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Useful Notes / Barbados

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Barbados is an island country located to the east of the Windward Islands chain, in the Lesser Antiles of the North Atlantic Ocean. Despite being in the Atlantic Ocean east of the other Caribbean islands, it's still considered a part of the Caribbean and is one of the top tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Barbados is also located outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt, and so is often protected from most of the destruction that tropical storms and hurricanes cause to most of the other islands in the region during the rainy season.

First inhabited by Amerindian tribes including the Kalinago, Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators and claimed for the Spanish Crown in the late 15th century. The island was later taken over by the English in 1625, and in 1627, it became a English and later British colony as the first permanent settlers arrived from England.

Originally having cotton, ginger, indigo and tobacco as its exports, the island boomed as a sugar production center in the 1640s with the introduction of sugar cane from Brazil, eventually becoming one of the world's biggest sugar industries at the time. However, this plantation required a large investment and a great deal of heavy labour, and so a large number of African slaves were brought to Barbados, with the island becoming an English center of the African slave trade until slave trading was outlawed in 1807, with the final emancipation of slaves in the country occurring in 1833. To this day, like most of the Commonwealth Caribbean, the majority of the 280,000-strong population are of African descent, with Whites, Indian and Syrian people forming a tiny percentage.

The country became independent in 1966, but remained a part of the Commonwealth Realm for the next 55 years, with then Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. It became a republic on 30 November 2021, with the head of state position now occupied by a ceremonial president, following an announcement in September 2020.

The locals affectionately call the island Bim. Nothing to do with that one.

Notables Barbadians & Diaspora:

  • Internationally, the country is famous for being the homeland of Rihanna, the world's seventh best-selling music artist. Although she no longer lives in Barbados, she holds sole Barbadian citizenship and was appointed Ambassador of Culture and Youth by the Barbadian government in 2018.
  • British actor Steve Toussaint (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, House of the Dragon) is the son of Barbadian immigrants.

The Barbadian flag
Designed by Grantley W. Prescod, the flag consists of a triband of two bands of ultramarine, which are said to stand for the ocean surrounding the country and the sky, separated by a golden middle band, which represents the sand. A black trident head with a missing staff, commonly called the broken trident, is centered in the golden band, with the three points of the trident representing the three principles of democracy: government of the people, government for the people, and government by the people. The trident symbol was taken from Barbados' colonial badge, where the trident of Poseidon is shown with Britannia holding it, and the broken lower part symbolizes a symbolic break from its status as a colony.

The Barbadian national anthem

In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride was sprung
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood

We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate

The Lord has been the people's guide
For past three hundred years.
With Him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears.
Upward and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity.

We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate

  • Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
    • President: Sandra Mason
    • Prime Minister: Mia Mottley

  • Capital and largest city: Bridgetown
  • Population: 287,025
  • Area: 439 km² (169 sq mi) (183rd)
  • Currency: Barbadian dollar ($) (BBD)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: BB
  • Country calling code: 1 (area code 246)
  • Highest point: Mount Hillaby (336 m/1,102 ft) (182nd)
  • Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean (-3,646 m/-11,962 ft)