During Thanksgiving break in November, my family and I went to Antigua which provided a unique opportunity to visit Its historical sites and determine how they relate to my history class.  To be able to see how the history we studied in the classroom relates to my real-world experiences was very exciting. This research project will document my trip, using photographs, facts, and detail from the historical sites that I visited in Antigua.The European colonization of the Caribbean in the 1600s is very interesting to me personally, because I have spent so much time in the Caribbean and my dad is English.

The English colonized Bermuda, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and several other islands known as the British West Indies. Antigua has three hundred historical sites to visit and there are more in Barbuda, Antiguas sister island. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit Barbuda because it was decimated by Hurricane Irma. Miraculously Irma did not affect Antigua.

On the island of Antigua, there are many historical forts and military sites. One of the most famous historical sites in Antigua is Nelson’s Dockyard.  In 1671 the governor of the Leeward Islands wrote to the council of foreign plantations in London detailing the unique geographical advantages of Antigua’s harbor.

By 1704 the English Harbor was regularly used as a home for troops. In 1784, Horatio Nelson aged 26 at the time arrived on the ship known as HMS Boreas to serve as captain of the Leeward Island Station.  After the Royal Navy departed from the fort at the English Harbour in 1889, it became inhabited by locals and became dilapidated over time. In 1951 it was restored by The Society of the Friends of English Harbour and was named Nelson’s Dockyard on November 14, 1961.  We visited shops selling local arts and craft, restaurants, 18th-century hotels and great examples of Georgian architecture.

We also visited St. John’s Cathedral a great European historical colonial piece of architecture which was built in 1683. St. John’s was rebuilt three times in the 19th century due to earthquake damage. It was damaged yet again after the Earthquake of 1974, The various renovations to fix the damage made it an interesting site to see.Shirley Heights at the most southerly tip of Antigua is 500 feet above sea level and provides an amazing view of the English Harbour, also known as Nelson’s Dockyard. Shirley Heights is a military ground that has a guard house, sleeping quarters, parade grounds, a small hospital and a cemetery.

 There is a cool obelisk in the cemetery which lists men who died fighting for the West Indies between 1840 and 1851.Fort Berkeley was the harbor’s main protection from the navy of enemies. It was built in 1704 and had twenty-five canons that could fire a distance of one mile.

Fort Berkeley was a great defense to protect the island against incoming enemy ships. Its high point is 550 ft above sea level and also provides a great view of English and Falmouth Harbours, the best view in Antigua.  It was a great to be on vacation with my family and visit these historic sites which connected directly the subjects we cover in the classroom. I have been to Europe and seen similar architecture and military forts from the same era, but this was very different because these were on a beautiful Caribbean island, which tropical plants and the beach as the background.  

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