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lauantai 10. syyskuuta 2016

Barbados, Cool Facts #135

<= 134. Bahamas                                                                                                     136. Dominica => 

1. Barbados Name Origins

It's unclear whether the Spanish or Portuguese were the first Europeans in Barbados so the name Barbados comes either from the Spanish word "los barbados" or Portuguese "os barbados", both meaning "the bearded ones".

There are a couple of theories what is referred to with the name "the bearded ones". It can refer to the bearded fig-tree with its long, hanging roots. It might also refer to the bearded Caribs, who inhabited the island. One possibility is also the visual impression of a beard, when the sea foam sprays over the outlying reefs.

Carib family

2. European Colonization 

The Spanish and Portuguese visited Barbados in the 1500s, but weren't interested about the island. Spanish explorers still claimed the island for the Spanish Crown but the Portuguese didn't. The English ship "Olive Blossom" arrived in Barbados in 1625 and the crew took possession of the island. The first settlers arrived in 1627 and it became first an English colony and later British colony. 

The settlers established sugar plantations in the 1640s and they used forced labour there. African slaves were brought to the plantations but also prisoners and slaves from Ireland, Scotland and England. These historical events have influenced the demographics of the country. 
Ethnic groups in Barbados

1. Afro-Caribbean: the majority of people in Barbados, black or mixed-descent
2. Indo-Guyanese: since 1990s a lot of people from Guyana and India's southern states have migrated to Barbados
3. Euro-Bajans: descendants of the Irish, Scottish and English that arrived in the 1600s
4. Chinese-Barbadians: nearly all the Chinese arrived in the 1940s during the World War II
5. Arab community: mostly Lebanese and Syrians who arrived in Barbados through trade opportunities
6. Jews: arrived after the first settlers in 1627
7. Muslim-Indian Barbadian: largely of Gujarati ancestry. Many of them run small businesses in Barbados

Sugar plantation in Barbados

3. National Hero Bussa

The national hero of Barbados is Bussa, a slave who led the largest slave rebellion in the history of Barbados. Bussa led over twenty thousand slaves against the British, who suppressed the rebellion and executed the rebels. In 1985 a statue of Bussa was erected in Bridgetown. In 1833 slavery was abolished in Barbados, but the white plantation owners remained in the leadership of the island's administration.

4. Little England

Little England is the nickname of Barbados because of the prominent British influence in the country. The British influence is said to be the most prominent in Barbados out of all the Caribbean islands. The Anglican church rules in the town, cricket is the national passion and on saturdays people gather to watch horse racing. 

5. Society of Barbados

Despite the dense population of the country, Barbados is wealthy. In the western hemisphere, Barbados is the least corrupted country and has the highest income level after North America. Historically Barbados was dependent on the cultivation of sugarcane but in the 1970s and 1980s the country diversified into the manufacturing and tourism sectors.

Also offshore finance and information services have become important foreign exchange earners. Barbados has some disputes over the maritime border with its neighbors, with Trinidad and Tobago it has to resolve the fishing area border and with Venezuela the exploitation of the undersea oil reserves.


1519 The Spanish sailed to Barbados, the easternmost island of the West Indies
1625 The local population had disappeared completely after the arrival of the British
1640s Large sugar plantations were established and African slaves were brought to work there
1652 Barbados became an autonomic colony
1816 The slaves led by Bussa revolted against the British, who suppressed the rebellion and executed the rebels
1833 Slavery was abolished by Great Britain
1938 Union leader Grantley Adams established the BLP party to defend the rights of the black population
1955 DLP was established
1958 Barbados joined the West Indies Federation, which fell apart in 1962 after internal disputes in the federation between the leading Jamaica and Trinidad
1961 DLP won the elections and Errol W. Barrow became Prime Minister
1966 Barbados became independent. A comprehensive social program was created and basic education and healthcare became free of charge
1973 Barbados was one of the founding members of CARICOM

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