The British government responded by separating Anguilla from the colony of Saint Kitts and granting it a separate administration.

A Separate British Crown Colony

Anguilla was officially declared a separate British Crown Colony on February 27, 1825, complete with its own governor and a local assembly. This declaration granted the island a greater degree of self-governance and allowed it to have more control over its own affairs, including economic and political matters.


Under British rule, Anguilla continued to develop its own political and administrative institutions through the years but faced various challenges, including economic struggles, hurricanes, and political instability. 

The Anguillian Revolution in 1967 came as a result of calls for further independence and self-governance but was not recognized on an international level, and Anguilla returned to its status as a British Overseas Territory in 1980.

Anguilla's Rich Culture 

With its diverse blend of African, Indigenous, Caribbean, and British influences, the island counts music, cuisine, arts and crafts, and festivals as key elements of its broad and colorful cultural heritage. 


If you're a music lover, Anguilla is the place to be! An integral part of Anguillian culture, the island has a vibrant music scene made up of many genres, such as soca, calypso, reggae, and traditional folk music. 

The Moonsplash Music Festival, held on the island's beaches, showcases local and international musicians.


Dancing is a popular pastime on the island, and some of the traditional dances of Anguilla include the "Quadrille", and the "Maypole Dance." 

A lively dance that originated in Europe, The Quadrille and was brought to the Caribbean during the colonial era, and is performed by couples in vibrant costumes and features intricate footwork, lively music, and synchronized movements.


Anguillian cuisine is heavily influenced by African, British, and Caribbean flavors, and seafood, especially freshly caught fish, is a staple in Anguillian dishes. 

Local seafood such as grilled lobster, crayfish, conch, and salted fish are local specialties, while rice and peas, plantains, and dumplings are also commonly eaten.


Anguilla has several amazing festivals celebrating its history, culture, and traditions. One of the most anticipated and popular events is The Anguilla Summer Festival, also known as "Carnival,", a vibrant and colorful cultural two-week celebration that takes place annually in early August. 

A fusion of African, Caribbean, and European influences, it's a time for locals to come together and celebrate their unique identity.

Arts and Crafts

Anguilla also has a thriving arts and crafts scene, with local artisans creating a wide array of traditional and contemporary works.

Basket weaving, wood carving, and pottery are some of the traditional crafts that reflect Anguillian culture. Local artists also create paintings, sculptures, and other forms of visual art that often depict the island's natural beauty and cultural heritage.


English is the official language of Anguilla and is widely spoken across the island. 

Anguilla Today

Today, Anguilla is also a hub for businesses, offering a relaxed yet work-centric environment where workers can focus, thrive and take advantage of a favorable regulatory regime. 

AZUR's Virtual City offers all the benefits of a physical SEZ, without the need to relocate, and you can manage your business from anywhere in the world. 

Ready to get on board? Contact AZUR SEZ today. 

Share this article