The island of Anguilla may be easy to miss–it is a long, thin island only 16 miles by 3 miles wide, located in the Lesser Antilles islands directly east of Puerto Rico. Even though it is small–and part of the United Kingdom–it has its own capital and culture.
The capital of Anguilla is known as The Valley, and is located in the central part of the island on the west coast. The Valley is the capital of the territory of Anguilla, which is located in the Caribbean Sea and is a British Overseas Territory.
If you are looking to do something a little more off-the-beaten path in the Caribbean, Anguilla is a fascinating place. Technically part of Britain, the territory has an interesting history and beaches to boot. But what is the Capital of Anguilla?
Where is the Capital of Anguilla Located?
The Capital of Anguilla is called The Valley, and it is located about as close to the middle of the main Anguilla island as possible. There are other regional cays around the main island, though many of them are uninhabited. The Valley is the main town on the island. Technically The Valley is also one of the districts of Anguilla.
Anguilla is the capital of a territory that has only around 35 square miles of land area.
Brief History of The Valley
Ancient artifacts have been found on Anguilla–some dating from 1,300 B.C.E. when it was inhabited by Indigenous people originating from South America.
It isn’t known when Europeans first came to Anguilla–some believe that Columbus sailed by the island in 1493, though others believe the French were the first to sight Anguilla.
The British colonized the island in 1650. In 1825, Anguilla came under the control of the British on the nearby island of St. Kitts. Anguilla was an associated state with St. Kitts and Nevis throughout the mid-1900s, though in 1980 Anguilla formally seceded from St. Kitts and Nevis and became a British Overseas Territory, which means it is under full British Authority.
Technically, Anguilla is part of the United Kingdom, though it is a self-governing overseas territory.
When did The Valley become the Capital of Anguilla?
When Anguilla seceded from its alliance with St. Kitts and Nevis, it became a fully British territory. The constitution of present-day Anguilla, known as the Anguilla Constitutional Order was signed on April 1,1982 and amended in 1990.
Why is The Valley the capital of Anguilla?
Remember, Anguilla is a very small island surrounded by mostly uninhabited smaller islands. The Valley was the logical place to put the capital, since it is the island’s largest city. The island of Anguilla has only around 15,000 residents.
In 1825, Anguilla formed a federation with St. Kitts and Nevis and the capital was moved to St. Kitts. However, when Anguilla seceded from this federation and became under full British control again, it maintained its own capital.
Best Places to visit in The Valley
The Valley is a smallish town, but it is full of history and beauty. You may want to just relax and enjoy the laid-back vibes of being in a small Caribbean town where everyone knows everyone.
Since the capital was moved to St. Kitts in 1825, much of the colonial architecture was not maintained, though there are some examples of old buildings, both restored and in ruins.
If you are planning a vacation, you are in luck. Due to tradewinds the island is typically cool and dry.
This 1787 plantation house has been fully restored. It is the oldest plantation house on the island, and the best maintained. In fact, the site contains more than just the house, but the surrounding buildings as well. It is an important part of the history and culture of Anguilla.
You can’t really head to the Caribbean without spending a little time at the beach. Crocus Bar beach will not disappoint. The turquoise water is calm, so you can kayak into the bay or bring your little ones to swim.
Generally the beach is not too busy, though sometimes tour boats bring groups to swim. Even then, the beach is a relaxing retreat.
There is also a small restaurant if you want to get a bite to eat.
You can also check out nearby Little Bay Beach or Shoal Beach.
The Old Court House on Crocus Hill
Not far from Wallblake house, you will find some of the most amazing beach views from the Old Court House up Crocus Hill. The CourtHouse is in ruins now, though if combining history with sweeping beach panoramas is your thing, you should check out Crocus Hill.
You can also spot the ruins of the old prison, an eerie reminder of the history of the place. The ruins are not maintained and have fallen into disrepair, so make sure you take good care when visiting. That said, you can still imagine what life must have been like.
If you are thinking about shopping or looking at art, check out the Cheddie Richardson Carving Studio. This studio specializes in artwork done by local Anguilla artists, including Cheddie Richardson who carves in driftwood. You can also pick up some more basic souvenirs.
Another option is the Stone Cellar Art Gallery, which is actually located in a stone cellar. Here you can find two rooms of home decor and other art. Buyers love how the works capture the island life and always provide something unique.
You may have so many questions about The Valley in Anguilla. It’s a little confusing that Anguilla is a territory of Britain but still has a capital. What country is Anguilla owned by? Britain (though it’s a territory). What country is Anguilla in? Technically the United Kingdom, since it is a self-governing overseas territory.
Though it is also part of the Lesser Antilles islands, to make it even more confusing. What language does Anguilla speak? Yes, English! If you are curious, you will just have to go check it out for yourself. (And enjoy the beautiful beaches as well).