|Shiver me timbers, the article be a Stub, arr! Maybe ye can help expand this sorry sight|
Island Harbour is on Anguilla, the northern most island in both the Leeward Antilles and the Lesser Antilles.
The earliest inhabitants of Anguilla were Amerindian tribes from South America, commonly (if imprecisely) referred to as Arawaks, who travelled to the island on rafts and in dugout canoes, settling in fishing, hunting and farming groups. The Amerindian name for the island was "Malliouhana". The earliest Amerindian artefacts found on Anguilla have been dated to around 1300 BC, and remains of settlements dating from 600 AD. have been uncovered. Religious artefacts and remnants of ceremonies found at locations such as Big Springs and Fountain Cavern suggest that the pre-European inhabitants were extremely religious in nature. The Arawaks are popularly said to have been later displaced by fiercer Carib tribes, but this version of events is disputed by some.
The European discovery and naming of Anguilla is often credited to French explorer Pierre Laudonnaire who visited the island in 1565, though according to some it had been sighted and named by Columbus in 1493.
The Dutch claimed to have built a fort on the island in 1631, but no remains have been found and the location of the site is unknown. The first English colonists arrived from Saint Kitts in 1650, and began growing both tobacco and corn crops. The early colonisation was precarious: in 1656 Carib Indians invaded and destroyed the settlements, and in 1666 the island was captured by French forces. However, the British regained control of the island from the French in 1667 under the Treaty of Breda, and despite hardships caused by poor crop yields, drought and famine, the settlers hung on.
In 1744 Anguillans invaded the French half of the neighbouring island of St Martin, holding it until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748). During continuing struggles between the British and the French for control in the Caribbean, the French made further attempts to invade Anguilla in 1745 and 1796 but these failed.
Attempts were made to develop Anguilla into a plantation-based economy employing slaves transported from Africa, but the island's soil and climate were unfavourable and the plantations were largely unsuccessful. Slaves were permitted to leave the plantations and pursue their own interests, and, with the British abolition of slavery in the 1830s, many plantation owners returned to Europe, leaving Anguilla's community consisting largely of subsistence farmers and fishermen of African descent. At this time Anguilla's population is estimated to have fallen from a peak of around 10,000 to just 2,000.
Since the early days of colonisation, Anguilla had been administered by the British through Antigua, with Anguilla also having its own local council. In 1824 the British government placed Anguilla under the administrative control of Saint Kitts, later to become part of the colony of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla (Saint Christopher being an earlier name for Saint Kitts), itself a member of the Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands. Anguillans protested strongly at this arrangement, perceiving a lack of interest in their affairs on the part of the Saint Kitts administration, and several requests were made for the island to be ruled directly from Britain. These requests went unheeded however, and the Anguillans' discontent continued to simmer until finally brought to a head in the 1960s. After a revolution and brief independence Anguilla gained its desired status as a seperate territory from St. Kitts and St. Nevis.