Anguilla (/æ?w?l?/ ang-GWIL-?) is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin. The territory consists of the main island of Anguilla itself, approximately 16 miles (26 km) long by 3 miles (5 km) wide at its widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and cays with no permanent population. The island's capital is The Valley. The total land area of the territory is 35 square miles (90 km2), with a population of approximately 13,500 (2006 estimate).
Anguilla, east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. Anguilla is approximately 26 km (16 mi) long by 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its widest point. The island is just a twenty minute ferry ride from our neighbor St.Martin, and an hour flight from Puerto Rico. The name Anguilla comes from the word for "eel" in any of various Romance languages (Spanish: anguila; French: anguille), probably due to the island's eel-like shape. Anguilla's airport, Wallblake Airport, has daily flights with American Eagle, Winair and Liat. The island has a population of 13 thousand people who speak English fluentely, since Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory. If you are in St. Martin, you can travel to Anguilla via ferry, and you can also travel to St. Martin from Anguilla via ferry, so Anguilla is a good starting point for tourists interested in the region. The ferry service starts at 7:00 AM every day, runs every half hour until 6:15 PM. The price is only $15 per person, and children younger than 8 pay only $8.
Today, Anguilla is a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom, with a Chief Minister being the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. The United Nations Committee on Decolonization has included Anguilla in its list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, the island being a dependency of the United Kingdom. The first inhabitants of Anguilla were members of Amerindian tribes who migrated from South America around 1300 BC. The island's cultural history begins with the Taino Indians. The exact date in which Europeans discovered Anguilla is not known, but sources believe Columbus sighted the island around 1493 whereas others believe it was the French who discovered the island between 1564 and 1565. Around 1650, the island was colonised by English settlers who arrived from Saint Kitts. Even though the French colonized Anguilla around 1666, the Treaty of Breda gave control of the island back to the English. It is well known that many other Europeans settled in the island, some of which brought African slaves with them.
Why visit Anguilla? Because Anguilla has over thirty white beaches, resorts, villas, and great restaurants, and if you are an adventurer you'll love it all. Anguilla is a flat, low-lying island of coral and limestone in the Caribbean Sea with awe-inspiring coral reefs and beaches, clear waters, and chic hotels. Anguilla is surrounded by smaller and sometimes unhabited islands, like Dog Island, Prickly Pear Cays, Sandy Island, Seal Island, Scrub Island, just to name a few. Anguilla's economy is expanding rapidly, specially the tourism sector, and this boom, which began gently around 2005, will accelerate for years partly due to partnerships with multi-national companies. An island with European and African influences, Anguilla has dozens of festivals and celebrations. You can travel Anguilla by scooter, taxi, and even a rental car.