Much has been written about the word Wadadli and its relation to the island of Antigua. Despite the many claims and assertions of its meaning and origin, the history and true meaning of Wadadli has never been told until the publication of this site.
The meaning Of the Word "WADADLI" is not ANTIGUA as some may claim. Most people who use the word are not aware of its origin or true meaning. WADADLI is often conflicted with a similar word WA-LAD-LI, which is really a name for the island pre-history. Other names like QUALADLI and QUAHOMONI also made reference to both islands by different ethnic groups of Amerindians who first inhabited the Caribbean islands. For a better perspective of the islands pre-history see graphic illustration of The Leeward Islands pre-history.
Given the close similarity of the words WA-DAD-LI and WA-LAD-LI, It's apparent that one is being inadvertently misrepresented. According to historical records WA-LAD-LI is the original name of the island before Christopher Columbus sailed by and called it Antigua. The island retained the name during and after European colonization of the Caribbean.
The origin and history of Wadadli is inextricably linked to the emergence of the local Rastafarian community in Antigua. One of the more noticeable and popular trends amongst the first groups of Rastafarians in Antigua, was the adoption of biblical and African names to identify themselves.
"Names" was just the first of many actions taken in the effort to recognize and uphold certain religious and cultural aspects of their afro-Amerindian heritage. Gradually a unique dialect of original words and phases used amongst the brotherhood was evolving into a new lexicon of Rasta language.
Another radical move was to reject the established colonial influence and recorded account of Caribbean history which was considered to be misleading and inaccurate. In addition to the deep religious convictions, belief and practices, finding the truth about events pre-history was a very important part of the Rastafarians quest for enlightenment. They never accepted the story of Christopher Columbus discovering Antigua as true.
It was from the search for truth and constant practice on the refinement of words, definitions and interpretation, that the word WADADLI emerged. Apparently, before an official meaning and definition of the word was ever established, the casual use of Wadadli begun to propagate inadvertently on the assumption that it actually meant Antigua.
As a result, WA-DAD-LI indirectly became the first Rastafari initiative to actually achieve social acceptance and cultural recognition in Antigua. Not only did the word Wadadli gain wide acceptance on the assumption that it meant Antigua, it was also recognized and sanctioned by Antiguan/Caribbean historians and authors as historical facts.
The awareness of the word WALADLI and it's relation to Antigua was not common knowledge or of particular importance to the average Antiguan in the early sixties. However, amongst the historical society, scholars and intellectual elite of Antigua and the Caribbean, WA-LAD-LI was already known to be the original name of Antigua pre-history.
Regional Historians and authors like Tim Hector, Desmond Nicholson and Lennox Honeychurch, were all cognizant of Waladli existence long before the emergence of Rastafari in Antigua. What is unknown to many, including the aforementioned authors, is the real meaning of Wadadli and who originally coined the phase.