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Image Caption: STS064-76-BB Antigua, Leeward Islands September 1994
Antigua, a low-lying, semiarid, limestone island of the Lesser Antilles, is part of a two-island independent state, Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua has severely eroded volcanic remnants along its forested southwestern quadrant, which has a maximum elevation of only 1319 feet (402 meters) above sea level. Although Antigua receives approximately 40 inches (100 centimeters) of precipitation annually, wide fluctuations in rainfall amounts occasionally create serious water shortages, especially for the agricultural industry. Some of the larger hotels transport water by barge from nearby islands when water supplies become critically low. At one time Antigua's economy was based largely on the sugarcane industry, but light manufacturing and tourism are now the leading contributors to the island's economy. St. John's, the country's capital, is located along the northwest coast, adjacent to one of the island's many natural harbors. More than half of the country's population of almost 80 000 live in the St. John's area. The island is approximately 16 miles (25 kilometers) east-west and 12 miles (19 kilometers) north-south.