HistoryAlthough the island was totally abandoned or uninhabited when the British arrived, one of the few traces of indigenous pre-existence on the island was a primitive bridge constructed over the Constitution River, Careenage area's swamp at the centre of Bridgetown. It was thought that this bridge was created by a people indigenous to the Caribbean known as the Tainos. Upon finding the structure, the British settlers began to call what is now the Bridgetown area ''Indian Bridge''. Scholars widely believe that the Tainos were driven from Barbados to the neighbouring island of Saint Lucia, during an invasion by the Kalinagos, another indigenous people of the region. Eventually after 1654 when a new bridge was constructed over the Careenage by the British, the area became known as ''The Town of Saint Michael'' and later as ''Bridgetown'', after Sir Tobias Bridge. Bridgetown is the only city outside the present United States that George Washington visited. (George Washington House (Barbados), George Washington House, the house where he stayed, is included within the boundaries of the Garrison Historic Area.) Two of Washington's ancestors, Jonathon and Gerrard Hawtaine, were early planters on the island. Their grandmother was Mary Washington of Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, England. In 2011, historic buildings in Bridgetown were designated as a protected area by UNESCO.
Early settlementEnglish settlement of Bridgetown began on 5 July 1628 under Charles Wolverstone, who brought with him 64 settlers to these lands formally Proprietary colony#Proprietary colonies in the Caribbean, claimed by James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle, James Hay, the Earl of Carlisle. Wolverstone had been sent by a group of London merchants, headed by Sir Marmaduke Rawdon. They had been granted a lease to of land by the Earl of Carlisle in settlement of debts. Wolverstone granted each of the settlers of land on the northern side of the Careenage waterway for the purpose of general settlement. The southern shore on Needham's Point was claimed by Carlisle's agents in October 1628. In 1631, many acres of land directly facing Carlisle Bay were passed to Henry Hawley (governor), Henry Hawley, the new Governor; but after reports of his dishonest behaviour he was arrested and Rendition (law), forcibly returned to England in 1639. An investigation by a commission in 1640 found that much of Hawley's land transactions were legitimate and properly showed these lands (including the town site) as being attributed to the Earl of Carlisle. Bridgetown was built with a street layout resembling early English medieval or market towns, with its narrow serpentine street and alley configuration.
From town to cityIn 1824, Barbados became the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Barbados and the Leeward Islands. The St Michael's Parish Church became a cathedral, so that Bridgetown became a City status in the United Kingdom, city. In 1842, Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, Saint Vincent, and Saint Lucia were split into separate dioceses by Royal Letters Patent which also decreed that the Town of Bridgetown should be called the City of Bridgetown. From 1800 until 1885, Bridgetown was the main seat of Government for the former British colonies of the Windward Islands. During this period, the resident Governor of Barbados also served as the Colonial heads of the Windward Islands, Colonial head of the Windward Islands. After the Government of Barbados officially exited from the Windward Islands union in 1885, the seat was moved from Bridgetown to St. George's, Grenada, St. George's on the neighbouring island of Grenada. In December 1925, a committee sought to petition the King for a Royal Charter of Incorporation to provide local government in the city, proposed to consist of a mayor, 8 aldermen, 12 common councillors, a town clerk, a head-borough or chief constable, and such other officers as would be deemed necessary. It was proposed that the island's Barbados House of Assembly, House of Assembly should seek to incorporate the city instead of using a Royal Charter. This proposal did not succeed, but in 1958 the Local Government Act was passed in Barbados. This provided a separate administration for the city, with a mayor; 6 city aldermen; and 12 city councillors, four for each of the three wards in the city. On 20 September 1960, the College of Arms in London granted arms to the City of Bridgetown. The armorial bearings were designed by the late Neville Connell, the then director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, and H. W. Ince, the Honorary Secretary of the Society. Districts of Barbados, Local government in Barbados did not last long. In April 1967, the Local Government Councils were dissolved and replaced by an Interim Commissioner for Local Government. The Corporation of Bridgetown thus ceased to exist, and its records and paraphernalia were deposited in both the Government Department of Archives and Barbados Museum and Historical Society. Today, Bridgetown and surrounding constituencies are administered by members of the Barbadian parliament.
Geography and climate
GeographyAs established in the early 17th century, Bridgetown's centre was originally composed of a swamp, which was quickly drained and filled-in to make way for the early development.
BoundariesThe earliest boundaries of Bridgetown are contained by way of an Act passed on 4 April 1660 called, "to prevent the danger which may happen by fire, in or about any of the seaport towns of the Island". The southern limit was declared to be the River (Careenage), whilst the western limit was declared to be the western boundary of St. Michael's (now St. Mary's) Churchyard, and extending in a direct line to the seaside. The town's other limits consisted of properties of certain citizens' names in this statute, the location of which cannot now be determined with certainty. The boundaries were not redefined until 1822. Through Statutory Instrument (S.I) 1984 No. 141, Road Traffic Act, CAP. 295, ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATIONS, and under Schedule Sec. No. 6: The Boundaries of Bridgetown, Speightstown, Holetown and Oistin are cited as follows: 1) "City of Bridgetown" - "Bridgetown" - "The City": Beyond the boundary outlined, the wider Greater Bridgetown metropolitan area technically occupies most of the parish of Saint Michael, an area which covers around 39 km2 (15 sq. mi). The above portion for the Road Traffic Act also omits much of the 90 acres of new land originally formed by completion of the Port of Bridgetown in 1961.
CareenageAt the heart of Bridgetown is the Careenage and Constitution River. The Careenage can be considered a marina for boaters entering or exiting the inner basin located directly in front of the Parliament buildings of Barbados. This body of water provides the city with direct access from medium-sized yachts or Pleasure craft, small craft boats. Although moderately shallow, the Careenage slices Bridgetown into two parts. During the rainy season the Constitution River flows into the Careenage area and acts as an outflow for water from the country's interior storm drainage network. Flowing into the Carlisle Bay on the southwest coast of the island.
ClimateBridgetown features a Tropical savanna climate, tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen climate classification, Aw), with relatively constant temperatures throughout the course of the year. While fairly hot, Bridgetown is cooled somewhat by the trade winds that affect weather in Barbados in general. Bridgetown's record high of in September 2005 and record low of on 2 January 1984. Bridgetown features distinct wet season, wet and dry season, dry seasons, with a relatively lengthy wet season and a shorter dry season. Its wet season is from June through January, while the dry season covers the remaining months.
The cityIn the centre lies the main street of Bridgetown which is Broad Street, Bridgetown, Broad Street which runs directly through the centre of the city. Broad Street passes the Parliament Buildings and serves as the centre of city's shopping area. Another major traffic artery into the city is Bay Street (which turns into Highway 7) and leads toward the South Coast of Barbados and the Parish of Christ Church, Barbados, Christ Church. There are also other notable streets in Bridgetown, including: * Swan Street – which is parallel to Broad Street, to the north. * Roebuck Street – which leads towards Queens Park to the North, and East of Swan Street. -and- * Tudor Street – which comes from the north, intersects Swan Street and runs perpendicular to Broad Street. * The Spring Garden Highway, which lies to the west of the city, plays host to over 85,000 bystanders and participants in the annual Grand Kadooment Carnival Parade.
Neighbourhoods*Belleville, Saint Michael, Barbados, Belleville *Cat's Castle, Saint Michael, Barbados, Cat's Castle *Cheapside, Saint Michael, Barbados, Cheapside *Fontabelle, Saint Michael, Barbados, Fontabelle *Garden Land, Saint Michael, Barbados, Garden Land *New Orleans, Saint Michael, Barbados, New Orleans *Pinelands, Saint Michael, Barbados, Pinelands *Strathclyde, Saint Michael, Barbados, Strathclyde *Weymouth, Saint Michael, Barbados, Weymouth *Whitepark, Saint Michael, Barbados, Whitepark
Landmarks/points of interest* National Heroes Square (formerly Trafalgar Square, Barbados, Trafalgar Square) and Fountain Garden * Independence Square and The Independence Arch * The Montefiore Fountain * Parliament Buildings (Barbados), Parliament Buildings of Barbados * The Cathedral Church of Saint Michael and All Angels * The St. Mary's Anglican Church * The St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral * Nidhe Israel Synagogue * The Pelican Village and Craft Centre * Queen's Park * The Lord Nelson Statue * The Barbados Museum * Kensington Oval (site of the 2007 Cricket World Cup final) * Carlisle Bay Beach * Cheapside market * The Tom Adams Financial Complex * The Frank Collymore Hall of the Performing Arts * The Cathedral Plaza * The Cave Shepherd Department Store (No.10 Broad Street) * The Mutual Building (lower Broad Street) * The Cheapside Gardens * Sagicor Plaza * The Garrison Historic Area, Garrison Savannah and National Historic Area * The Hilton Hotel * Martineau House * Pierhead Development Complex
HarbourThe Bridgetown Port (or "Deep Water Harbour" as it is also known) is the major port of entry for cruise and cargo ships docking in Barbados. The Deep Water Harbour lies a short distance across Carlisle Bay northwest of the Careenage Canal. Found along the Princess Alice Highway, and west of the city's centre around Fontabelle, Saint Michael, Barbados, Fontabelle. The Harbour port acts as one of the major shipping and transhipment hubs from international locations for the entire Eastern Caribbean. Recently, the Bridgetown Port was dredged to allow safe access and berthing for the new league of "super cruise ships". The dredging project was completed in 2002 and the city can now host many of the largest cruise ships in the world. The port of ''Bridgetown'' also handles goods for the domestic needs of the island. The island's main exports of mainly agricultural products also make use of the harbour facilities. ''Bridgetown'' also has a smaller canal in the centre of the city, named the Careenage, a.k.a. "Constitution River". The Constitution River should not be confused with the Deep Water Harbour. The smaller Constitution River feeding into the west coast lies about a half kilometre south of the large harbour. The Careenage is just large enough for pleasure craft or fishing boats and has two main bridges near the city center which span the shallow Careenage.
Society and cultureBridgetown serves as a principal centre of commercial activity in Barbados, as well as a central hub for the island's public transport system. Many of the Ministries and Agencies of the Barbados Government, ministries and departments of the island's government are located within the Greater Bridgetown area. The Public Buildings or Parliament of Barbados, parliament, which stand at the heart of the city directly north of Heroes Square, house the third oldest continuous parliament in the British Empire, British Commonwealth. Indeed, at one point in the city's early history, Bridgetown was the most important city of all British possessions in the New World due to the city's easterly location in the Caribbean region. The headquarters of the National Library Service of Barbados is located in Bridgetown. The main branch is found on Coleridge Street, in a coral-stone building, built in the style of the English Renaissance. For a city of its size, the Greater Bridgetown area is home to several prestigious educational institutions. The city serves as the seat of one of the three campuses of the University of the West Indies in the northern suburb of Cave Hill, Saint Michael, Barbados, Cave Hill. The campus sits on a bluff offering views of Bridgetown and its port. The Barbados Community College is located three miles (5 km) east of the Central Business District in a suburb known as "The Ivy", while the sprawling campus of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic is located just beyond the eastern limits of the city in a suburb known as "The Pine, Saint Michael, Barbados, The Pine". In addition, the city houses such distinguished secondary schools as Harrison College (Barbados), Harrison College, Combermere School, Combermere and The St. Michael School. The City of Bridgetown also played host to the 1994 United Nations Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Islands States. Bridgetown has branches of some of the largest banks in the world and English-speaking Caribbean and is internationally recognised as an emerging financial domicile. The city underwent considerable redevelopment in preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, 2007 World Cricket Cup Finals held at the historic Kensington Oval. The stadium was renovated to a state-of-the-art sports facility accommodating 30,000 spectators. Live viewership for the 2007 event was estimated to be over 100 million people worldwide.
Utilities and local servicesToday, Bridgetown is a fully modern and thriving city, with access to many modern services including a piped water supply (said to be naturally among the purest in the world), electricity, natural gas supply, cutting-edge telecommunications, wireless services, internet cafes, and a good overall infrastructure. The city is also served by an impressive conference facility known as the Sherbourne Conference Centre. *Electricity – Barbados Light and Power Company Ltd. (BL&P) *Natural Gas – National Petroleum Corporation *Water – Barbados Water Authority (BWA) *Telecommunications – Digicel, Flow (brand), FLOW, and WIISCOM *Television – CBC TV 8 (Barbados), CBC TV 8, Multi-Choice TV (Barbados), and DirecTV *Radio – List of radio stations in Barbados *Barbadian media
EconomyBarbados' main exports are sugar, rum, and molasses. The island is also involved in other industries namely tourism and the offshore sector.
Stock exchange* Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) The city of Bridgetown also has a well regulated stock exchange with securities of Barbadian and regional Caribbean companies.
Business/specificsBusiness: Banks are open 8 am–3pm, Hours: Monday to Thursday, and 8 am–5pm on Fridays. The main banks are: * Bank of Nova Scotia, * Republic Bank, * Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) (''see FirstCaribbean International Bank''), * First Citizens and * Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Automatic Teller Machines are available. Shops are open: * 8am–6pm weekdays and * 8am–noon Saturdays. Payment cards are widely accepted. Electricity: 115 volts AC, 50 cycles. Most hotels have 220 AC. Telecommunications: the international dialling code for Barbados is 1–246 followed by seven digits. On the island, use the seven digits alone. When on the island, to call anywhere in the United States or Canada simply dial 1+ (area code) + seven digit phone number. Emergency Numbers: Police: 211 (emergency only) Fire: 311 Ambulance: 511 Coast Guard and Defense Force: (246) 427-8819
TransportationThe city has access to daily flights via the island's Airport the Grantley Adams International Airport, Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) located on the ABC Highway, Barbados, ABC Highway/Highway 7 in Seawell, Christ Church, Barbados, Christ Church. The city of Bridgetown and New York City in the United States, were the only cities in the western hemisphere to be served by regularly scheduled British Airways Concorde flights. Additionally, the GAIA has been chosen as one of only four global display sites for the retired supersonic aircraft. The Airport is in the final stages of an expansion project, which will also include the construction of an aviation museum to house the retired Concorde aircraft. All seven of Barbados's primary Highways begin close to the City of Bridgetown, in the Parish of Saint Michael Parish, Barbados, Saint Michael. They all fan out to the north, south and east to other parts of the island. Driving is done of the left-hand side of the road with a speed limit of in built-up areas. The speed limit on the ABC Highway is generally 80 km/h (50 mph) except in built-up areas. Water transport is regulated by the Barbados Port Authority.
Public busesPublic buses that head northward to destinations such as Holetown and Speightstown, and to some locations in St. Michael including the University of the West Indies – (Cave Hill Campus), leave from the Princess Alice Bus Terminal which lies to the west of the city centre. Buses for points east and south leave from the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal, which is on the eastern edge of the city centre, near to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Bridgetown, Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
Route taxisRoute taxis are privately owned minivans which operate as taxicabs vehicle for hire, for hire.
Diplomatic missions in Barbados
Twin and Sister citiesBridgetown is twinned or is a sister city with the following cities: * – Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, Canada (9 July 2004) * – London Borough of Hackney, Borough of Hackney, London, United Kingdom (1982) * – Wilmington, North Carolina, United States (28 June 2004)
Notable people* Jofra Archer, cricketer * Richard Clement Moody, founder of British Columbia. * Gilbert Elliott (cricketer), Gilbert Elliott (1870–unknown), first-class cricketer * Anthony Forde (darts player), Anthony Forde, darts player * Chester Gill, jazz saxophonist * Grandmaster Flash, rapper * Orlando Greene, Olympic runner * Zane Maloney, racecar driver and 2019 F4 British Championship, 2019 British F4 champion * Malcolm Marshall, cricketer * Jackie Opel, credited as creator of experimental syncopated music genre called Spouge. * Rihanna, singer/songwriter * Sir Garfield Sobers, cricketer * Sir Clyde Walcott, cricketer * Sir Everton Weekes, cricketer * Sir Frank Worrell, cricketer
See also* Demographics of Barbados * List of cities in Barbados * List of cities in the Caribbean * List of metropolitan areas in the West Indies * Parishes of Barbados * Transportation in Barbados