Barbados
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Barbados is an
island country An island country, island state or an island nation is a country whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. Approximately 25% of all independent countries are island countries. Island countries are historically ...
in the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic is ...
of the
West Indies The West Indies is a Subregion#North America, subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea that includes 13 independent island country, island countries and 18 dependent territory, ...
, in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean ...
region of the
Americas The Americas, which are sometimes collectively called America, are a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. ...
, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It occupies an area of and has a population of about 287,000 (2019 estimate). Its capital and largest city is
Bridgetown Bridgetown (UN/LOCODE: BB BGI) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Barbados. Formerly The Town of Saint Michael, the Greater Bridgetown area is located within the Parishes of Barbados, parish of Saint Michael, Barbados, Saint Mic ...
. Inhabited by
Kalinago The Kalinago, also known as the Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, indigenous people of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. They may have been related to the Mainland Caribs (Kalina) of South America, ...
people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other
Amerindian The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonization of the Americas, European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peopl ...
s, Spanish navigators took possession of Barbados in the late 15th century, claiming it for the
Crown of Castile The Crown of Castile was a medieval polity in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Kingdom of Castile, Castile and King ...
. It first appeared on a Spanish map in 1511. The
Portuguese Empire The Portuguese Empire ( pt, Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (''Ultramar Português'') or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (''Império Colonial Português''), was composed of the overseas Colonialism, colonies, Factory ...
claimed the island between 1532 and 1536, but abandoned it in 1620 with their only remnants being an introduction of wild boars for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. An English ship, the ''Olive Blossom'', arrived in Barbados on 14 May 1625; its men took possession of the island in the name of
King James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and Eng ...
. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and Barbados became an English and later
British colony The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom. They are the last remna ...
. During this period, the colony operated on a
plantation economy A plantation economy is an economy based on agricultural mass production, usually of a few commodity crops, grown on large farms worked by laborers or slaves. The properties are called plantations. Plantation economies rely on the export of ...
, relying on the labour of
African slaves Slavery has historically been widespread in Africa. Systems of servitude and slavery were common in parts of Africa in ancient times, as they were in much of the rest of the Ancient history, ancient world. When the trans-Saharan slave trade ...
who worked on the island's plantations. The slave trade to the island continued until it was outlawed throughout the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
by the
Slave Trade Act 1807 The Slave Trade Act 1807, officially An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom prohibiting the Atlantic slave trade, slave trade in the British Empire. Although it did ...
, with final emancipation of slaves in Barbados occurring over a period of five years following the
Slavery Abolition Act 1833 The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV c. 73) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which provided for the gradual abolition of slavery in most parts of the British Empire. It was passed by Earl Grey's reforming administ ...
. On 30 November 1966, Barbados became an independent state and
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in the Commonwealth of Nations whose monarch and head of state is shared among the other realms. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms and nations of the Commonwealt ...
with
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until Death and state funeral of Elizabeth II, her death in 2022. She was queen ...
as
Queen of Barbados The monarchy of Barbados was a system of government in which a hereditary monarch was the sovereign and head of state of Barbados from 1966 to 2021. Barbados shared the Sovereign with the other Commonwealth realms, with the country's monarchy be ...
. On 30 November 2021, Barbados transitioned to a republic within the Commonwealth. Barbados's population is predominantly of African ancestry. While it is technically an Atlantic island, Barbados is closely associated with the Caribbean and is ranked as one of its leading tourist destinations.


Etymology

The name "Barbados" is from either the Portuguese term or the Spanish equivalent, , both meaning "the bearded ones". It is unclear whether "bearded" refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree ('' Ficus citrifolia''), a species of
banyan A banyan, also spelled "banian", is a fig that develops accessory trunks from adventitious prop roots, allowing the tree to spread outwards indefinitely. This distinguishes banyans from other trees with a strangler habit that begin life as ...
indigenous to the island, or to the allegedly bearded Caribs who once inhabited the island, or, more fancifully, to a visual impression of a beard formed by the sea foam that sprays over the outlying coral reefs. In 1519, a map produced by the Genoese mapmaker Visconte Maggiolo showed and named Barbados in its correct position. Furthermore, the island of
Barbuda Barbuda (), is an island located in the eastern Caribbean forming part of the sovereign state of Antigua and Barbuda. It is located north of the island of Antigua and is part of the Leeward Islands of the West Indies. The island is a popular ...
in the Leewards is very similar in name and was once named "" by the Spanish. The original name for Barbados in the
Pre-Columbian era In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through European colonization, which began with Christopher Columbus's voyage of 1492. Usually ...
was , according to accounts by descendants of the indigenous
Arawakan Arawakan (''Arahuacan, Maipuran Arawakan, "mainstream" Arawakan, Arawakan proper''), also known as Maipurean (also ''Maipuran, Maipureano, Maipúre''), is a language family A language family is a group of languages related through Genetic r ...
-speaking tribes in other regional areas, with possible translations including "Red land with white teeth" or "Redstone island with teeth outside (reefs)" or simply "Teeth". Colloquially, Barbadians refer to their home island as "Bim" or other nicknames associated with Barbados, including "Bimshire". The origin is uncertain, but several theories exist. The National Cultural Foundation of Barbados says that "Bim" was a word commonly used by
slave Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
s, and that it derives from the Igbo term from meaning "my home, kindred, kind"; the Igbo phoneme in the Igbo orthography is very close to . The name could have arisen due to the relatively large percentage of Igbo slaves from modern-day southeastern
Nigeria Nigeria ( ), , ig, Naìjíríyà, yo, Nàìjíríà, pcm, Naijá , ff, Naajeeriya, kcg, Naijeriya officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of G ...
arriving in Barbados in the 18th century. The words "Bim" and "Bimshire" are recorded in the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the first and foundational historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a com ...
'' and '' Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionaries''. Another possible source for "Bim" is reported to be in the ''Agricultural Reporter'' of 25 April 1868, where the Rev. N. Greenidge (father of one of the island's most famous scholars, Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge) suggested that Bimshire was "introduced by an old planter listing it as a county of England". Expressly named were "Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire and Bimshire". Lastly, in the ''Daily Argosy'' (of Demerara, i.e. Guyana) of 1652, there is a reference to Bim as a possible corruption of "Byam", the name of a Royalist leader against the Parliamentarians. That source suggested the followers of Byam became known as "Bims" and that this became a word for all Barbadians.


History


Geological history

In the periodical intervals from 500,000 to 120,000 years ago, the island of which exists modern-day Barbados emerged from oceanic sediments when regular tectonic uplifts pushed out
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology), polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, wh ...
s of the surface water. Currently, dozens of inland sea reefs still dominate coastal features within terraces and cliffs of the island.


Pre-colonial period

Archeological evidence suggests humans may have first settled or visited the island circa 1600 BC. More permanent
Amerindian The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonization of the Americas, European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peopl ...
settlement of Barbados dates to about the 4th to 7th centuries AD, by a group known as the
Saladoid The Saladoid culture is a pre-Columbian indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous culture of territory in present-day Venezuela and the Caribbean that flourished from 500 BCE to 545 CE. The Saladoid were an Arawak people. Concentrated along th ...
-Barrancoid. Settlements of
Arawaks The Arawak are a group of indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous peoples of northern South America and of the Caribbean. Specifically, the term "Arawak" has been applied at various times to the Lokono of South America and the Taíno, wh ...
from South America appeared by around 800 AD and again in the 12th-13th century. The
Kalinago The Kalinago, also known as the Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, indigenous people of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. They may have been related to the Mainland Caribs (Kalina) of South America, ...
(called " Caribs" by the Spanish) visited the island regularly, although there is no evidence of permanent settlement.


European arrival

It is uncertain which European nation arrived first in Barbados, which probably would have been at some point in the 15th century or 16th century. One lesser-known source points to earlier revealed works antedating contemporary sources, indicating it could have been the Spanish. Many, if not most, believe the Portuguese, en route to Brazil, were the first Europeans to come upon the island. The island was largely ignored by Europeans, though Spanish slave raiding is thought to have reduced the native population, with many fleeing to other islands.


English settlement in the 17th century

The first English ship, which had arrived on 14 May 1625, was captained by John Powell. The first settlement began on 17 February 1627, near what is now
Holetown Holetown (UN/LOCODE: BB HLT), is a small city located in the Caribbean island nation of Barbados. Holetown is located in the parish of Saint James, Barbados, Saint James on the sheltered west coast of the island. History In 1625, Holetown (for ...
(formerly Jamestown, after King James I of England), by a group led by John Powell's younger brother, Henry, consisting of 80 settlers and 10 English indentured labourers. Some sources state that some Africans were amongst these first settlers. The settlement was established as a
proprietary colony A proprietary colony was a type of English colony mostly in North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to ...
and funded by Sir
William Courten Sir William Courten or Curteen (1572–1636) was a wealthy 17th century merchant, operating from London. He financed the colonisation of Barbados, but lost his investment and interest in the islands to the Earl of Carlisle. Birth and upbringi ...
, a
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
merchant who acquired the title to Barbados and several other islands. The first colonists were actually tenants, and much of the profits of their labour returned to Courten and his company. Courten's title was later transferred to
James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle Order of the Bath, KB (c. 1580March 1636) was a British British nobility, noble. Life A Scot, he was the son of Sir James Hay of Fingask, second son of Peter Hay of Megginch Castle, Megginch (a branch member of Ha ...
, in what was called the "Great Barbados Robbery". Carlisle then chose as governor Henry Powell, who established the
House of Assembly House of Assembly is a name given to the legislature or lower house of a bicameralism, bicameral parliament. In some countries this may be at a administrative division, subnational level. Historically, in Kingdom of Great Britain, British Crown ...
in 1639, in an effort to appease the planters, who might otherwise have opposed his controversial appointment. In the period 1640–1660, the West Indies attracted over two-thirds of the total number of English emigrants to the Americas. By 1650, there were 44,000 settlers in the West Indies, as compared to 12,000 on the Chesapeake and 23,000 in
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing systems, məhswatʃəwiːsət ...
. Most English arrivals were indentured. After five years of labour, they were given "freedom dues" of about £10, usually in goods. Before the mid-1630s, they also received of land, but after that time the island filled and there was no more free land. During the Cromwellian era (1650s) this included a large number of prisoners-of-war, vagrants and people who were illicitly kidnapped, who were forcibly transported to the island and sold as servants. These last two groups were predominantly Irish, as several thousand were infamously rounded up by English merchants and sold into servitude in Barbados and other Caribbean islands during this period, a practice that came to be known as being ''Barbadosed''. Cultivation of
tobacco Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus ''Nicotiana'' of the Family (biology), family Solanaceae, and the general term for any product prepared from the curing of tobacco, cured leaves of these plants. Nicotiana#Species, M ...
, cotton,
ginger Ginger (''Zingiber officinale'') is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or ginger, is widely used as a spice and a folk medicine. It is a herbaceous perennial which grows annual pseudostems (false stems made of the rolled bases ...
and
indigo Indigo is a deep color close to the Shades of blue#Blue (RGB) (X11 blue), color wheel blue (a primary color in the RGB color space), as well as to some variants of ultramarine, based on the indigo dye, ancient dye of the same name. The word " ...
was thus handled primarily by European indentured labour until the start of the
sugar cane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, Perennial plant, perennial grass (in the genus ''Saccharum'', tribe Andropogoneae) that is used for sugar Sugar industry, production. The plants are 2–6 m (6–20 ft) tall with ...
industry in the 1640s and the growing reliance on and importation of African slaves. Parish registers from the 1650s show that, for the white population, there were four times as many deaths as marriages. The mainstay of the infant colony's economy was the growth export of tobacco, but tobacco prices eventually fell in the 1630s as Chesapeake production expanded.


Effects of the English Civil War

Around the same time, fighting during the
War of the Three Kingdoms The Wars of the Three Kingdoms were a series of related conflicts fought between 1639 and 1653 in the kingdoms of Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland, then separate entities united in a pers ...
and the
Interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin '' ...
spilled over into Barbados and Barbadian territorial waters. The island was not involved in the war until after the execution of
Charles I Charles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of Holy Roman Emperors and French kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of ...
, when the island's government fell under the control of Royalists (ironically the Governor, Philip Bell, remaining loyal to
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
while the Barbadian
House of Assembly House of Assembly is a name given to the legislature or lower house of a bicameralism, bicameral parliament. In some countries this may be at a administrative division, subnational level. Historically, in Kingdom of Great Britain, British Crown ...
, under the influence of Humphrey Walrond, supported Charles II). To try to bring the recalcitrant colony to heel, the Commonwealth Parliament passed an act on 3 October 1650 prohibiting trade between England and Barbados, and because the island also traded with the Netherlands, further
Navigation Acts The Navigation Acts, or more broadly the Acts of Trade and Navigation, were a long series of English laws that developed, promoted, and regulated English ships, shipping, trade, and commerce between other countries and with its own colonies. The ...
were passed, prohibiting any but English vessels trading with Dutch colonies. These acts were a precursor to the
First Anglo-Dutch War The First Anglo-Dutch War, or simply the First Dutch War, ( nl, Eerste Engelse (zee-)oorlog, "First English (Sea) War"; 1652–1654) was a conflict fought entirely at sea between the navies of the Commonwealth of England and the Dutch Republic, ...
. The
Commonwealth of England The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales, later along with Ireland and Scotland, were governed as a republic after the end of the Second English Civil War and the High Court of Ju ...
sent an invasion force under the command of Sir George Ayscue, which arrived in October 1651. Ayscue, with a smaller force that included Scottish prisoners, surprised a larger force of Royalists, but had to resort to spying and diplomacy ultimately. On 11 January 1652, the Royalists in the House of Assembly led by Lord Willoughby surrendered, which marked the end of royalist privateering as a major threat. The conditions of the surrender were incorporated into the Charter of Barbados ( Treaty of Oistins), which was signed at the Mermaid's Inn,
Oistins Oistins (Pronounced /'ȯis-tins/ -- UN/LOCODE: BB OST), is a coastal area located in the country of Barbados. It is situated centrally along the coastline of the parish of Christ Church, Barbados, Christ Church. The area includes a fishing village ...
, on 17 January 1652.


Irish people in Barbados

Starting with Cromwell, a large percentage of the white labourer population were indentured servants and involuntarily transported people from Ireland. Irish servants in Barbados were often treated poorly, and Barbadian planters gained a reputation for cruelty. The decreased appeal of an indenture on Barbados, combined with enormous demand for labour caused by sugar cultivation, led to the use of involuntary transportation to Barbados as a punishment for crimes, or for political prisoners, and also to the kidnapping of labourers who were sent to Barbados involuntarily. Irish indentured servants were a significant portion of the population throughout the period when white servants were used for plantation labour in Barbados, and while a "steady stream" of Irish servants entered the Barbados throughout the seventeenth century, Cromwellian efforts to pacify Ireland created a "veritable tidal wave" of Irish labourers who were sent to Barbados during the 1650s. Due to inadequate historical records, the total number of Irish labourers sent to Barbados is unknown, and estimates have been "highly contentious". While one historical source estimated that as many as 50,000 Irish people were transported to either Barbados or Virginia unwillingly during the 1650s, this estimate is "quite likely exaggerated". Another estimate that 12,000 Irish prisoners had arrived in Barbados by 1655 has been described as "probably exaggerated" by historian Richard B. Sheridan. According to historian Thomas Bartlett, it is "generally accepted" that approximately 10,000 Irish were sent to the West Indies involuntarily, and approximately 40,000 came as voluntary indentured servants, while many also travelled as voluntary, un-indentured emigrants.Bartlett, Thomas. This famous island set in a Virginian sea': Ireland in the British Empire, 1690–1801". In Marshall, P. J.; Low, Alaine; and Louis, William Roger (1998). P. J. Marshall and Alaine Low (eds.). ''The Oxford History of the British Empire''. Volume II: The Eighteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


The sugar revolution

The introduction of
sugar cane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, Perennial plant, perennial grass (in the genus ''Saccharum'', tribe Andropogoneae) that is used for sugar Sugar industry, production. The plants are 2–6 m (6–20 ft) tall with ...
from
Dutch Brazil Dutch Brazil ( nl, Nederlands-Brazilië), also known as New Holland ( nl, Nieuw-Holland), was a colony of the Dutch Republic in the northeastern portion of modern-day Brazil, controlled from 1630 to 1654 during Dutch colonization of the Americas ...
in 1640 completely transformed society, the economy and the physical landscape. Barbados eventually had one of the world's biggest sugar industries. One group instrumental in ensuring the early success of the industry was the
Sephardic Jews Sephardic (or Sephardi) Jews (, ; lad, Djudíos Sefardíes), also ''Sepharadim'' , Modern Hebrew: ''Sfaradim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), ...
, who had originally been expelled from the
Iberian peninsula The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a pe ...
, to end up in
Dutch Brazil Dutch Brazil ( nl, Nederlands-Brazilië), also known as New Holland ( nl, Nieuw-Holland), was a colony of the Dutch Republic in the northeastern portion of modern-day Brazil, controlled from 1630 to 1654 during Dutch colonization of the Americas ...
. As the effects of the new crop increased, so did the shift in the ethnic composition of Barbados and surrounding islands. The workable sugar plantation required a large investment and a great deal of heavy labour. At first, Dutch traders supplied the equipment, financing, and African slaves, in addition to transporting most of the sugar to Europe. In 1644 the population of Barbados was estimated at 30,000, of which about 800 were of African ancestry, with the remainder mainly of English ancestry. These English smallholders were eventually bought out and the island filled up with large sugar plantations worked by African slaves. By 1660 there was near parity with 27,000 blacks and 26,000 whites. By 1666 at least 12,000 white smallholders had been bought out, died, or left the island, many choosing to emigrate to
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies about south of Cuba, and west of Hisp ...
or the American Colonies (notably the Carolinas). As a result, Barbados enacted a slave code as a way of legislatively controlling its black slave population. The law's text was influential in laws in other colonies.''Sweet Negotiations: Sugar, Slavery, and Plantation Agriculture in Early Barbados''
, Chapter 6 "The Expansion of Barbados", p. 112
By 1680 there were 20,000 free whites and 46,000 enslaved Africans; by 1724, there were 18,000 free whites and 55,000 enslaved Africans.


18th and 19th centuries

The harsh conditions endured by the slaves resulted in several planned slave rebellions, the largest of which was Bussa's rebellion in 1816 which was rapidly suppressed by the colonial authorities. In 1819, another slave revolt broke out on Easter Day. The revolt was put down in blood, with heads being displayed on stakes. Nevertheless, the brutality of the repression shocked even England and strengthened the abolitionist movement. Growing opposition to slavery led to its abolition in the British Empire in 1833. The
plantocracy A slavocracy, also known as a plantocracy, is a ruling class, political order or government composed of (or dominated by) slave owners and plantation owners. A number of early European colonies in the New World were largely plantocracies, usually ...
class retained control of political and economic power on the island, with most workers living in relative poverty. The 1780 hurricane killed over 4,000 people on Barbados. In 1854, a
cholera Cholera is an infection of the small intestine by some strain (biology), strains of the Bacteria, bacterium ''Vibrio cholerae''. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that last ...
epidemic killed over 20,000 inhabitants.


20th century before independence

Deep dissatisfaction with the situation on Barbados led many to emigrate. Things came to a head in the 1930s during the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
, as Barbadians began demanding better conditions for workers, the legalisation of trade unions and a widening of the franchise, which at that point was limited to male property owners. As a result of the increasing unrest the British sent a commission, called the West Indies Royal Commission, or Moyne Commission, in 1938, which recommended enacting many of the requested reforms on the islands. As a result, Afro-Barbadians began to play a much more prominent role in the colony's politics, with universal suffrage being introduced in 1950. Prominent among these early activists was Grantley Herbert Adams, who helped found the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in 1938. He became the first Premier of Barbados in 1953, followed by fellow BLP-founder Hugh Gordon Cummins from 1958 to 1961. A group of left-leaning politicians who advocated swifter moves to independence broke off from the BLP and founded the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) in 1955.Nohlen, D. (2005) ''Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I'', p. 85. The DLP subsequently won the 1961 Barbadian general election and their leader Errol Barrow became premier. Full internal self-government was enacted in 1961. Barbados joined the short-lived
West Indies Federation The West Indies Federation, also known as the West Indies, the Federation of the West Indies or the West Indian Federation, was a short-lived political union A political union is a type of polity, political entity which is composed of, or cre ...
from 1958 to 1962, later gaining full independence on 30 November 1966. Errol Barrow became the country's first prime minister. Barbados opted to remain within the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
. The broken trident on its
national flag A national flag is a flag that represents and symbolizes a given nation. It is Fly (flag), flown by the government of that nation, but usually can also be flown by its citizens. A national flag is typically designed with specific meanings for it ...
recalls its legacy when Barbados was a British colony and symbolises that it has broken away from three centuries of colonial rule. The effect of independence meant that the Queen of the United Kingdom ceased to have sovereignty over Barbados, but the island chose to remain a constitutional monarchy with
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until Death and state funeral of Elizabeth II, her death in 2022. She was queen ...
as
Queen of Barbados The monarchy of Barbados was a system of government in which a hereditary monarch was the sovereign and head of state of Barbados from 1966 to 2021. Barbados shared the Sovereign with the other Commonwealth realms, with the country's monarchy be ...
. The
Monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority ...
was represented locally by a
Governor-General Governor-general (plural ''governors-general''), or governor general (plural ''governors general''), is the title of an office-holder. In the context of governors-general and former British colonies, governors-general are appointed as viceroy t ...
.


Post-independence era

The Barrow government sought to diversify the economy away from agriculture, seeking to boost industry and the tourism sector. Barbados was also at the forefront of regional integration efforts, spearheading the creation of CARIFTA and CARICOM. The DLP lost the 1976 Barbadian general election to the BLP under Tom Adams. Adams adopted a more conservative and strongly pro-Western stance, allowing the Americans to use Barbados as the launchpad for their
invasion of Grenada The United States invasion of Grenada began at dawn on 25 October 1983. The United States and a Caribbean Peace Force, coalition of six Caribbean nations invaded the island nation of Grenada, north of Venezuela. Codenamed Operation Urgent Fur ...
in 1983. Adams died in office in 1985 and was replaced by Harold Bernard St. John; however, St. John lost the 1986 Barbadian general election, which saw the return of the DLP under Errol Barrow, who had been highly critical of the US intervention in Grenada. Barrow, too, died in office, and was replaced by
Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, Knight or Dame of St. Andrew (Barbados), KA, Privy Council of the United Kingdom, PC (born 24 March 1937) is a Barbados, Barbadian politician. He served as the fourth prime minister of Barbados from 1987 to 1994. Lat ...
, who remained Prime Minister until 1994.
Owen Arthur Owen Seymour Arthur, PC (17 October 194927 July 2020) was a Barbadian politician who served as the fifth prime minister of Barbados The prime minister of Barbados is the head of government of Barbados. The prime minister is appointed by th ...
of the BLP won the 1994 Barbadian general election, remaining Prime Minister until 2008.
Dieter Nohlen Dieter Nohlen (born 6 November 1939) is a German academic and Political science, political scientist. He currently holds the position of Emeritus Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the Heidelberg Uni ...
(2005) ''Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I'', p90
Arthur was a strong advocate of republicanism, though a planned referendum to replace Queen Elizabeth as Head of State in 2008 never took place. The DLP won the 2008 Barbadian general election, but the new Prime Minister David Thompson died in 2010 and was replaced by
Freundel Stuart Freundel Jerome Stuart, Order of Roraima, OR, Privy Council of the United Kingdom, PC, Senior Counsel, SC (born 27 April 1951) is a Barbadian politician who served as seventh Prime Minister of Barbados and the leader of the Democratic Labour Part ...
. The BLP returned to power in 2018 under
Mia Mottley Mia Amor Mottley, (born 1 October 1965) is a Barbadians, Barbadian politician and attorney who has served as the eighth prime minister of Barbados since 2018 and as Leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) since 2008. Mottley is the first wom ...
, who became Barbados's first female Prime Minister.


Transition to republic

The Government of Barbados announced on 15 September 2020 that it intended to become a republic by 30 November 2021, the 55th anniversary of its independence resulting in the replacement of the Barbadian monarchy with an elected president. Barbados would then cease to be a
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in the Commonwealth of Nations whose monarch and head of state is shared among the other realms. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms and nations of the Commonwealt ...
, but could maintain membership in the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
, like
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America. Guyana is an indigenous word which means "Land of Many Waters". The capital city is Georgetown Guyana, Georgetown. Guyana ...
and
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean. Consisting of the main islands Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous much List of islands of Trinidad and Tobago, small ...
. On 20 September 2021, just over a full year after the announcement for the transition was made, the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2021 was introduced to the Parliament of Barbados. Passed on 6 October, the Bill made amendments to the Constitution of Barbados, introducing the office of the
president of Barbados The president of Barbados is the head of state of Barbados and the commander-in-chief of the Barbados Defence Force. The office was established when the country became a parliamentary republic on 30 November 2021. Before, the head of state was E ...
to replace the role of Elizabeth, Queen of Barbados. The following week, on 12 October 2021, incumbent Governor-General of Barbados Sandra Mason was jointly nominated by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition as candidate to be the first
president of Barbados The president of Barbados is the head of state of Barbados and the commander-in-chief of the Barbados Defence Force. The office was established when the country became a parliamentary republic on 30 November 2021. Before, the head of state was E ...
, and was subsequently
elected Elected may refer to: *Elected (song), "Elected" (song), by Alice Cooper, 1973 *Elected (EP), ''Elected'' (EP), by Ayreon, 2008 *The Elected, an American indie rock band See also

*Election {{disambiguation ...
on 20 October. Mason took office on 30 November 2021.
Charles III Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms. He was the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales and, at age 73, became the oldest person to a ...
, who, as Prince Charles, was heir apparent to the Barbadian Crown at the time, attended the swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown at the invitation of the Government of Barbados. Queen Elizabeth sent a message of congratulations to President Mason and the people of Barbados, saying: "As you celebrate this momentous day, I send you and all Barbadians my warmest good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future." A survey that was conducted between 23 October 2021, and 10 November 2021, by the
University of the West Indies The University of the West Indies (UWI), originally University College of the West Indies, is a public university system established to serve the higher education needs of the residents of 17 English-speaking countries and Territory (country ...
showed 34% of respondents being in favour of transitioning to a republic, while 30% were indifferent. Notably, no overall majority was found in the survey; with 24% not indicating a preference, and the remaining 12% being opposed to the removal of Queen Elizabeth. On 20 June 2022, a Constitutional Review Commission was formed and sworn in by Jeffrey Gibson (who, at the time, was serving temporarily as Acting President of Barbados) to review the Constitution of Barbados. The Commission will have an 18-month timeline to complete its work. They are expected to solicit input from members of the public in Barbados via a series of face-to-face and online events.


Geography and climate

Barbados is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the other
West Indies The West Indies is a Subregion#North America, subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea that includes 13 independent island country, island countries and 18 dependent territory, ...
Islands. Barbados is the easternmost island in the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic is ...
. It is long and up to wide, covering an area of . It lies about east of both the countries of
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia ( acf, Sent Lisi, french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean. The island was previously called Iouanalao and later Hewanorra, names given by the native Arawaks and Caribs, two Amerindian ...
and
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines () is an island country in the Caribbean. It is located in the southeast Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, which lie in the West Indies at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea wh ...
; south-east of
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole, Matinik or ; Kalinago language, Kalinago: or ) is an island and an Overseas department and region, overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France. An integral part of ...
and north-east of
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean. Consisting of the main islands Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous much List of islands of Trinidad and Tobago, small ...
. It is flat in comparison to its island neighbours to the west, the
Windward Islands french: Îles du Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Windward Islands. Clockwise: Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language, Kalinago: ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French: ), officially the Commonwealth of Domini ...
. The island rises gently to the central highland region known as Scotland District, with the highest point being Mount Hillaby above sea level. In the parish of
Saint Michael Michael (; he, מִיכָאֵל, lit=Who is like El od, translit=Mīḵāʾēl; el, Μιχαήλ, translit=Mikhaḗl; la, Michahel; ar, ميخائيل ، مِيكَالَ ، ميكائيل, translit=Mīkāʾīl, Mīkāl, Mīkhāʾīl), a ...
lies Barbados's capital and main city,
Bridgetown Bridgetown (UN/LOCODE: BB BGI) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Barbados. Formerly The Town of Saint Michael, the Greater Bridgetown area is located within the Parishes of Barbados, parish of Saint Michael, Barbados, Saint Mic ...
, containing one third of the country's population. Other major towns scattered across the island include
Holetown Holetown (UN/LOCODE: BB HLT), is a small city located in the Caribbean island nation of Barbados. Holetown is located in the parish of Saint James, Barbados, Saint James on the sheltered west coast of the island. History In 1625, Holetown (for ...
, in the parish of Saint James;
Oistins Oistins (Pronounced /'ȯis-tins/ -- UN/LOCODE: BB OST), is a coastal area located in the country of Barbados. It is situated centrally along the coastline of the parish of Christ Church, Barbados, Christ Church. The area includes a fishing village ...
, in the parish of Christ Church; and Speightstown, in the parish of
Saint Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρος, Petros; cop, Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, Petros; lat, Petrus; ar, شمعون الصفـا, Sham'un ...
.


Geology

Barbados lies on the boundary of the
South American South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere at the northern tip of the continent. It can also be described as the souther ...
and the
Caribbean Plate The Caribbean Plate is a mostly Oceanic crust, oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the north coast of South America. Roughly 3.2 million square kilometers (1.2 million square miles) in area, the Caribbea ...
s. The
subduction Subduction is a geological process in which the oceanic lithosphere is Geochemical cycle, recycled into the Earth's mantle at convergent boundary, convergent boundaries. Where the oceanic lithosphere of a tectonic plate converges with the less d ...
of the South American plate beneath the Caribbean plate scrapes sediment from the South American plate and deposits it above the subduction zone forming an accretionary prism. The rate of this depositing of material allows Barbados to rise at a rate of about per 1,000 years. This subduction means
geologically Geology () is a branch of natural science Natural science is one of the branches of science concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of Nature, natural Phenomenon, phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observation ...
the island is composed of
coral Corals are marine invertebrates within the class (biology), class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically form compact Colony (biology), colonies of many identical individual polyp (zoology), polyps. Coral species include the important C ...
roughly thick, where reefs formed above the sediment. The land slopes in a series of "terraces" in the west and goes into an incline in the east. A large proportion of the island is circled by
coral reefs A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology), polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, wh ...
. The erosion of limestone in the northeast of the island, in the Scotland District, has resulted in the formation of various caves and
gullies A gully is a landform A landform is a natural or anthropogenic land Land, also known as dry land, ground, or earth, is the solid terrestrial surface of the planet Earth that is not submerged by the ocean or other body of water, bodies ...
. On the
Atlantic The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's five oceans, with an area of about . It covers approximately 20% of Earth's surface and about 29% of its water surface area. It is known to separate the " Old World" of Africa, Europe ...
east coast of the island coastal landforms, including stacks, have been created due to the limestone composition of the area. Also notable in the island is the rocky cape known as Pico Teneriffe or Pico de Tenerife, which is named after the fact that the island of
Tenerife Tenerife (; ; formerly spelled ''Teneriffe'') is the largest and most populous island of the Canary Islands. It is home to 43% of the total population of the Archipelago, archipelago. With a land area of and a population of 978,100 inhabitant ...
in Spain is the first land east of Barbados according to the belief of the locals.


Climate

The country generally experiences two seasons, one of which includes noticeably higher rainfall. Known as the "
wet season The wet season (sometimes called the Rainy season) is the time of year when most of a region's average annual rainfall occurs. It is the time of year where the majority of a country's or region's annual precipitation occurs. Generally, the sea ...
", this period runs from June to December. By contrast, the "
dry season The dry season is a yearly period of low rainfall, especially in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which moves from the northern to the southern tropics and back over the course of the year. The ...
" runs from December to May. Annual precipitation ranges between . From December to May the average temperatures range from , while between June and November, they range from . On the
Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by German-Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, nota ...
scale, much of Barbados is regarded as a
tropical monsoon climate An area of tropical monsoon climate (occasionally known as a sub-equatorial, tropical wet climate or a tropical monsoon and trade-wind littoral climate) is a tropical climate sub-type that corresponds to the Köppen climate classification category ...
(Am). However, breezes of abound throughout the year and give Barbados a
climate Climate is the long-term weather pattern in an area, typically averaged over 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time spanning from months to millions of years. Some of the meteorologi ...
which is moderately tropical. Infrequent natural hazards include earthquakes,
landslip Landslides, also known as landslips, are several forms of mass wasting that may include a wide range of ground movements, such as rockfalls, deep-seated grade (slope), slope failures, mudflows, and debris flows. Landslides occur in a variety of ...
s, and
hurricanes A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms tha ...
. Barbados lies outside the principal Atlantic hurricane belt and is often spared the worst effects of the region's
tropical storm A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms tha ...
s and hurricanes during the rainy season. Its location in the south-east of the Caribbean region puts the country just outside the principal hurricane strike zone. On average, a major hurricane strikes about once every 26 years. The last significant hit from a hurricane to cause severe damage to Barbados was
Hurricane Janet Hurricane Janet was the most powerful tropical cyclone of the 1955 Atlantic hurricane season and one of the strongest North Atlantic tropical cyclone, Atlantic hurricanes on record. Janet was also the first named storm to have 1,000 deaths and th ...
in 1955; in 2010 the island was struck by Hurricane Tomas, but this caused only minor damage across the country as it was only at Tropical Storm level of formation.


Environmental issues

Barbados is susceptible to environmental pressures. As one of the world's most densely populated isles, the government worked during the 1990s to aggressively integrate the growing south coast of the island into the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment Plant to reduce contamination of offshore coral reefs. As of the first decade of the 21st century, a second treatment plant has been proposed along the island's west coast. Being so densely populated, Barbados has made great efforts to protect its underground
aquifer An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing, permeability (Earth sciences), permeable rock, rock fractures, or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, or silt). Groundwater from aquifers can be extracted using a water well. Aquifers vary ...
s."PERSPECTIVES: Squatting – a continuing problem"
. Barbadosadvocate.com (24 March 2008). Retrieved 20 April 2014.
As a coral-limestone island, Barbados is highly permeable to seepage of surface water into the earth. The government has placed great emphasis on protecting the catchment areas that lead directly into the huge network of underground aquifers and streams. On occasion illegal squatters have breached these areas, and the government has removed squatters to preserve the cleanliness of the underground springs which provide the island's drinking water. The government has placed a huge emphasis on keeping Barbados clean with the aim of protecting the environment and preserving offshore coral reefs which surround the island. Many initiatives to mitigate human pressures on the coastal regions of Barbados and seas come from the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU). Barbados has nearly of coral reefs just offshore and two protected marine parks have been established off the west coast. Overfishing is another threat which faces Barbados. Although on the opposite side of the Atlantic, and some west of Africa, Barbados is one of many places in the American continent that experience heightened levels of mineral dust from the
Sahara Desert , photo = Sahara real color.jpg , photo_caption = The Sahara taken by Apollo 17 astronauts, 1972 , map = , map_image = , location = , country = , country1 = , ...
. Some particularly intense dust episodes have been blamed partly for the impacts on the health of coral reefs surrounding Barbados or
asthmatic Asthma is a long-term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs The lungs are the primary organs of the respiratory system The respiratory system (also respiratory apparatus, ventilatory system) is a biological system con ...
episodes, but evidence has not wholly supported the former claim. Access to
biocapacity The biocapacity or biological capacity of an ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through ...
in Barbados is much lower than world average. In 2016, Barbados had 0.17 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, much less than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. In 2016 Barbados used 0.84 global hectares of biocapacity per person - their
ecological footprint The ecological footprint is a method promoted by the Global Footprint Network to measure human demand on natural capital, i.e. the quantity of nature it takes to support people or an economy. It tracks this demand through an ecological accoun ...
of consumption. This means they use approximately five times as much biocapacity as Barbados contains. As a result, Barbados is running a biocapacity deficit.


Wildlife

Barbados is host to four species of nesting turtles ( green turtles, loggerheads,
hawksbill turtle The hawksbill sea turtle (''Eretmochelys imbricata'') is a critically endangered sea turtle Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. The s ...
s, and leatherbacks) and has the second-largest hawksbill turtle-breeding population in the Caribbean. The driving of vehicles on beaches can crush nests buried in the sand and such activity is discouraged in nesting areas. Barbados is also the host to the
green monkey The green monkey (''Chlorocebus sabaeus''), also known as the sabaeus monkey, is an Old World monkey Old World monkey is the common English name for a family (biology), family of primates known wikt:taxonomy, taxonomically as the Cercopithec ...
. The green monkey is found in West Africa from Senegal to the Volta River. It has been introduced to the Cape Verde islands off north-western Africa, and the West Indian islands of Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saint Martin, and Barbados. It was introduced to the West Indies in the late 17th century when slave trade ships travelled to the Caribbean from West Africa. The green monkey is considered a very curious and mischievous/troublesome animal by locals.


Demographics

The 2010 national census conducted by the Barbados Statistical Service reported a resident population of 277,821, of which 144,803 were female and 133,018 were male. The life expectancy for Barbados residents is 80 years. The average life expectancy is 83 years for females and 79 years for males (2020). Barbados and Japan have the highest per capita occurrences of
centenarian A centenarian is a person who has reached the age of 100 years. Because life expectancies worldwide are below 100 years, the term is invariably associated with longevity. In 2012, the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an interg ...
s in the world. The crude birth rate is 12.23 births per 1,000 people, and the crude death rate is 8.39 deaths per 1,000 people. The infant mortality rate is 11.63 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.


Ethnic groups

Close to 90% of all Barbadians (also known colloquially as "Bajan") are of
Afro-Caribbean Afro-Caribbean people or African Caribbean are Caribbean people who trace their full or partial ancestry to Sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of the modern African-Caribbeans descend from Indigenous peoples of Africa, Africans taken as slaves to ...
ancestry (" Afro-Bajans") and mixed ancestry. The remainder of the population includes groups of Europeans ("Anglo-Bajans" / "Euro-Bajans") mainly from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and Italy. Other European groups consisted of the French, Austrians, Spaniards, and Russians. Asians, predominantly from Hong Kong and India (both Hindu and Muslim) make up less than 1% of the population. Other groups in Barbados include people from the United States and Canada. Barbadians who return after years of residence in the United States and children born in America to Bajan parents are called "Bajan Yankees", a term considered derogatory by some. Generally, Bajans recognise and accept all "children of the island" as Bajans, and refer to each other as such. The biggest communities outside the Afro-Caribbean community are: # The
Indo-Guyanese Indo-Guyanese or Indian-Guyanese, are people of Indian people, Indian origin who are Guyanese people, Guyanese nationals tracing their ancestry to India and the wider Indian subcontinent, subcontinent. They are the descendants of indentured ser ...
, an important part of the economy due to the increase of immigrants from partner country
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America. Guyana is an indigenous word which means "Land of Many Waters". The capital city is Georgetown Guyana, Georgetown. Guyana ...
. There are reports of a growing Indo-Bajans diaspora originating from Guyana and India starting around 1990. Predominantly from southern India, they are growing in size but are smaller than the equivalent communities in Trinidad and Guyana. The Muslim Barbadians of Indian origin are largely of
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a States of India, state along the Western India, western coast of India. Its coastline of about is the longest in the country, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula. Gujarat is the List of states and union territories ...
i ancestry. Many small businesses in Barbados are run and operated by Muslim-Indian Bajans. # Euro-Bajans (5% of the population)Barbados
CIA World Factbook
have settled in Barbados since the 17th century, originating from England, Ireland, Portugal, and Scotland. In 1643, there were 37,200 whites in Barbados (86% of the population). More commonly they are known as " White Bajans". Euro-Bajans introduced folk music, such as
Irish music Irish music is music that has been created in various genres on the island of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, no ...
and Highland music, and certain place names, such as "Scotland District", a hilly region in the parish of St. Andrew. Among White Barbadians there exists an underclass known as Redlegs comprising followers of the
Duke of Monmouth Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy A duchy, also called a dukedom, is a Middle Ages, medieval country, territory, fiefdom, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess, a ruler hierarchically second to the king or Q ...
after his defeat at the
Battle of Sedgemoor The Battle of Sedgemoor was the last and decisive engagement between the Kingdom of England and rebels led by the James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, Duke of Monmouth during the Monmouth rebellion, fought on 6 July 1685, and took place at Westonz ...
, as well as the descendants of Irish indentured labourers and prisoners imported to the island. Many additionally moved on to become the earliest settlers of modern-day
North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to east and west. ''North'' is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating Direction (geometry), direction or geography. Etymology T ...
and
South Carolina )''Animis opibusque parati'' ( for, , Latin, Prepared in mind and resources, links=no) , anthem = "Carolina (state song), Carolina";"South Carolina On My Mind" , Former = Province of South Carolina , seat = Columbia, South Carolina, Columbia , ...
in the United States. Today the Redlegs number only around 400. # Chinese-Barbadians are a small portion of Barbados's wider Asian population. Chinese food and culture is becoming part of everyday Bajan culture. # Lebanese and Syrians form the island's
Arab The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the Arab world in Western Asia, ...
Barbadian community. #
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
arrived in Barbados just after the first settlers in 1627. Bridgetown is the home of Nidhe Israel Synagogue, one of the oldest Jewish synagogues in the Americas, dating from 1654, though the current structure was erected in 1833, replacing one ruined by the hurricane of 1831. Tombstones in the neighbouring cemetery date from the 1630s. Now under the care of the Barbados National Trust, the site was deserted in 1929 but was saved and restored by the Jewish community beginning in 1986. # In the seventeenth century,
Romani people The Romani (also spelled Romany or Rromani , ), colloquially known as the Roma, are an Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Aryan ethnic group, traditionally nomadic Itinerant groups in Europe, itinerants. They live in Europe and Anatolia, and have Ro ...
were sent from the United Kingdom to work as slaves in the plantations in Barbados.


Languages

English is the
official language An official language is a language given supreme status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciary, ...
of Barbados, and is used for communications, administration, and public services all over the island. In its capacity as the official language of the country, the standard of English tends to conform to vocabulary, pronunciations, spellings, and conventions akin to, but not exactly the same as, those of
British English British English (BrE, en-GB, or BE) is, according to Oxford Dictionaries, " English as used in Great Britain, as distinct from that used elsewhere". More narrowly, it can refer specifically to the English language in England, or, more broa ...
. For most people, however, Bajan Dialect is the language of everyday life. It does not have a standardised written form, but it is used by over 90% of the population.


Religion

Christianity is the largest religion in Barbados, with the largest denomination being
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, ...
(23.9% of the population in 2019). Other Christian denominations with significant followings in Barbados are the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
(administered by Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown),
Pentecostals Pentecostalism or classical Pentecostalism is a Protestantism, Protestant Charismatic Christianity, Charismatic Christian movementJehovah's Witness Jehovah's Witnesses is a Millenarianism, millenarian Restorationism, restorationist Christian denomination with Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide membership of appr ...
es, the
Seventh-day Adventist Church The Seventh-day Adventist Church is an Adventism, Adventist Protestantism, Protestant Christian denomination which is distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the Names of the days of the week#Numbered days of the week, seventh day of the ...
and Spiritual Baptists. The
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
was the official state religion until its legal disestablishment by the Parliament of Barbados following independence. As of 2019, 21% of Barbadians report having no religion, making the non-religious the second largest group after Anglicans. Smaller religions in Barbados include
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religions, Indian religion or ''dharma'', a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. As a religion, it is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest, with over 1.2–1.35 billion ...
,
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
, the
Baháʼí Faith The Baháʼí Faith is a religion founded in the 19th century The 19th (nineteenth) century began on 1 January 1801 (Roman numerals, MDCCCI), and ended on 31 December 1900 (Roman numerals, MCM). The 19th century was the ninth century of th ...
, and
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
. The state is considered
secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin ''saeculum'', "worldly" or "of a generation"), is the state of being unrelated or neutral in regards to religion. Anything that does not have an explicit reference to religion, either negativ ...
, guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief to all and featuring only symbolic allusions to a higher power in the preamble to the constitution.


Government and politics

Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a
parliamentary republic A parliamentary republic is a republic that operates under a parliamentary system of government where the Executive (government), executive branch (the government) derives its legitimacy from and is accountable to the legislature (the parliame ...
modelled on the British Westminster system. The
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "
he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun), an English pronoun * He (kana), the romanization of the Japanese kana へ * He (letter) He is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician alphabet, Phoenic ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international p ...
is the
President of Barbados The president of Barbados is the head of state of Barbados and the commander-in-chief of the Barbados Defence Force. The office was established when the country became a parliamentary republic on 30 November 2021. Before, the head of state was E ...
– presently
Sandra Mason Dame Sandra Prunella Mason (born 17 January 1949) is a Barbadian politician, lawyer, and diplomat who is serving as the first president of Barbados since 2021. She was previously the eighth and final governor-general of Barbados from 2018 to 20 ...
– elected by the
Parliament of Barbados The Parliament of Barbados is the national legislature of Barbados. It is accorded parliamentary sovereignty, legislative supremacy by Chapter V of the Constitution of Barbados.#refConstitution, Constitution, Chapter V, Part 1; Section 35 The P ...
for a term of four years, and advised on matters of the Barbadian state by the
Prime Minister of Barbados The prime minister of Barbados is the head of government of Barbados. The prime minister is appointed by the President of Barbados, president under the terms of the Constitution of Barbados, Constitution. As the nominal holder of executive aut ...
, who is
head of government The head of government is the highest or the second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presid ...
. There are 30 representatives within the
House of Assembly House of Assembly is a name given to the legislature or lower house of a bicameralism, bicameral parliament. In some countries this may be at a administrative division, subnational level. Historically, in Kingdom of Great Britain, British Crown ...
, the lower chamber of Parliament. In the
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
, the upper chamber of Parliament, there are 21 senators. The Constitution of Barbados is the supreme law of the country. Legislation is passed by the Parliament of Barbados but does not have the force of law unless the President grants her assent to that law. The right to withhold assent is absolute and cannot be overridden by Parliament. The Attorney General heads the independent judiciary. During the 1990s, at the suggestion of
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean. Consisting of the main islands Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous much List of islands of Trinidad and Tobago, small ...
's Patrick Manning, Barbados attempted a
political union A political union is a type of polity, political entity which is composed of, or created from, smaller polities, or the process which achieves this. These administrative subdivision, smaller polities are usually called federated states and federal ...
with Trinidad and Tobago and
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America. Guyana is an indigenous word which means "Land of Many Waters". The capital city is Georgetown Guyana, Georgetown. Guyana ...
. The project stalled after the then prime minister of Barbados,
Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, Knight or Dame of St. Andrew (Barbados), KA, Privy Council of the United Kingdom, PC (born 24 March 1937) is a Barbados, Barbadian politician. He served as the fourth prime minister of Barbados from 1987 to 1994. Lat ...
, became ill and his Democratic Labour Party lost the next general election. Barbados continues to share close ties with Trinidad and Tobago and with Guyana, claiming the highest number of Guyanese immigrants after the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Barbados is a party to the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is the treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually made by and between sovereign states, but can include internat ...
.


Political culture

Barbados functions as a
two-party system A two-party system is a Politics, political party system in which two major party, major political parties consistently dominate the political landscape. At any point in time, one of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature ...
. The dominant political parties are the Democratic Labour Party and the incumbent Barbados Labour Party. Since independence on 30 November 1966, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has governed from 1966 to 1976; 1986 to 1994; and from 2008 to 2018; and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has governed from 1976 to 1986; 1994 to 2008; and from 2018 to present.


Foreign relations

Barbados follows a policy of nonalignment and seeks cooperative relations with all friendly states. Barbados is a full and participating member of the
Caribbean Community The Caribbean Community (CARICOM or CC) is an intergovernmental organization that is a Political union, political and economic union of 15 member states (14 nation-states and one dependency) throughout the Caribbean. They have primary objectives ...
(CARICOM), CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the
Association of Caribbean States The Association of Caribbean States (ACS; es, Asociación de Estados del Caribe; french: Association des États de la Caraïbe) is an advisory association of nations centered on the Caribbean Basin. It was formed with the aim of promoting con ...
(ACS), the
Organization of American States The Organization of American States (OAS; es, Organización de los Estados Americanos, pt, Organização dos Estados Americanos, french: Organisation des États américains; ''OEA'') is an international organization that was founded on 30 April ...
(OAS), the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
, and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). In 2005, Barbados replaced the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (United Kingdom), Privy Council (JCPC) is the Supreme court, highest court of appeal for the Crown Dependencies, the British Overseas Territories, some Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth countries ...
with the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal.


World Trade Organization, European Commission, CARIFORUM

Barbados is an original member (1995) of the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization Globalization is social change associated with increased connectivity among societies and their elements and the explosive evolution of transportation and telecommunica ...
(WTO) and participates actively in its work. It grants at least MFN treatment to all its trading partners.
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
relations and cooperation with Barbados are carried out both on a bilateral and a regional basis. Barbados is party to the Cotonou Agreement, through which, , it is linked by an Economic Partnership Agreement with the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
. The pact involves the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) subgroup of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). CARIFORUM is the only part of the wider ACP-bloc that has concluded the full regional trade-pact with the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
. There are also ongoing EU-
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States A community is a Level of analysis, social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as place (geography), place, Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communiti ...
(CELAC) and EU- CARIFORUM dialogues. Trade policy has also sought to protect a small number of domestic activities, mostly food production, from foreign competition, while recognising that most domestic needs are best met by imports.


The Double Taxation Relief (CARICOM) Treaty 1994

On 6 July 1994, at the Sherbourne Conference Centre, St. Michael, Barbados, representatives of eight countries signed the Double Taxation Relief (CARICOM) Treaties 1994. The countries which were represented were: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. On 19 August 1994, a representative of the Government of Guyana signed a similar treaty.


Military and law enforcement

The
Barbados Defence Force The Barbados Defence Force (BDF) is the name given to the combined armed forces of Barbados. The BDF was established 15 August 1979, and has responsibility for the territorial defence and internal security of the island. The headquarters for the ...
has roughly 800 members. Within it, service members aged 14 to 18 years make up the Barbados Cadet Corps. The defence preparations of the island nation are closely tied to defence treaties with the United Kingdom, the United States, and the People's Republic of China. The Barbados Police Service is the sole law enforcement agency on the island of Barbados.


Administrative divisions

Barbados is
divided Division is one of the four basic operations of arithmetic, the ways that numbers are combined to make new numbers. The other operations are addition, subtraction, and multiplication. At an elementary level the division of two natural numbers ...
into 11 parishes:


Economy

Barbados is the 52nd richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita,Barbados
, International Monetary Fund.
has a well-developed
mixed economy A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, Market (economics), markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. Common to ...
, and a moderately high
standard of living Standard of living is the level of income, comforts and services available, generally applied to a society or location, rather than to an individual. Standard of living is relevant because it is considered to contribute to an individual's quality ...
. According to the World Bank, Barbados is one of 83 high income economies in the world. Despite this, a 2012 self-study in conjunction with the Caribbean Development Bank revealed 20% of Barbadians live in poverty, and nearly 10% cannot meet their basic daily food needs. Historically, the economy of Barbados had been dependent on
sugarcane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, Perennial plant, perennial grass (in the genus ''Saccharum'', tribe Andropogoneae) that is used for sugar Sugar industry, production. The plants are 2–6 m (6–20 ft) tall with ...
cultivation and related activities, but since the late 1970s and early 1980s it has diversified into the manufacturing and tourism sectors. Offshore finance and information services have become important foreign exchange earners. Partly due to the staging of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the island saw a construction boom, with the development and redevelopment of hotels, office complexes, and homes. This slowed during the 2008 to 2012 world economic crisis and the recession. There was a strong economy between 1999 and 2000 but the economy went into recession in 2001 and 2002 due to slowdowns in tourism, consumer spending and the impact of the
11 September 2001 attacks The September 11 attacks, commonly known as 9/11, were four coordinated Suicide attack, suicide List of terrorist incidents, terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda against the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. That morning, ...
in the United States and the
7 July 2005 London bombings The 7 July 2005 London bombings, often referred to as 7/7, were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks carried out by Islamic terrorism, Islamic terrorists in London that targeted commuters travelling on Transport in London, the city's ...
in the United Kingdom. The economy rebounded in 2003 and has shown growth since 2004 which continued right through to 2008. The economy went into recession again from 2008 to 2013 before showing growth from 2014 to 2017. Then it declined to another recession from 2017 to 2019 during the world economic crisis. There were 23 downgrades by both Standard & Poor's and Moody's in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The economy showed signs of recovery with 3 upgrades from Standard and Poor's and Moody's in 2019. From 1 January to 31 March 2020 the economy had started to grow, but then it experienced another decline due to the COVID-19 economic recession. Traditional trading partners include Canada, the
Caribbean Community The Caribbean Community (CARICOM or CC) is an intergovernmental organization that is a Political union, political and economic union of 15 member states (14 nation-states and one dependency) throughout the Caribbean. They have primary objectives ...
(especially
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean. Consisting of the main islands Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous much List of islands of Trinidad and Tobago, small ...
), the United Kingdom and the United States. Recent government administrations have continued efforts to reduce unemployment, encourage
foreign direct investment A foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a Controlling interest, controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country. It is thus distinguished from a foreign portfolio investment by ...
, and privatise remaining state-owned enterprises. Unemployment was reduced to 10.7% in 2003. However, it has since increased to 11.9% in second quarter, 2015. The European Union is assisting Barbados with a program of modernisation of the country's International Business and Financial Services Sector. Barbados maintains the third largest
stock exchange A stock exchange, securities exchange, or bourse is an Exchange (organized market), exchange where stockbrokers and stock trader, traders can buy and sell security (finance), securities, such as share (finance), shares of stock, Bond (finance) ...
in the Caribbean region. , officials at the stock exchange were investigating the possibility of augmenting the local exchange with an International Securities Market (ISM) venture.


Sovereign default and restructuring

By May 2018, Barbados's outstanding debt climbed to , more than 1.7 times the country's
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a money, monetary Measurement in economics, measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold (not resold) in a specific time period by countries. Due to its complex and subjec ...
. In June 2018 the government defaulted on its sovereign debt when it failed to make a coupon on Eurobonds maturing in 2035. Outstanding bond debt of Barbados reached . In October 2019, Barbados concluded restructuring negotiations with a creditor group including investments funds Eaton Vance Management, Greylock Capital Management, Teachers Advisors and Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry. Creditors will exchange existing bonds for a new debt series maturing in 2029. The new bonds involve a principal "haircut" of approximately 26% and include a clause allowing for deferment of principal and capitalization of interest in the event of a natural disaster.


Health

The main hospital on the island is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; however, Barbados has eight polyclinics across five parishes. There are also well-known medical care centres in Barbados such as Bayview Hospital, Sandy Crest Medical Centre and FMH Emergency Medical Clinic.


Education

The Barbados
literacy rate Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written form in some specific context of use. In other wo ...
is ranked close to 100%. The mainstream public education system of Barbados is fashioned after the British model. The government of Barbados spends 6.7% of its GDP on education (2008). All young people in the country must attend school until age 16. Barbados has over 70 primary schools and over 20 secondary schools throughout the island. There is a number of private schools, including those offering
Montessori The Montessori method of education involves children's natural interests and activities rather than formal teaching methods. A Montessori classroom places an emphasis on hands-on learning and developing real-world skills. It emphasizes indepen ...
and
International Baccalaureate The International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly known as the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), is a Nonprofit organization, nonprofit foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and founded in 1968. It offers four educationa ...
education. Student enrolment at these schools represents less than 5% of the total enrolment of the public schools. Certificate-, diploma- and degree-level education in the country is provided by the Barbados Community College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology,
Codrington College Codrington College is an Anglican theological college in Saint John, Barbados, St. John, Barbados now affiliated with the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill. It is one of the oldest Anglican theological colleges in the Americas. It was ...
, and the Cave Hill campus and Open Campus of the
University of the West Indies The University of the West Indies (UWI), originally University College of the West Indies, is a public university system established to serve the higher education needs of the residents of 17 English-speaking countries and Territory (country ...
. Barbados is also home to several overseas medical schools, such as Ross University School of Medicine and the American University of Integrative Sciences, School of Medicine.


Educational testing

Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination: Children who are 11 years old on 1 September in the year of the examination are required to write the examination as a means of allocation to secondary school. Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations are usually taken by students after five years of secondary school and mark the end of standard secondary education. The CSEC examinations are equivalent to the Ordinary Level (O-Levels) examinations and are targeted toward students 16 and older. Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) are taken by students who have completed their secondary education and wish to continue their studies. Students who sit for the CAPE usually possess CSEC or an equivalent certification. The CAPE is equivalent to the British Advanced Levels (A-Levels), voluntary qualifications that are intended for university entrance.


Culture

Barbados is a blend of West African, Portuguese, Creole, Indian and
British culture British culture is influenced by History of the United Kingdom, the combined nations' history; its historically Christianity, Christian Religion in the United Kingdom, religious life, its interaction with the cultures of Europe, the traditions o ...
s. Citizens are officially called Barbadians. The term "Bajan" (pronounced BAY-jun) may have come from a localised pronunciation of the word Barbadian, which at times can sound more like "Bar-bajan"; or, more likely, from English '' bay'' ("bayling"), Portuguese . The largest
carnival Carnival is a Catholic Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide (or Pre-Lent). Carnival t ...
-like cultural event that takes place on the island is the Crop Over festival, which was established in 1974. As in many other Caribbean and Latin American countries, Crop Over is an important event for many people on the island, as well as the thousands of tourists that flock to there to participate in the annual events. The festival includes musical competitions and other traditional activities, and features the majority of the island's homegrown calypso and
soca music Soca music is a genre of music defined by Lord Shorty, its inventor, as the "Soul of Calypso music, Calypso", which has influences of African and East Indian rhythms. It was originally spelt "sokah" by its inventor but through an error in a lo ...
for the year. The male and female Barbadians who harvested the most sugarcane are crowned as the King and Queen of the crop. Crop Over gets under way at the beginning of July and ends with the costumed parade on Kadooment Day, held on the first Monday of August. New calypso/soca music is usually released and played more frequently from the beginning of May to coincide with the start of the festival.


Cuisine

Bajan cuisine is a mixture of African, Indian, Irish, Creole and British influences. A typical meal consists of a main dish of meat or fish, normally marinated with a mixture of herbs and spices, hot side dishes, and one or more salads. A common Bajan side dish could be pickled cucumber, fish cakes, bake, etc. The meal is usually served with one or more sauces.Barbados Food
. ''Totally Barbados''. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
The
national dish A national dish is a culinary Dish (food), dish that is strongly associated with a particular country. A dish can be considered a national dish for a variety of reasons: * It is a staple food, made from a selection of locally available foodstuffs ...
of Barbados is
cou-cou Cou-cou, coo-coo (as it is known in the Windward Islands), or fungie (as it is known in the Leeward Islands and Dominica) makes up part of the national dishes of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I ...
and
flying fish The Exocoetidae are a family (biology), family of marine fish in the order (biology), order Beloniformes class (biology), class Actinopterygii, known colloquially as flying fish or flying cod. About 64 species are grouped in seven to nine genu ...
with spicy gravy. Another traditional meal is pudding and souse, a dish of pickled
pork Pork is the culinary name for the meat of the Pig, domestic pig (''Sus domesticus''). It is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, with evidence of pig animal husbandry, husbandry dating back to 5000 BCE. Pork is eaten both freshly ...
with spiced sweet potatoes. A wide variety of seafood and meats are also available. The Mount Gay Rum visitor's centre in Barbados claims to be the world's oldest remaining rum company, with the earliest confirmed deed from 1703. Cockspur Rum and Malibu are also from the island. Barbados is home to the
Banks Barbados Brewery Banks (Barbados) Breweries Ltd. is a Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Car ...
, which brews Banks Beer, a
pale lager Pale lager is a very Pale (color), pale-to-Gold (color), golden-colored lager beer with a well-Attenuation (brewing), attenuated body and a varying degree of Noble hops, noble hop Bitterness (taste), bitterness. The brewing process for this bee ...
, as well as Banks Amber Ale. Banks also brews Tiger Malt, a non-alcoholic malted beverage. 10 Saints beer is brewed in Speightstown, St. Peter in Barbados and aged for 90 days in Mount Gay 'Special Reserve' Rum casks. It was first brewed in 2009 and is available in certain Caricom nations.


Music


Sports

As in other Caribbean countries of British colonial heritage,
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bails b ...
is very popular on the island. The
West Indies cricket team The West Indies cricket team, nicknamed the Windies, is a multi-national men's cricket team representing the mainly Commonwealth Caribbean, English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean region and administered by Cricket West I ...
usually includes several Barbadian players. In addition to several warm-up matches and six "Super Eight" matches, the country hosted the final of the
2007 Cricket World Cup The 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup was the ninth Cricket World Cup, a One Day International (ODI) cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, field at the centre ...
. Barbados has produced many great cricketers including Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Everton Weekes,
Gordon Greenidge Sir Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge (born 1 May 1951) is a Barbadian, former first-class cricketer, who represented the West Indies in Test and One-day Cricket for 17 years. Greenidge is regarded worldwide as one of the greatest and most destructive o ...
, Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Joel Garner,
Desmond Haynes Desmond Leo Haynes (born 15 February 1956) is a former Barbadian cricketer and cricket coach who played for the West Indies cricket team between 1978 and 1994. Haynes favoured a more measured approach to batting and scored 7,487 runs in 116 Te ...
and
Malcolm Marshall Malcolm Denzil Marshall (18 April 1958 – 4 November 1999) was a Barbadian cricketer. Primarily a fast bowler, Marshall is widely regarded as one of the greatest and one of the most accomplished fast bowlers of the modern era in Test cricket. ...
. In
Track and Field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the sport takes place, a running track and a grass field for the throwing and some of ...
Obadele Thompson won a bronze medal in the 100m at the
2000 Summer Olympic Games The 2000 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXVII Olympiad and also known as Sydney 2000 (Dharug language, Dharug: ''Gadigal 2000''), the Millennium Olympic Games or the Games of the New Millennium, was an international multi-sport ...
He's the first to win an Olympic medal, Other Olympic medallists include Shaunae Miller-Uibo. He is also the only Bajan to run sub 10 and sub 20 over 100m and 200m. Ryan Brathwaite won a
gold medal A gold medal is a medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloy An alloy is a mixture of chemical elements of which at least one is a ...
in the
110 metres hurdles The 110 metres hurdles, or 110-metre hurdles, is a hurdling track and field event for men. It is included in the athletics (sport), athletics programme at the Summer Olympic Games. The female counterpart is the 100 metres hurdles. As part of a rac ...
at the
2009 World Championships in Athletics The 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics () were held in Berlin Berlin ( , ) is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3.7 million inhabitants make it the European Union's most populous city, accor ...
in Berlin. Rugby is also popular in Barbados.
Horse racing Horse racing is an equestrianism, equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, ...
takes place at the Historic Garrison Savannah close to Bridgetown. Spectators can pay for admission to the stands, or else can watch races from the public "rail", which encompasses the track.
Basketball Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball (approximately in diameter) through the defender' ...
is an increasingly popular sport, played at school or college. Barbados's national team has shown some unexpected results as in the past it beat many much larger countries.
Polo Polo is a ball game played on horseback, a traditional field sport and one of the world's oldest known team sports. The game is played by two opposing teams with the objective of score (game), scoring using a long-handled wooden mallet to hit ...
is very popular amongst the rich elite on the island and the "High-Goal" Apes Hill team is based at the St James's Club. It is also played at the private Holders Festival ground. In golf, the Barbados Open, played at Royal Westmoreland Golf Club, was an annual stop on the European Seniors Tour from 2000 to 2009. In December 2006 the WGC-World Cup took place at the country's Sandy Lane resort on the Country Club course, an 18-hole course designed by Tom Fazio. The Barbados Golf Club is another course on the island. It has hosted the Barbados Open on several occasions.
Volleyball Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official program of the Summe ...
is also popular and is mainly played indoors.
Tennis Tennis is a List of racket sports, racket sport that is played either individually against a single opponent (singles (tennis), singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles (tennis), doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket th ...
is gaining popularity and Barbados is home to Darian King, who has achieved a career-high ranking of 106 in May 2017 and has played in the
2016 Summer Olympics The 2016 Summer Olympics ( pt, Jogos Olímpicos de Verão de 2016), officially the Games of the XXXI Olympiad ( pt, Jogos da XXXI Olimpíada) and also known as Rio 2016, was an international multi-sport event held from 5 to 21 August 20 ...
and the 2017 US Open.
Motorsports Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive sporting events which primarily involve the use of motor vehicles, motorized vehicles. The terminology can also be used to describe forms of co ...
also play a role, with Rally Barbados occurring each summer and being listed on the FIA NACAM calendar. Also, the Bushy Park Circuit hosted the
Race of Champions The Race of Champions (ROC) is an international motorsport event held at the end/start of each year, featuring some of the world's best auto racing, racing and Rallying, rally drivers. It is the only competition in the world where stars from F ...
and
Global RallyCross Championship The TitansRX International Series (formerly known as Red Bull Global Rallycross or Global Rallycross) is a group of rallycross series, currently organised by racing driver Max Pucher and businessman Chip Pankow. The initial series was series run i ...
in 2014. The presence of the trade winds along with favourable swells make the southern tip of the island an ideal location for wave sailing (an extreme form of the sport of
windsurfing Windsurfing is a wind propelled water sport that is a combination of sailing and surfing. It is also referred to as "sailboarding" and "boardsailing", and emerged in the late 1960s from the aerospace and surf culture of California. Windsurfing ga ...
). Barbados also hosts several international surfing competitions.
Netball Netball is a ball sport played on a court by two teams of seven players. It is among a rare number of sports which have been created exclusively for female competitors. The sport is played on indoor and outdoor netball courts and is specifical ...
is also popular with women in Barbados. Several players in the
National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football Sports league, league that consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). The NFL is o ...
(NFL) are from Barbados, including Robert Bailey, Roger Farmer, Elvis Joseph, and Sam Seale.


Transport

Although Barbados is about across at its widest point, a car journey from Six Cross Roads in St. Philip (south-east) to North Point in St. Lucy (north-central) can take one and a half hours or longer due to traffic. Barbados has half as many registered cars as citizens. In Barbados, drivers drive on the left side of the road. Barbados is known for its many roundabouts. One famous roundabout is a roundabout located east of Bridgetown, where you will see an emancipation statue commonly associated with a slave named Bussa. Transport on the island is relatively convenient with " route taxis" called " ZRs" (pronounced "Zed-Rs") travelling to most points on the island. These small buses can at times be crowded, as passengers are generally never turned down regardless of the number. They will usually take the more scenic routes to destinations. They generally depart from the capital
Bridgetown Bridgetown (UN/LOCODE: BB BGI) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Barbados. Formerly The Town of Saint Michael, the Greater Bridgetown area is located within the Parishes of Barbados, parish of Saint Michael, Barbados, Saint Mic ...
or from Speightstown in the northern part of the island. Including the ZRs, there are three bus systems running seven days a week (though less frequently on Sundays). There are ZRs, the yellow minibuses and the blue Transport Board buses. A ride on any of them costs . The smaller buses from the two privately owned systems ("ZRs" and "minibuses") can give change; the larger blue buses from the government-operated Barbados Transport Board system cannot, but do give receipts. The Barbados Transport Board buses travel in regular bus routes and scheduled timetables across Barbados. Schoolchildren in school uniform including some Secondary schools ride for free on the government buses and for on the ZRs. Most routes require a connection in Bridgetown. Barbados Transport Board's headquarters are located at Kay's House, Roebuck Street, St. Michael, and the bus depots and terminals are located in the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal in Fairchild Street and the Princess Alice Bus Terminal (which was formerly the Lower Green Bus Terminal in Jubilee Gardens, Bridgetown, St. Michael) in Princess Alice Highway, Bridgetown, St. Michael; the Speightstown Bus Terminal in Speightstown, St. Peter; the Oistins Bus Depot in Oistins, Christ Church; and the Mangrove Bus Depot in Mangrove, St. Philip. In July 2020, the Barbados Transport Board received 33 BYD electric buses which were obtained not only to add to the aging fleet of diesel buses but also to assist the Government in their goal of eliminating the use of fossil fuels by 2030. Some hotels also provide visitors with shuttles to points of interest on the island from outside the hotel lobby. There are several locally owned and operated vehicle rental agencies in Barbados but there are no multi-national companies. The island's lone airport is the
Grantley Adams International Airport Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) is the international airport of Barbados, located in Seawell, Christ Church, Barbados, Christ Church. It is the only designated port of entry for persons arriving and departing by air in Barbados a ...
. It receives daily flights by several major airlines from points around the globe, as well as several smaller regional commercial airlines and charters. The airport serves as the main air-transportation hub for the eastern Caribbean. In the first decade of the 21st century it underwent a upgrade and expansion in February 2003 until completion in August 2005. The island also has a sea port which is the primary port of call for commercial container and cruise traffic. There was also a helicopter shuttle service, which offered air taxi services to a number of sites around the island, mainly on the West Coast tourist belt. Air and maritime traffic was regulated by the Barbados Port Authority.


See also

* Outline of Barbados * Index of Barbados-related articles *
Barbadian people Barbadians or Bajans (pronounced ) are people who are identified with the country of Barbados Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of the Americas, and the most easterly of ...
* List of people from Barbados * List of Barbadian Americans * List of Barbadian Britons


Further reading

* Burns, Sir Alan, ''History of the British West Indies''. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1965. * Davis, David Brion. '' Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World''. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. * Frere, Samuel
''A Short History of Barbados: From its First Discovery and Settlement, to the End of the Year 1767.''
London: J. Dodsley, 1768. * Gragg, Larry Dale, ''Englishmen transplanted: The English Colonization of Barbados, 1627–1660''. Oxford University Press, 2003. * Hamshere, Cyril, ''The British in the Caribbean''. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972. * Newman, Simon P. ''A New World of Labor: The Development of Slavery in the British Atlantic.'' Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. * Northrup, David, ed. ''The Atlantic Slave Trade, Second Edition''. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. * O'Shaughnessy, Andrew Jackson, ''An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean''. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. * Rogozinski, January 1999. ''A Brief History of the Caribbean: From the Arawak and Carib to the Present''. Revised version, New York, USA. * Scott, Caroline 1999. ''Insight Guide Barbados''. Discovery Channel and Insight Guides; fourth edition, Singapore.


Videography


Overview Video
Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (Courtesy o
US Television
. * , by the Ministry of Energy and the Environment, under the Office of the Prime Minister.
Sandy Lane Hotel, Barbados
11 November 2011, on '' Where in the World is Matt Lauer?'', NBC ''Today Show''. *


External links

*
Government of Barbados Official Information Service

Official webpage of Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Barbados

Parliament of Barbados official website

Barbados Tourism Authority
The Ministry of Tourism
Central Bank of Barbados website

Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry
(BCC&I)
Barbados Investment and Development Corporation

Barbados Maritime Ship Registry

Barbados Museum & Historical Society


General information

* * * {{coord, 13, 10, 12, N, 59, 33, 09, W, type:country_region:BB_scale:2500000, display=title Countries in the Caribbean Leeward Islands (Caribbean) English-speaking countries and territories British Leeward Islands Former Commonwealth realms Former British colonies and protectorates in the Americas Former English colonies Former Portuguese colonies Portuguese colonization of the Americas Islands of Barbados Member states of the Caribbean Community Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations Member states of the United Nations Small Island Developing States 1620s establishments in the Caribbean 1627 establishments in North America 1627 establishments in the British Empire States and territories established in 1966 1960s establishments in the Caribbean 1966 establishments in North America Former monarchies of North America Countries in North America Island countries Republics in the Commonwealth of Nations