island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627.
Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until
1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent
on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th
century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in
the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966.
In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in
economic importance. English
is the primary language.