The World Heritage Inscription reads

The Antigua Naval Dockyard and its Related Archaeological Sites consist of a group of Georgian Naval structures set within a walled enclosure on a naturally occurring series of deep, narrow bays surrounded by highlands on which defensive fortifications were constructed. The Dockyard and its related facilities were built at a time when European nations were battling for supremacy of the seas to obtain control over the lucrative sugar-producing islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Antigua’s location as a front-line naval dockyard facility gave the British navy a strategic advantage over its rivals at a crucial point in history.

“The construction and operation of the Antigua Naval Dockyard were made possible through the labour and skills of enslaved Africans, whose contribution was crucial for the establishment of the facility and, more widely, for the development of the British Empire, trade, and industrialization.”

In order to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site, each application must address why the site is unique. The World Heritage Committee established nine criteria for inscription, ranging from cultural to natural. The Antigua Naval Dockyard and Related Archaeological Sites is inscribed under Criterion (ii) and Criterion (iv).

Criterion (ii): to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments of architecture or technology, monumental arts, town planning, or landscape design.

The Antigua Naval Dockyard and its Related Archaeological Sites exhibit an important exchange of human values over a span of time within the Caribbean and between this region and the rest of the Commonwealth, based on developments in architecture, technology, and the exploitation of natural topographical features for strategic military purposes. The enslaved Africans toiling in the service of the British navy and army built and worked the facilities that were critical to the development of the British Empire, trade, and industrialization. The Georgian Period buildings, archaeological structures, and remains stand as testimony to their efforts and continue to influence the architectural, social, and economic development of their descendants.

The Antigua Naval Dockyard exceptionally shows how British Admiralty building prototypes were adapted to cope with extremes of climate, and the lessons learned in the Caribbean in erecting such buildings were subsequently successfully applied in other colonies. Among the most prominent witnesses of this interchange, Clarence House demonstrates how English Georgian architecture was modified to suit the hot tropical climate and to counter the threat of disease, as well as the emergence of distinctly colonial Caribbean Georgian architecture; and the Officers’ Quarters and the Senior Officer’s House demonstrate how building forms were adapted, by the addition of features such as storm shutters and verandas, to suit the climate of the Caribbean. Few other sites demonstrate this transition from British prototypes to the use of colonial building forms as clearly as the Antigua Naval Dockyard.

Criterion (iv): to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape that illustrates a significant stage in human history.

The ensemble of the Antigua Naval Dockyard and its Related Archaeological Sites were laid down and built exploiting the natural attributes of the area (the deep waters of English Harbour, the series of hills protecting the bay, the jagged contours of the coastline, and the narrow entrance) in a period when European powers were at war to expand their spheres of influence in the Caribbean. Altogether, the property represents an outstanding example of a Georgian naval facility in the Caribbean context.

The Antigua Naval Dockyard and its Related Archaeological Sites demonstrate the process of colonization and the global spread of ideas, building forms, and technologies by a leading naval power in the 18th century, as well as the exploitation of favourable geo-morphological features for the construction and defence of a strategic compound.

The World Heritage Inscription is not a one-time award but a recognition of the long-term successful management of a heritage site. To ensure that our inscription is protected, the National Parks Department engages in research, establishing better interpretation and knowledge about the rules and regulations of the park, and undertaking data-informed decisions regarding stabilization and visitor management.


English Harbour, Antigua


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08:00 AM – 05:00 PM