Barbuda is a small island located in the eastern Caribbean forming part of the sovereign Commonwealth nation of Antigua and Barbuda. It is located north of the Antigua Island and is part of the Leeward Islands of the West Indies. Antigua and Barbuda gained full independence on 1 November 1981 as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations. The island is a popular tourist destination because of its moderate climate and coastline. Historically, most of Barbuda's 1,638 residents have lived in the town of Codrington. However, in September 2017, Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 95% of the island's buildings and infrastructure and as a result, all the island's inhabitants were evacuated to Antigua, leaving Barbuda empty for the first time in modern history.