The Caribbean Island Of Barbados
Barbados is situated just
east of the Caribbean Sea, is an independent West Indian Continental Island-nation in the
western Atlantic Ocean. For over three centuries Barbados was under British rule and 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 Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
and Saint Lucia to the west. To the south lies Trinidad and Tobago—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 Hillaby in the parish of Saint
The geological composition of Barbados is of non-volcanic origin and is predominantly composed
of limestone-coral formed by subduction of the South American plate colliding with the Caribbean
plate. 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
History of Barbados
According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the
original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim.
The reason for the name "Barbados" is controversial. The Portuguese, en route to Brazil 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 map maker Visconte Maggiolo showed and named Barbados in its correct position.
Barbados Early history
The first indigenous people of Barbados are thought to be Amerindians who arrived from Venezuela
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
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
Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a constitutional
monarchy and parliamentary democracy, modeled 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. Its Parliament comprises thirty seats.
Barbados is a full and participating member of the
Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Caribbean (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME), the
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which pertains only to Barbados and Guyana but is expected to
replace the UK Privy Council for the entire English-speaking Caribbean eventually, and the
Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
The Caribbean Island of Barbados has a
two party system, the two dominant parties being the ruling Democratic Labour Party and the
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 also acted as the Regional Leader of the CSM (Caribbean Single
Market). 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
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 high point of the country being Mount Hillaby, in the Scotland District.
[340 meters (1,100 ft) above sea level]. The island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the
other West Indies isles.
Geologically composed of coral (90 m/300 ft 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 Michael lies Barbados' capital and main city, Bridgetown. Other major towns
scattered across the island include Holetown, in the parish of Saint James; Oistins, in the parish
of Christ Church;; and Speightstown, in the parish of Saint Peter.
The climate is moderate tropical, with a wet season (June–November) and a more dry season
(December–May). The annual precipitation ranges between 40-90 inches (1,000–2,300 mm).
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 about every 26 years.
The last significant hit from a hurricane to cause severe damage to Barbados was Hurricane Janet in
Parishes of Barbados.
Barbados is divided into eleven parishes
1. Christ Church
2. Saint Andrew
3. Saint George
4. Saint James
5. Saint John
6. Saint Joseph
7. Saint Lucy
8. Saint Michael
9. Saint Peter
10. Saint Philip
11. Saint Thomas
St.George and St.Thomas are the only parishes not touching the sea
Historically, the economy of Barbados had been dependent on
sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but in recent years 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. In recent years the
Government has been seen as business-friendly and economically sound. Since the late 1990s the
island has seen a construction boom, with the development and redevelopment of hotels, office
complexes, and homes.
The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, encourage direct foreign
investment, and privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. Unemployment has been reduced from
around 14 percent in the past to under 10 percent.
Circulating coins 2006
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
Tobago), 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 Toronto, 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 projects.
Transport in Barbados
Transport on the island
is good, with '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 Bridgetown or from Speightstown in the northern part of the
Barbados Tourist information
The Caribbean island of Barbados
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 Barbados 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, jewellery
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.
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 localized pronunciation of the word Barbadian which at times can sound more like
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. It gets under way from the
beginning of July, and ends with the costumed parade on Kadooment Day, held on the first Monday of
On April 1998, the Order of National Heroes Act was passed by
the Parliament of Barbados. 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.
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The ten official National Heroes of Barbados
| * Bussa ( - 1816)
* Sarah Ann Gill (1795 - 1866)
* Samuel Jackman Prescod (1806 - 1871)
* Dr. Charles Duncan O’Neal (1879 - 1936)
* Clement Osbourne Payne (1904 - 1941)
* Sir Grantley Herbert Adams (1898 - 1987)
* Rt. Hon. Errol Walton Barrow (1920 - 1987)
* Sir Hugh Worrell Springer (1913 - 1994)
* Sir Garfield St. Aubyn Sobers (1936 - )
* Sir Frank Leslie Walcott (1916-1999)
The national flag of Barbados was officially adopted on 30 November 1966, the island's first
Independence Day. It consists of a triband of two bands of ultramarine separated by a golden middle
band. A black trident head is centred within the golden band.
The official British standard colour code numbers for the flag are: Ultramarine — BCC 148 Gold — BS
The tridented centered 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 centered 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.
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.
The coat of arms of
Barbados Coat of Arm was adopted upon independence in 1966 by decree of Queen
Elizabeth. Like other former British possessions in the Caribbean, the coat of arms has a helmet
with a national symbol on top, and a shield beneath that is supported by two animals.
The national symbol found on top of the helmet for Barbados is the fist of a Barbadian holding
two sugar canes that are crossed to resemble St. Andrew's Cross. This is representative of the
importance of the sugar industry as well as Barbados celebrating its independence day on St.
The shield is gold in color. Upon it are a pair of the national flower, known as the Pride of
Barbados, and a single bearded fig tree (Ficus citrifolia). The shield is supported by a pelican
and a Dolphin fish. They stand for the Pelican Island, and fishing, respectively.
At the bottom is Barbados' national motto ("Pride and Industry") on a scroll.
Barbados is a coral island, a coral reef stretches
all around Barbados' coastline, providing for unlimited surfing conditions all over and is
guaranteed to have surf somewhere along it's shores at almost any given day of the year. The
east coast boasts the most powerful and biggest waves and the foaming surf of the 'Soup Bowl'
is a favorite spot that is internationally recognized and the venue for the annual surfing
contest. Surfboard lessons and rentals are available, as well as surf tours for the more
The waters around Barbados are a
treasure, trove of marine life. Barrier reefs, situated about one and a half to two miles (2.5 to
3km) from shore, are home to numerous schools of tropical fish, corals, turtles, rays and
barracudas, while fringe reefs are found closer to shore with smaller coral formations and more
plant life. These are home to marine life such as sea horses and eels. Barbados is also good for
wreck diving; historic Carlisle Bay has numerous wrecks and is a popular dive location, as is
Folkestone Marine Park, where the artificial reef was formed by the deliberate sinking of the Greek
freighter Stavronikita in 1976.
Barbados is one of the best wave wind surfing spots in the world,
particularly from mid-November to the end of June when the moderate trade winds blow consistently
over the shores. Beginners as well as experienced wind surfers will find ideal conditions in which
to ride the waves, jump or simply sail. Silver Sands is a popular location, where the conditions
are challenging but forgiving. A reef lies 820ft (250m) offshore and provides a steady three to
seven foot swell (1-2m), although on some days the waves here can reach up to 16ft (5m).
A cruise in and around Barbados is a relaxing way to
travel between islands, enjoy beautiful views and revel in cruise ship luxury. There are
various Eastern Caribbean cruises that either board and disembark in Barbados, or feature the
island as one of their main ports of call. Most ships dock at Deep Water Harbour, on the
southwest corner of the island, near Bridgetown. The port offers
numerous duty free shops and Bridgetown is easily accessible by shuttle or taxi.
Once in Barbados, there are a wealth of attractions and activities to keep visitors busy, and
stunning beaches to relax on. From off-road Jeep safaris to swimming with turtles, or even surfing
the 'Soup Bowl', holidaymaker in Barbados won't be hard-pushed for adventure. Those with extra time
on their hands can try kayaking, or perhaps go down in a submarine to observe the underwater world!
Other island attractions include the Animal Flower Cave, in St Lucy, and the village of Bathsheba's
picture-perfect scenery, as well as two of the oldest buildings in Barbados, the Jacobean
structures of Drax Hall and St Nicholas' Abbey.With great weather all year round, Barbados is a
superb cruise destination. There are also numerous packages and specials available to would-be
passengers throughout the year, ensuring that anyone, at any time, can pack those sunglasses and
Things to do in
Boat chartering is available for game fishing, spin fishing and inshore fishing. Game fishing
tournaments are held regularly, with the highlight of the deep-sea season being the Mutual/Mount
Gay International Tournament in April.
There are three 18-hole courses (Royal
Westmoreland, designed by Robert Trent Jones Junior, Sandy Lane and the Barbados Golf Club) and
three 9-hole courses (Rockley, Almond Beach Village and Belair). Reservations are usually required
and instruction is available at all levels.
Cricket: is the national obsession and can be enjoyed virtually all
year round, both at national and club level. Test matches and the Inter-Caribbean Shield
competition are played at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. Many of the great names of West Indian
cricket are from Barbados, most notably Sir Garfield Sobers. There are 20 horse racing meetings at
the Garrison Savannah during the year’s two main seasons (January to March and May to October), the
highlight of which is the Sandy Lane Gold Cup Race, held on the first Saturday in March. Polo is
played to a high level throughout the year.
Things to do
Stables and horses are available and horse riding
along the beach at sunset can be arranged. The Barbados National Trust organizes regular guided
hikes, as advertised in their ‘Calendar of Hikes’. The hikes, which last for approximately three
hours, begin at 0600, 1530 and 1730. Participants on evening (moonlight) walks need to bring a
torch. For further details, contact the tourist board (see General Info section).
Barbados is fringed by coral reefs which
host a variety of marine life and offer excellent scuba-diving and snorkeling. Sea horses, frog
fish, giant sand eels and the hawksbi ll turtle are among the creatures to be found around the
island. Visiting the barrier reefs half a mile to two miles away from the shore is a must. Dive
operators will provide equipment, advice and guided tours. Carlisle Bay near Bridgetown has 200
wrecks and is a good venue for beginners. Folkstone Marine Park features the popular wreck of the
Stavronikita. The best conditions for windsurfing, jet-skiing, parasailing and water-skiing are on
the south and west coasts. Crane Beach on the southeastern side is a pink-tinged stretch of sand
that is ideal for body surfing but too rough for swimming. There is also good, regular surfing at
the Soup Bowl, South Point and Rockley Beach. All watersports are easy to arrange
Getting Married in Barbados
Barbados Destination Weddings at Bathsheba Barbados Tourism Authority
Bathsheba Barbados Tourism Authority
There is no required waiting period or minimum length of stay to be married in Barbados. The
application for a marriage license must be made by both parties, in person, at the office of the
Ministry of Home Affairs.
Valid passports or original, certified copies of birth
If either party is divorced, Original Decree Absolute or a certified copy of the Final
If widowed, a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate in respect of the
Consent of both parents is required for individuals aged 16 - 18
Where necessary, all documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
Fees: if neither party is a citizen or resident of Barbados - BDS $150.00 cash and a $25.00
The registrar's office should be contacted for specific rules regarding planning your
destination or beach wedding in Barbados. They will also provide information regarding marriage
licenses and marriage certificates. Ministry of Home Affairs Tel: 246 228 8950.
View Barbados Directory
About Barbados | Accommodation | Attractions | Transportations |Shopping
Over 80% of the information on this page was taken from http://wikitravel.org the other information was gather from knowledge of the islands and