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Barbados ( ), situated just east of the Caribbean Seamarker, is an independent West Indian Continental Island-nation in the western Atlantic Oceanmarker. For over three centuries Barbados was a colony and protectorate of the United Kingdommarker; and still currently maintains Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Located at roughly 13° North of the equator and 59° West of the prime meridian, it is considered a part of the Lesser Antilles. Its closest island neighbours are Martiniquemarker, Saint Luciamarker, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadinesmarker to the west. To the south lies Trinidad and Tobagomarker—with which Barbados now shares a fixed official maritime boundary—and also the South American mainland. Barbados's total land area is about 430 square kilometres (166 square miles), and is primarily low-lying, with some higher in the country's interior. The highest point in Barbados is Mount Hillabymarker in the parish of Saint Andrew.

The geological composition of Barbados is of non-volcanic origin, predominantly limestone-coral. After the break of South America from Africa in the Mesozoic, a reef formed; and during the Cenozoic, as both the Caribbean and South American plates moved westward, the two plates impacted and pressed this reef upward. Barbados is part of a North Atlantic Ocean submarine mountain range located to the east of the Windward Islands, this range stretches from its close proximity of Puerto Rico in the north, to a south-easterly direction toward Venezuela. The island of Barbados, forms the only part of this mountain range that actually rises above sea level.

The island's climate is tropical, with constant trade winds off the Atlantic Ocean serving to keep temperatures mild. Some less developed areas of the country contain tropical woodland and mangroves. Other parts of the interior which contribute to the agriculture industry are dotted with large sugarcane estates and wide, gently sloping pastures, with panoramic views down to the coast also.

Barbados's Human Development Index ranking is consistently among the top 75 countries in the world. In report published on October 5, 2009, it was ranked 37th in the world, and third in the Americas, behind Canadamarker and the United Statesmarker.



According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados is Ichirouganaim.

The reason for the name "Barbados" is controversial. The Portuguese, en route to Brazilmarker or the Spanish have been credited as the first Europeans to discover and name the island. The word Barbados means "bearded", but it is a matter of conjecture whether "bearded" refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree (Ficus citrifolia), indigenous to the island; to the bearded Caribs once inhabiting the island as supported by Dr. Richard Allsopp, a Caribbean linguist; or to the foam spraying over the outlying reefs giving the impression of a beard. In 1519, a map produced by the Genoese mapmaker Visconte Maggiolo showed and named Barbados in its correct position.

Another name associated with Barbados or her people is "Bim","Bimshire" and De rock. The origin is uncertain but several theories abound, the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados follows the Dr. Richard Allsopp theory, which is that "Bim" was a word commonly used by slaves and that it derives from the phrase "bi mu" or either ("bem", "Ndi bem", "Nwanyi ibem" or "Nwoke ibem") from an Igbo phrase, meaning "my people." In colloquial or literary contexts, "Bim" can also take a more deific tone, referring to the "goddess" Barbados.The word Bim and Bimshire are recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary and the Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionaries.Another possible source for "Bim" is reported to be in the Agricultural Reporter of 25 April 1868, The Rev. N Greenidge (father of one of the island's most famous scholars, Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge) suggested the listing of Bimshire 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 it referred to Bim as a possible corruption of the word "Byam", who was a Royalist leader against the Parliamentarians. That source suggested the followers of Byam became known as Bims and became a word for all Barbadians.

Early history

The first indigenous people are thought to be Amerindians who arrived from Venezuelamarker around approximately 350-400 B.C. The Arawak people were the second wave of migrants, arriving from South America around 800. In the thirteenth century, the Caribs arrived from South America in the third wave, displacing both the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid culture. For the next few centuries, the Caribs — like the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid — lived in isolation on the island.

The Portuguese then briefly claimed Barbados from the mid-1500s to the 1600s; and may have seized the indigenous Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labour. Other Caribs are believed to have fled the island to neighbouring islands. Apart from possibly displacing the Caribs, the Portuguese left little impact and by the 1610s, they left for South America, leaving the island almost uninhabited. Some Arawaks still live in Barbados.

British colonial rule

British sailors who landed on Barbados in 1625 arrived at the site of present-day Holetownmarker. From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627–1628 until independence in 1966, Barbados was under uninterrupted British control. Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly began meeting in 1639. Among the initial important British figures was Sir William Courten.

With the increased implementation of slave codes, which created differential treatment between Africans and the white workers and planters, the island became increasingly unattractive to poor whites. Black or slave codes were implemented in 1661, 1676, 1682, and 1688. In response to these codes, several slave rebellions were attempted or planned during this time, but none succeeded. However, an increasingly repressive legal system caused the gap between the treatment of typically white indentured servants and black slaves to widen. Imported slaves became much more attractive for the rich planters who would increasingly dominate the island not only economically but also politically. Some have speculated that, because the Africans could withstand tropical diseases and the climate much better than the white slave population, the white population decreased. This is inconsistent with the fact that many poor whites simply migrated to neighbouring islands and remained in tropical climates. Nevertheless, poor whites who had or acquired the means to emigrate often did so. Planters expanded their importation of African slaves to cultivate sugar cane. The inhabitants of Barbados turned from mainly English and Scots-Irish in the seventeenth century to overwhelmingly black by the end of the 18th century.

Barbados eventually had one of the world's biggest sugar industries after Jews from Brazil introduced the sugarcane to the island in the mid 1600s. This quickly replaced tobacco plantations on the islands which were previously the main export. As the sugar industry developed into its main commercial enterprise, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates that replaced the smallholdings of the early British settlers. Some of the displaced farmers moved to other British colonies in the Americas, most notably Northmarker and South Carolinamarker, and British Guiana, as well as Panamamarker. To work the plantations, planters imported enslaved West Africans to Barbados and other Caribbean islands.

The British abolished the slave trade in 1807 but not the institution itself. In 1816, slaves arose in the largest major slave rebellion in the island's history. Twenty thousand slaves from over seventy plantations rebelled. They drove whites off the plantations, but widespread killings did not take place. This was later termed “Bussa's Rebellion” after the slave ranger Bussa, who with his assistants hated slavery, found the treatment of slaves on Barbados to be “intolerable,” and believed the political climate in the UK made the time ripe to peacefully negotiate with planters for freedom (Davis, p. 211; Northrup, p. 191). Bussa's Rebellion failed. One hundred and twenty slaves died in combat or were immediately executed; another 144 were brought to trial and executed; remaining rebels were shipped off the island (Davis, pp. 212–213).

Slavery was finally abolished in the British Empire eighteen years later in 1834. In Barbados and the rest of the British West Indian colonies, full emancipation from slavery was preceded by an apprenticeship period that lasted four years.

In 1884, the Barbados Agricultural Society sent a letter to Sir Francis Hincks requesting his private and public views on whether the Dominion of Canada would favourably entertain having the then colony of Barbados admitted as a member of the Canadian Confederation. Asked of Canadamarker were the terms of the Canadian side to initiate discussions, and whether or not the island of Barbados could depend on the full influence of Canada in getting the change agreed to by the United Kingdommarker. Then in 1952 the Barbados Advocate newspaper polled several prominent Barbadian politicians, lawyers, businessmen, the Speaker of the Barbados House of Assembly and later as first President of the Senate, Sir Theodore Branker, Q.C. and found them to be in favour of immediate federation of Barbados along with the rest of the British Caribbeanmarker with complete Dominion Status within five years from the date of inauguration of the West Indies Federation with Canada.

However, plantation owners and merchants of British descent still dominated local politics, owing to the high income qualification required for voting. More than 70% of the population, many of them disenfranchised women, were excluded from the democratic process. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of emancipated slaves began a movement for political rights. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labour Party in 1938, then known as the Barbados Progressive League. While being a staunch supporter of the monarchy, Adams and his party also demanded more rights for the poor and for the people. Progress toward a more democratic government in Barbados was made in 1942, when the exclusive income qualification was lowered and women were given the right to vote. By 1949 governmental control was wrested from the planters and, in 1958, Adams became Premier of Barbados.

From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of the ten members of the West Indies Federation, an organisation doomed by nationalistic attitudes and by the fact that its members, as British colonies, held limited legislative power. Adams served as its first and only "Premier", but his leadership failed in attempts to form similar unions, and his continued defence of the monarchy was used by his opponents as evidence that he was no longer in touch with the needs of his country. Errol Walton Barrow, a fervent reformer, became the new people's advocate. Barrow had left the BLP and formed the Democratic Labour Party as a liberal alternative to Adams' conservative government. Barrow instituted many progressive social programmes, such as free education for all Barbadians, and the School Meals system. By 1961, Barrow had replaced Adams as Premier and the DLP controlled the government.

With the Federation dissolved, Barbados had reverted to its former status, that of a self-governing colony. The island negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with the United Kingdom in June 1966. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados finally became an independent state on 30 November 1966, with Errol Barrow its first Prime Minister. Upon independence Barbados maintained historical linkages with Britain by establishing membership to the Commonwealth of Nations grouping, a year later Barbados' International linkages were expanded by obtaining membership to the United Nations and the Organization of American Statesmarker.

Government and politics

Parliament Building.

Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, modelled on the British Westminster system, with Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, as head of state represented locally by the Governor-General, Clifford Husbands and the Prime Minister as the head of the government. The number of representatives within the House of Assembly has gradually increased from twenty-four at independence, to its present composition of thirty seats.

Barbados functions as a two-party system, the two dominant parties being the ruling Democratic Labour Party and the opposition, Barbados Labour Party. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had been in government for fifteen years, since 1993 until the 2008 general election. Under this administration, the former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Owen S. Arthur acted as the Regional Leader of the CSM (Caribbean Single Market). The Honourable David Thompson is the Prime Minister of Barbados.


Under Barbadian law the Constitution of Barbados is regarded as the supreme law of the nation. The Office of the Attorney General heads the independent judiciary. Historically, Barbadian law was based entirely on English common law with a few local adaptations. At the time of independence, the British Parliamentmarker ceased having the ability to change local legislation at its own discretion. British law and various legal statutes within British law at this time, and other prior measures adopted by the Barbadian parliament became the basis of the modern-day law system. More recently however, local Barbadian legislation may be shaped or influenced by such organisations as the United Nations, the Organization of American Statesmarker, or other International fora which Barbados has obligatory commitments by treaty. Additionally, through international cooperation, other institutions may supply the Barbados parliament with key sample legislation to be adapted to meet local circumstance, before crafting it as local law.

Laws are passed by the Barbadian Parliament, whereby upon their passage, are given official royal assent by the Governor-General to become law.


The local court system of Barbados is made-up of:
  • Magistrate's Court: Covering Criminal, Civil, Domestic, Domestic Violence, and Juvenile matters. But can also take up matters dealing with Corornor's Inquests, Liquor Licences, and civil marriages. Further, the Magistrates court deals with Contract and Tort law where claims don't exceed $10,000.00.

Foreign relations

Barbados is a full and participating member of: Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), Association of Caribbean States (ACS)., Organization of American Statesmarker (OAS), Commonwealth of Nations, and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which currently pertains only to Barbados and Guyanamarker. In 2001 the Caribbean Community heads of government voted on a measure declaring that the region should work towards replacing the UK's Judicial Committee of the Privy Councilmarker with the Caribbean Court of Justice.

As of December, 2007 Barbados is linked by an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Commissionmarker. The pact involves the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) subgroup of the Group of African, Caribbean, and Pacific states (ACP). CARIFORUM presently the only part of the wider ACP-bloc that has concluded the full regional trade-pact with the European Union.

Maritime dispute

On 11 April 2006, the 5-Member UNCLOS Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal, presided over by H.E. Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, rendered after two years of international judicial proceedings, the landmark Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago Award, which resolved the maritime boundary delimitation (in the East, Central and West sectors) to satisfaction of both Parties and committed Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago to resolve their fisheries dispute by means of concluding a new Fisheries Agreement.

Geography and climate

Map of Barbados

Barbados is the easternmost Caribbean island. It is considered relatively flat in comparison to its island neighbours to the west in the Windward Islands. The island rises gently to the central highland region, with the highpoint of the country being Mount Hillabymarker, in the Scotland District. [ above sea level]. The island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the other West Indies isles.

Geologically composed of coral ( thick). The land falls in a series of "terraces" in the west and goes into an incline in the east. Much of the country is circled by coral reefs.

In the parish of Saint Michaelmarker lies Barbados' capital and main city, Bridgetownmarker. Other major towns scattered across the island include Holetownmarker, in the parish of Saint Jamesmarker; Oistinsmarker, in the parish of Christ Churchmarker; and Speightstown, in the parish of Saint Petermarker.

The climate is moderate tropical, with a wet season (June–November) and a more dry season (December–May). The annual precipitation ranges between and .

Barbados is often spared the worst effects of the region's tropical storms and hurricanes during the rainy season as its far eastern location in the Atlantic Ocean puts it just outside the principal hurricane strike zone. On average a hurricane may strike about once every 26 years. The last significant hit from a hurricane to cause severe damage to Barbados was Hurricane Janet in 1955.


Map of the parishes of Barbados
Barbados is divided into eleven parishes:

  1. Christ Churchmarker
  2. Saint Andrewmarker
  3. Saint Georgemarker
  4. Saint Jamesmarker
  5. Saint Johnmarker
  6. Saint Josephmarker
  7. Saint Lucymarker
  8. Saint Michaelmarker
  9. Saint Petermarker
  10. Saint Philipmarker
  11. Saint Thomasmarker

St. George and St. Thomas located in the middle of the country are the only two parishes without coastlines.


Barbados is the 51st richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross domestic product) per capita, has a well-developed mixed economy, and a moderately high standard of living. According to the World Bank, Barbados is classified as being in its 66 top High income economies of the world.

Historically, the economy of Barbados had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but in 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, and there is a healthy light manufacturing sector. Since the 1990s the Barbados Government has been seen as business-friendly and economically sound. The island has seen a construction boom, with the development and redevelopment of hotels, office complexes, and homes.

Recent government administrations have continued efforts to reduce unemployment, encourage foreign direct investment, and privatise remaining state-owned enterprises. Unemployment has been reduced from around 14 percent in the past to under 10 percent.
The economy contracted in 2001 and 2002 due to slowdowns in tourism, consumer spending and the impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks, but rebounded in 2003 and has shown growth since 2004. Traditional trading partners include Canada, the Caribbean Community (especially Trinidad and Tobagomarker), the United Kingdom and the United States.

Business links and investment flows have become substantial: as of 2003 the island saw from Canada CA$ 25 billion in investment holdings, placing it as one of Canada's top five destinations for Canadian Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Businessman Eugene Melnyk of Torontomarker, Canada, is said to be Barbados' richest permanent resident.

It was thought by key Barbadian industry sources that the year 2006 would have been one of the busiest years for building construction ever in Barbados, as the building-boom on the island entered the final stages for several multi-million dollar commercial projects.

The European Union is presently assisting Barbados with a EURO$10 million dollar programme of modernisation of the country's International Business and Financial Services Sector.

Barbados maintains the third largest stock exchange in the Caribbean region. At present, officials at the stock exchange are investigating the possibility of augmenting the local exchange with an International Securities Market (ISM) venture.


Transport on the island is relatively convenient, with share taxis, or 'route taxis,' called "ZR's" (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. However, they will usually take the more scenic routes to destinations. They generally depart from the capital Bridgetownmarker or from Speightstownmarker in the northern part of the island.
The island of Barbados's lone airport is the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport marker (IATA identifier BGI). 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. It is undergoing a US$100 million upgrade and expansion.

There are three bus systems running seven days a week (though less frequently on Sundays), and a ride on any of them costs $1.50 BBD. The smaller buses from the two privately-owned systems ("ZRs" and "minibuses") can give change; the larger blue and yellow buses from the government-operated Barbados Transport Board system cannot. Children in school uniform ride for free on the Government buses and for $1.00 on the minibuses and ZRs. Most routes require a connection in Bridgetown. Some drivers within the competitive privately owned systems are reluctant to advise persons to use competing services, even if those would be more suitable.

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.

There is also a helicopter shuttle service, which offers air taxi services to a number of sites around the island, mainly on the West Coast tourist belt. Air and water traffic is regulated by the Barbados Port Authority.

Tourist information

The island is well developed, and there are internationally known hotels offering world-class accommodation. Time-shares are available, and many of the smaller local hotels and private villas which dot the island have space available if booked in advance. The southern and western coasts of Barbados are popular, with the calm light blue Caribbean Sea and their fine white and pinkish sandy beaches. Along the island's east coast the Atlantic Ocean side are tumbling waves which are perfect for light surfing, but a little bit risky due to under-tow currents.

Shopping districts are popular in Barbados, with ample duty-free shopping. There is also a festive night-life in mainly tourist areas such as the Saint Lawrence Gap. Other attractions include wildlife reserves, jewelry stores, scuba diving, helicopter rides, golf, festivals (the largest being the annual crop over festival July/Aug), sightseeing, cave exploration, exotic drinks and fine clothes shopping.

Attractions, landmarks and points of interest

Tourism accounts for almost one half of the economy.Name / Parish Location:
- Christ Church

- St. Andrew

- St. George
- St. James

- St. John

- St. Joseph
- St. Lucymarker

- St. Michael
- St. Peter

- St. Philip
  • Sunbury Plantation

- St. Thomas
List of: Cities, towns and villages in Barbados.


High Street
Barbados has a population of about 281,968 and a population growth rate of 0.33% (Mid-2005 estimates). Close to 90% of all Barbadians (also known colloquially as Bajan) are of African descent ("Afro-Bajans"). The remainder of the population includes groups of Europeans ("Anglo-Bajans" / "Euro-Bajans") mainly from the United Kingdommarker, the Republic of Irelandmarker, Chinese locally known as Chiney-Bajan, Bajan Hindus from IndiamarkerOther groups in Barbados include people from the United Kingdommarker, United Statesmarker and Canadamarker. Barbadians who return after years of residence in the U.S. and children born in America to bajan parents are called "Bajan Yankees"; this term is considered derogatory by some. Barbados is a chief destination for emigrants from the South American nation of Guyanamarker.

The biggest communities outside the Afro-Caribbean community are:

  1. The Indo-Guyanese, an important part of the economy due to the increase of immigrants from partner country Guyanamarker. There are reports of a growing Indo-Bajan diaspora originating from Guyana and Indiamarker. They introduced soca-chutney, roti and many Indian dishes to Barbados' culture. Mostly from southern India and Hindu states, these 'Desi' peoples are growing in size but smaller than the equivalent communities in Trinidad & Guyana; Hinduism is one of Barbados' growing religions.
  2. Euro-Bajans (4% of the population) have settled in Barbados since the 1500s, originating from Englandmarker, Ireland and Scotlandmarker. In 1643, there were 37,200 whites in Barbados (86% of the population). More commonly they are known as "White Bajans", although some carry Afro-Caribbean traces and vice-versa. Euro-Bajans introduced folk music, such as Irish music and Highland music, and certain place names, such as "Scotland", a mountainous region, and "Trafalgar Square" in Bridgetown, now renamed "Heroes Square". Among White Barbadians there exists an underclass known as Redlegs; the descendants of indentured servants, and prisoners imported to the island.
  3. Chinesemarker-Barbadians (or, as they are known on the island, "Bajan-Chineys") are a small portion of Barbados' Asian demographics, smaller than the equivalent communities of Jamaicamarker and Trinidadmarker. Most if not all first arrived in the 1940s during the Second World War, originating mainly from the then British territory of Hong Kongmarker. Many Chinese-Bajans have the surnames Chin, Chynn or Lee, although other surnames prevail in certain areas of the island. Chinese food and culture is becoming part of everyday Bajan culture.
  4. Lebanese and Syrians form the Middle Eastern community on the island and make up 89% of the Muslim population. Middle-Eastern Barbadians are often perceived to be the most successful group in business, along with the Chinese Bajans. During the Arab Israeli Wars, many Syrians and Lebanese headed for the West Indies to escape conflict and poverty in the Middle East. Also Jewish people arrived in Barbados around the same time, creating the biggest synagogue in the West Indies.

The average life expectancy is 77 years for both males and females. Barbados and Japanmarker have the distinction of having highest number of centenarians (on a per capita basis) in the world.


English is the sole official language 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 the vocabulary, pronunciations, spellings, and conventions akin to, but not exactly the same as, those of British English. A regional variant of English, referred to locally as Bajan, is spoken by most Barbadians in everyday life, especially in informal settings. In its full-fledged form, Bajan sounds markedly different from the Standard English heard on the island. The degree of intelligibility between Bajan and general English varies depending on the speakers' origins and the "rawness" of one's accent. In rare instances, a Bajan speaker may be completely unintelligible to an outside English speaker if sufficient slang terminology is present in a sentence. Bajan is somewhat differentiated from, but highly influenced by other Caribbean English dialects; it is a fusion of British English and elements borrowed from the languages of West Africa. Hindi and Bhojpuri are also spoken on the island by a small Indo-Bajan minority. Spanish is considered the most popular second language on the island, followed by French.


In religion, most Barbadians are Christians (95%), chiefly of the Anglican Church (67%), given the Church of England being the official state religion until its legal disenfranchisement by the Parliament of Barbados following independence. recently through out 2007 - 2009 Protestants, Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Hindu, Muslim, Spiritual Baptists, and Jewish minorities have moved to Barbados.


Similar to other nations within the Commonwealth of Nations all Barbadians citizens are covered by national healthcare. Barbados has over twenty polyclinics throughout the country in addition to the Queen Elizabeth (General Hospital) located in Bridgetown.


Education in Barbados is fashioned after the British model. The government of Barbados spends roughly 20% of its annual national budget on education. All young people in the country must attend school until age sixteen. Barbados' literacy rate is ranked close to 100%, with the Minister of Education stating that Barbados was in the top 5 countries worldwide for literacy rate. thus placing the country alongside many of the industrialised nations of the world. Barbados has over 70 primary schools, and over 20 secondary schools throughout the island. There are also a number of private schools catering to various teaching models including Montessori and International Baccalaureate. Degree level education in the country is provided by the Barbados Community College (BCC), the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP), and a local Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).


Banks beer at dusk

The influence of the English on Barbados is more noticeable than on other islands in the West Indies. A good example of this is the island's national sport: cricket. Barbados has brought forth several great cricketers, including Garfield Sobers and Frank Worrell.

Citizens are officially called Barbadians; Bajans (pronounced: "bay" "jan" ), The term "Bajan" may have come from a localised pronunciation of the word Barbadian which at times can sound more like "Bar-bajan".

The largest carnival-like cultural event which takes place on the island is the Crop Over festival. 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 the island to participate in the annual events. The festival includes musical competitions and other traditional activities. The male and female Barbadian that harvested the most sugarcane are also crowned as the King and Queen of the crop. It gets under way from the beginning of July, and ends with the costumed parade on Kadooment Day, held on the first Monday of August.

Barbados retains a strong British influence and is referred to by its neighbours as "Little England".

Sports in Barbados

As in other Caribbean countries of British descent, cricket is a favourite sport. In addition to several warm-up matches and six "Super Eight" matches, Barbados hosted the final of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. They have had many great cricketers such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Joel Garner and Sir Clyde Walcott.

Obadele Thompson is a world class sprinter from Barbados; he won a bronze medal at Olympic Games over 100m in 2000. Ryan Brathwaite who reached the Olympic semi-finals last year in Beijing gave Barbados their first ever medal at the world championships in Berlin, Germany on Thursday August 20, 2009 when he won the men's 110 metre hurdles title. The 21-year-old timed a national record of 13.14 seconds to win the Gold Medal.

In golf, the Barbados Open is an annual stop on the European Seniors Tour. In December 2006 the WGC-World Cup took place at the country's Sandy Lane resort on the Country Club course, an eighteen-hole course designed by Tom Fazio. The Barbados Golf Club is the other main course on the island. Sanctioned by the PGA European Tour to host a PGA Seniors Tournament in 2003 and it has also hosted the Barbados Open on several occasions.

Motorsports also play a role, with Rally Barbados occurring each summer and currently being listed on the FIA NACAM calendar.

Basketball is a popular sport played at school or college and is increasing in popularity as is volleyball, though volleyball is mainly played inside. At certain beaches such as Brandons beach in St. Michael people do get together to play beach volleyball.

Other sports played include hockey, table tennis, road tennis, football, rugby, polo and swimming.

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).

Netball is also popular with women in Barbados.

Barbadian team The Flyin' Fish, are the 2009 Segway Polo World Champions.

National symbols


The national flower is the Pride of Barbados or Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L.) Sw., which grows across the island.


The tridented centred within the flag is a representation of the mythological Neptune, god of the sea. The trident in its original unbroken form was taken from the former colonial seal, which itself was replaced by the current coat of arms. Used within the national flag, the left and right shafts of the trident were then designed as 'broken' representing the nation of Barbados breaking away from its historical and constitutional ties as a former colony.

The three points of the trident represent in Barbados the three principles of democracy - "government of, for and by the people." The broken trident is set in a centred vertical band of gold representing the sands of Barbados' beaches. The gold band itself is surrounded on both sides by vertical bands of ultramarine (blue) representing the sea and sky of Barbados.

The design for the flag was created by Grantley W. Prescod and was chosen from an open competition arranged by the Barbados government. Over a thousand entries were received.

Golden Shield

The Golden Shield in the coat of arms carries two "Pride of Barbados" flowers and the "bearded" fig tree (Ficus citrifolia or Ficus barbata), which was common on the island at the time of its settlement by the British and may have contributed to Barbados being so named.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms depicts two animals which are supporting the shield. On the left is a "dolphin fish", symbolic of the fishing industry and seagoing past of Barbados. On the right is a pelican, symbolic of a small island named Pelican Island that once existed off the coast of Bridgetown. Above the shield is the helmet of Barbados with an extended arm clutching two sugar-cane stalks. The "cross" formation made by the cane stalks represents the saltire cross upon which Saint Andrew was crucified. On the base of the Coat of Arms reads "Pride and Industry" in reference to the country's song.

National heroes

On April 1998, the Order of National Heroes Act was passed by the Parliament of Barbadosmarker. According to the government, the act established that 28 April (the centenary of the birth of Sir Grantley Adams) would be celebrated as National Heroes' Day. The act also declared that there are ten national heroes of Barbados. All of which would be elevated to the title of The Right Excellent.

The ten official National Heroes of Barbados are:-

International rankings

See also

Member of:


  1. J Rajj, Barbados Geology, at Geo World
  2. UNESCO: The Scotland District of Barbados - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  3. AXSES Systems Caribbean Inc., The Barbados Tourism Encyclopaedia
  4. Britannica Encyclopaedia: History of Barbados
  5. The Commonwealth of Nations: Barbados - History
  6. National Cultural Foundation
  7. UCTP
  8. Caribbean: News in the Caribbean -
  9. Law Courts of Barbados
  10. The Barbados Government's Regional and International affiliations
  11. World Bank - Country Groups. Accessed on October 05, 2009.
  12. Barbados: People: Ethnic Groups. World Factbook of CIA
  13. Population, Slavery and Economy in Barbados, BBC.
  14. The Irish in the Caribbean 1641-1837: An Overview, By Nini Rodgers, Society for Irish Latin American Studies
  15. Parliament: Act of Parliament concerning the Anglican church
  16. Government of Barbados National Flag
  17. Government of Barbados - National Heroes History of Barbados, The Parliament of Barbados


  • Burns, Sir Alan 1965. History of the British West Indies. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London England.
  • Davis, David Brion. Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-514073-7
  • Hamshere, Cyril 1972. The British In the Caribbean. Harvard University Pres, Massachusetts USA. ISBN 0-674-08235-4
  • Northrup, David, ed. The Atlantic Slave Trade, Second Edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. ISBN 0-618-11624-9
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  • Rogozinski, January 1999. A Brief History of the Caribbean - From the Arawak and Carib to the Present. Revised version New York, USA. ISBN 0-8160-3811-2
  • Scott, Caroline 1999. Insight Guide Barbados. Discovery Channel and Insight Guides; fourth edition, Singapore. ISBN 0-88729-033-7
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