Historians believe that the earliest people who settled on the island of Panay were tribal Negritos or Atis. Oral history, relayed as the "Maragtas", states that ten "datus" or minor tribal chieftains from Malay escaped persecution from a city called Odtohan from Borneo due to a tyrant ruler called Makatunaw. The ten datus, led by Datu Puti, sailed northward with their families and communities, landing on Panay after departing Borneo. There are claims that the narrative of the Maragtas is dated to 1212 to fit with the transition of the Sri Vijayan Empire to Majapahit but there are no written evidence about this, nor there are any existing claims that links the datus to Borneo. Nevertheless, the Maragtas narrative is to be considered as part of the local history of the people.
Upon arrival, the Malay datus met the Ati chieftain Datu Marikudo and his wife Maniwantiwan. They offered the chieftain a salakot (wide-brimmed hat) (out of exaggeration, the present day locals believed to be of pure gold) which includes a golden necklace, earrings, bracelets and trinkets they wore when they fled Borneo among other gifts of pearls and fine clothes as a display of respect and to buy the land for them to live. Datu Marikudo responded to the datus' generosity by giving the Malayans the lowlands and moving to the mountains with his Ati tribe as the mountains are sacred to them. The legacy of this landing is commemorated annually in Antique during the Binirayan festival.
The island of Panay was then divided into three sakups: Hantik, Aklan and Irong-Irong. Aklan became the present-day Aklan andCapiz, Irong-Irong became Iloilo, and Hantik (also called Hamtik or Hamtic) became Antique. Hantik was named for the large black ants found on the island called "hantik-hantik".
The sakup of Hantik was given to Datu Sumakwel, one of the ten datus, and who, according to tradition, was a sword master and wisest of them. The three sakups were later governed as a political unit called the Confederation of Madyaas, also under Datu Sumakwel. Datu Sumakwel founded the town of Malandog, considered to be the first Malay settlement in the country. Malandog is now a barangay in the present-day municipality of Hamtic, which was named after the historic sakup.
During the Spanish colonial period, the coastal province was vulnerable to attacks by Moro raiders. Under the direction of the Spanish friars, a series of watchtowers, like the 'Old Watchtower' in Libertad and Estaca Hill in Bugasong, were built to guard Antique.
In 1942, the Imperial Japanese Army landed in Antique and occupied the province during the Second World War.
During the Japanese Insurgencies and Occupation (1942-1944), the military general headquarters and camp bases of the 6th and 62nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was active from 1942 to 1946 and the military general headquarters and camp bases of the 6th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was re-activated between 1944 and 1946. Additionally, during the implementation of the anti-imperial Japanese military operations on Panay Island between 1942 and 1945 in the Antique province, Filipino military forces aided the local guerrilla resistance against the Imperial Japanese Army.
Between 1944 and 1945, Philippine Commonwealth forces of the 6th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary and the 6th and 62nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army defeated the Japanese troops and liberated the province. The liberation was achieved with the active support of recognized local guerrillas.
Antique is one of the six provinces comprising Western Visayas or Region VI, and one of the four provinces in the island of Panay.
The province is an elongated stretch of land occupying the entire western side of the island. It is bounded by the rugged central mountains of Panay, bordering on the provinces of Aklan in the northeast, Capiz on the east, Iloilo in the southeast and the Sulu Sea on the west. Its western-most and northernmost point is Semirara Island at12°07′10″N 121°21′10″E, while its eastern tip is approximately 11°01′N 122°19.5′E. Anini-y is the province's most southerly point at 10°24′24″N 121°57′38″E. Resembling a seahorse in shape, it is 155 kilometres (96 mi) long and 35 kilometres (22 mi) at its widest point.
Antique has rugged and varied land. Nogas Island, Hurao-Hurao Island and Mararison Island have long stretches of white sand beaches that are ideal for shell-hunting. Batbatan Island on the other hand, appeals to scuba divers because of the well-preserved coral reefs. Mount Madia-as (or Madjaas), on the border with Aklan, is the highest peak onPanay. This 2,113 metres (6,932 ft) high mountain is a dormant volcano with lakes and 14 waterfalls. It is said to be the legendary home of Bulalakaw, the supreme god of the ancients, and beckons as a challenge for hikers and trekkers.