Lake Zurich, Illinois, executive Ben Ripstein guides the reconditioned luxury auto company Midwest Motors, Inc. Passionate about travel, Ben Ripstein enjoys vacations in Caribbean destinations such as Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Antigua.
Only 11 miles wide and 14 miles in length, Antigua became a British colony in the 17th century and was notable for its sugar production, based on a slave economy. From the late 18th century forward, Antigua was an important British naval base, once headed by Admiral Horatio Nelson, which benefitted from the natural protection of an encircling coral reef.
When Great Britain abolished slavery in 1834, Antigua was the first British colony in the Caribbean to achieve full emancipation of its inhabitants. The island became a Commonwealth state in the late 1960s and gained independence in 1981. Today, with the island offering abundant white sand beaches, tourism is the backbone of Antigua’s economy. In addition, scuba divers are able to explore shipwrecks and intact coral reefs, with much of Cades Reef situated within a well-protected underwater park.