Barbados is an island in the Caribbean, northeast of Venezuela. The island is portrayed as the little England of the Caribbean because of its long association as a British colony.
The island of Barbados is divided into eleven parishes.Christchurch Parish on the South Coast. St. Lawrence Gap, a lively area full of bars and restaurants; Oistins, famous for its Friday fish fry on the beach; and Grantley Adams International Airport.St. Michael Parish on the South West Coast. Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, Garrison/Savannah, Kensington Oval are some of the highlights. St. James Parish on the West Coast. The home of the rich and the famous with calm waters, lovely beaches, lots of snorkeling and other water activities, and Holetown.St. Peter Parish on the West Coast. More calm waters and beaches. Home to Speightstown, a pretty village, and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve with wildlife imported from as far away as Australia.St. Lucy Parish on the northern tip of Barbados.St. Andrew ParishSt. Joseph Parish on the East Coast. The rugged but lovely beach of Bathsheba.St. John ParishSt. Phillip Parish on the South East Coast. Crane Beach, the oldest beach and hotel on the island; rugged beaches with protected coves for swimming.St. George Parish one of two landlocked parishes. Gunner Hill Station, an old British Army lookout point, is a good high point for looking out toward the south and west of the island. St. Thomas Parish the other landlocked parish. The famous Harrison Cave and Welshman's Gully are the the key attractions.
Barbados has the following towns and cities:Bridgetown - 'Capital'
South Coast -- The south coast is made up of several very small villages strung along the coast. Most of the budget hotels, guesthouses, and apartment are located here. Towns include Hastings, Rockley, Worthing, St.Lawrence, Oistins, Silver Sands and Maxwell.
Barbados has experienced several waves of human habitation. The first wave were of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, farmers, fishermen, and ceramists who arrived by canoe from Venezuela's Orinoco Valley around 350 CE. The Arawak people were the second wave, arriving from South America around 800 CE. Arawak settlements on the island include Stroud Point, Chandler Bay, Saint Luke's Gully, and Mapp's Cave. According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim. In the 13th century, the Caribs arrived from South America in the third wave, displacing both the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid. For the next few centuries, they lived in isolation on the island.
The name "Barbados" comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Los Barbados ("The Bearded Ones"), after the appearance of the island's fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards. Between Campos' sighting in 1536 and 1550, Spanish conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labor on plantations. The others fled the island, moving elsewhere.
Barbados was formally settled by the British in 1627. After several failed crops of cotton, sugarcane was introduced, and the colony established itself as a profitable plantation economy. Enslaved Africans were the primary source of labour on these plantations until 1834, when they won their freedom through several years of rebellion, supported by increasing pressure from anti-slavery movements in Britain.
The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. Though the shackles were removed, much of the repressive labour conditions of slavery remained on the island, until the 1930s, when the educated black middle class fought for universal adult suffrage and took the control of the country's local governance away from the British-descended local aristocracy. The country began a process of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s which led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1980s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. Barbados has developed into a stable democracy with one of the highest rates of literacy in the Western Hemisphere.
Locals refer to themselves as Bajans and things Barbadian as Bajan.
For its size, Barbados boasts a large international airport with dozens of flights arriving in the high season from the UK and Canada as well as the United States.
Buses run from a stop across the road from the airport up the coast to Bridgetown, but a taxi is the most convenient way to get to your hotel on arrival.
Many cruise ships dock in Bridgetown, and in fact the Bridgetown deep water harbour has just been expanded to accommodate even more vessels. Private moorings are available around the island. Note: stiff penalties prohibit the dropping of anchors on coral reefs.
The bus system is extensive, cheap, and fast - if you're headed to somewhere on the main route - but a car (or mini-moke) is the only way to see many of the out-of-the-way sights. Many of the drivers will hold a bus for you if they see you're from out of town reflecting the typical welcoming spirit. Buses are run by the Barbados Transport Authority (blue buses, quiet), private operators (yellow buses with VERY loud music, and private vans (white minivans, usually cramped and crowded). All charge the same fare (BD$1.50). Yellow buses and minivans will make change and even accept dollars but you need exact change, in Barbados Dollars, for a BTA bus.
There are also more than enough taxis to take you wherever you need to go on the island for reasonable prices. It is best to negotiate the price before you get in but most taxi drivers are honest and you are unlikely to be overcharged.
Mopeds and bikes can also be rented, on the island, to explore sites that aren't easily reached by cars.
Another fun way to get around is to rent a moke available from any number of local car rental agencies.
If you are driving, roads on the island are generally quite narrow, with the exception of the ABC highway. It is advisable to be extra cautious as many roads on the island have sharp turns, steep inclines, and are generally quite bumpy, although most are paved. Many of these proclaimed highways do not have sidewalks, so there can be pedestrians on the street sharing the road. Many bus stops are also on the side of roads where there are no sidewalks.
The official language in Barbados is English. Locals also speak an English dialect reminiscent of the Scottish highland dialect.....which is referred to as Bajan. There are a few African words interspersed with the dialect. Communication will not be a problem for any English speaker as Barbados has one of the highest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere of around 99.9 percent.
The local currency is the Bajan dollar, but US dollars are accepted just about everywhere in shops and restaurants. The exchange rate is fixed at 1.995 Bajan dollars to the US Dollar but almost everyone uses US$1 = BD$2. Keep in mind that exchangers in hotels may insist on taking an additional percentage of the exchange (typically 5%). Lots of duty free shops in Bridgetown catering to the cruise liner trade, where you can buy jewellery, etc.
Barbados has a great variety of street vendors. Haggle aggresivly. Don't stop until you're at about a third of the original price.
Flying fish -- the icon of the islands is found on coins, bills, and menus. Flying fish is usually served lightly breaded and fried, with a yellow sauce. Be warned: this yellow sauce consists of VERY hot Scotch Bonnet peppers with onions in a mustard sauce.Pepperpot -- a dish of long tradition and great pride among the Bajans, it is a pork stew in a spicy dark brown sauce. Don't miss this.Try "Flying fish cutters," a local sandwich.Visitors seeking fast food will probably be disappointed; the titanic burger chains of the US failed miserably upon introduction to Barbados (Bajans eat nearly no beef). However, chicken and fish sandwiches are wildly popular, so KFC and Chefette are ubiquitous.Bajan cuisine is a strange mix of spicy, flavorful treats along with bland traditional English fayre. So be prepared for meals where firey stews sit side-by-side with beans on toast.Every Friday night the place to be is the town of Oistins (on the south coast) for the "fish fry". This is a market where you can buy fresh fish cooked according to local recipes. Locals stay there late and dance until the early hours of the morning. This is now the second most popular tourist attraction on the island, after Harrison's Cave.There are many fine restaurants on the island with the top two being The Cliff (on the west coast) and The Restaurant at South Sea (on the south coast). Both are quite expensive, but serve beautiful food and a wonderful dining experience, overlooking the sea. Still, you can find many hidden gems if you look hard enough. Waterfront Cafe on the Careenage is an excellent place to sample Bajan Cuisine while sipping the local Banks Beer or a spicy Rum Punch.Fish cakes, BBQ pig tails, fresh coconut, and roasted peanuts are offered by the many street vendors.
Barbados has some of the purest water in the world. Cruise ship employees are often seen stocking up on their water supplies while docked at the island.
Rum and rum drinks are featured at every bar. Perhaps the most famous domestic brand offered is Mount Gay Rum, which is very delicious. Tours of the Mount Gay Rum factory are available, during which samples of their premium aged rum may be given.
Beer and wine is easy to find as well. Banks beer is Barbados' own beer and very good.
Tours of the Banks brewery are also available. While the tour itself is very hot and only moderatly interesting an unlimited amount of beer is provided to those waiting for the tour to begin. Try to show up a few hours early and take advantage of a very good deal.
Barbados offers everything from inexpensive guest houses with bed and breakfast from under $40.00 U.S daily for a single in the summer to luxury accommodations at some of the world's best hotels at $1,600 in the prime season.
Barbados apartments and apartment hotels offer the comfort of a hotel room combined with the convenience of your own cooking facilities. Most are located on/near the beach and are especially suitable for families.
There is a wide selection of luxury villas and cottages available for rent throughout Barbados. Many of these villas and cottages are located on or near the beach.
Privately owned vacation rentals are often rented at much lower costs than hotel or resort rooms. There is a wide selection of these holiday properties available throughout Barbados and many are located on or near the beach. Vacation properties range from beach houses to condos and apartments.
Luxury Barbados Villa Rentals - Villas in Barbados by CaribbeanDays provide guests with an extensive collection of more than one hundred and fifty of the finest Barbados vacation rentals. Usually fully staffed and generally offering private pools, outdoor dining and other upscale amenities, Barbados villas are ideal for couples, families or groups seeking privacy, relaxation and comfort.
34 Banyan Court Apartments - Exclusive and newly refurbished apartment in St. Michael. 5 minute walking distance to beach, large shared swimming pool, free Internet access.
Bajan Breeze Guest House - Beautiful guesthouse rooms US $49 with private bath in a newly renovated home. 2-minute walk to beaches. Convenient to dining, shops, nightlife, transport, and attractions.
Sunset Blue Villa - A luxury villa and apartment located near Holetown in the parish of St. James. Ten minute walking distance to beaches, restaurants, and shops. Features wireless broadband internet access.
Barbados Villa Holidays from Villa Retreats - Selection of luxury villa and apartments available around the island, many with private pool.
BarbadosVillaVacations.com - Wide selection of both luxury Barbados villa rentals and moderately priced vacation rentals and holiday homes.
Bellairs Research Institute is a teaching and research facility operated by Montreal's McGill University ] focusing on marine biology and environmental studies.
Barbados Hospitality Institute Operates the The Hotel PomMarine
Barbados Community College
The University of the West Indies - Cave Hill Campus
Although a very safe place to travel, it is generally suggested to avoid certain high risk activities. Such activities include walking on secluded beaches late at night, or walking in unfamiliar residential neighborhoods away from main roads.
The most common kinds of crimes against tourists include taxi fraud, robbery, and shortchanging; however, even these are rare and usually confined to high-traffic places like Bridgetown. Bajans are by nature exceptionally friendly, and will go out of their way to be kind to tourists, especially in the earlier part of the tourist season (November and December).
A special area of concern for visitors to Barbados is drugs. The country's strict anti-drug policy is made apparent to visitors coming through Customs. In practice, however, Europeans and Americans in Barbados can be offered marijuana or even cocaine frequently. Sellers will often roam the beaches selling aloe vera or other such innocuous goods as a pretense to begin a conversation about "ganja," "smoke" or "bad habits." As a result, many hotels and resorts now ban the use of aloe vera under the pretense that it "stains the towels." Regardless of one's inclination to using these drugs, it is not advisable to accept these offers. Marijuana is considered bad and is not accepted by Bajan police. While Bajan police are not frequently encountered, they prosecute drug crimes with great prejudice.
If travelling with a group of friends try to keep a tally of who gets offered drugs the most. Anything less than three times per day is abnormally low.
Beware of the sun, Barbados is only 13 degrees off of the equator and you can burn very easily. It is very important to keep your water intake high. Drink plenty of water or bring an umbrella to shade yourself against the sun, which is commonly done in the country.
During nightfall, it is advisable to put on bug spray, as mosquitoes are often a nuisance to anyone staying outdoors for prolonged periods. This is most prevalent while eating at outdoor restaurants.
Despite, or maybe because of the tropical climate, Bajans tend to dress conservatively when not on the beach. A bikini probably won't be appreciated in town and certainly not in church.
Barbadians are particularly sensitive to manners and saying good morning to people even strangers goes a long way to earning their respect.
There are several small internet cafes located around the island as well as connections offered by the larger resort hotels.
Barbados, situated just east of the Caribbean Sea, is an independent island nation in the western Atlantic Ocean. At roughly 13° North and 59° West, the country lies in the southern Caribbean region, where it is a part of the Lesser Antilles island-chain. Barbados is relatively close to the South American continent, around 434 kilometres (270 miles) northeast of Venezuela. Its closest island neighbours are Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the west, Grenada to the south-west, and Trinidad and Tobago to the south, with which Barbados now shares a fixed official maritime boundary.
Barbados' total land area is about 430 square kilometres, (166 square miles), and is primarily low-lying, with some higher regions in the island's interior. The organic composition of Barbados is thought to be of non-volcanic origin and is predominantly composed of limestone-coral. The island's atmosphere is tropical with constant trade winds off the Atlantic Ocean serving to keep temperatures mild. Some more undeveloped areas of the country contain woodland and scrubland. Other parts of the interior which contribute to the agriculture industry are dotted with large sugarcane estates and wide, gently sloping pastures, with many good views down to the sea coast.
Barbados has one of the highest standards of living and literacy rates in the world. Despite its small size, Barbados constantly ranks in the top 30 (or 31) countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) rankings. It is currently ranked third in the Americas. The island is also a major tourist destination.
The earliest inhabitants of Barbados were American nomads. Three waves of migrants moved north toward North America. The first wave was of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, who were farmers and fishermen, arrived by canoe from South America (Venezuela's Orinoco Valley) around 350 CE. The Arawak people were the second wave of migrants, arriving from South America around 800 CE. Arawak settlements on the island include Stroud Point, Chandler Bay, Saint Luke's Gully and Mapp's Cave. According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim. In the thirteenth century, the Caribs arrived from South America in the third wave, displacing both the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid. For the next few centuries, the Caribs — like the Arawak and the Salodoid-Barrancoid — lived in isolation on the island.
The origin of the name Barbados is controversial. It is unknown whether the Spanish or the Portuguese were the first to conquer (discover) and name the island. As early as 1511, the island is referred to as Isla de los Barbados (island of the bearded ones) in an official Spanish document. It is a matter of conjecture whether the word "bearded" refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree (Ficus citrifolia), indigenous to the island, to bearded Amerindians occupying the island, or to the foam spraying over the outlying reefs giving the impression of a beard. In 1519, a map produced by the Genoese mapmaker Vesconte de Maggiola showed and named Barbados in its correct position north of Tobago.
Spanish conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labour on plantations. Other Caribs fled the island.
British sailors who landed on Barbados in 1625 at the site of present-day Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. 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.
Starting in the 1620s, an increasing number of black slaves were brought to the isle. 5000 locals died of fever in 1647, and hundreds of slaves were executed by Royalist planters during the English Civil War in the 1640s, because they feared that the ideas of the Levellers might spread to the slave population if Parliament took control of Barbados.
Large numbers of Celtic people, mainly from Ireland and Scotland, went to Barbados as indentured servants. Over the next several centuries the Celtic population was used as a buffer between the Anglo-Saxon plantation owners and the larger African population, variously serving as members of the Colonial militia and playing a strong role as allies of the larger African slave population in a long string of colonial rebellions. As well, in 1659, the English shipped many Irishmen and Scots off to Barbados as slaves, and King James II and others of his dynasty also sent Scots and English off to the isle: for example, after the crushing of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. The modern descendants of this original slave population are sometimes derisively referred to as Red Legs, or locally 'ecky becky', and are some of the poorest inhabitants of modern Barbados. There has also been large-scale intermarriage between the African and Celtic populations on the islands.
With the increased implementation of slave codes, which created differential treatment between Africans and the white settlers, 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 where 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 immigrated to neighbouring islands and remained in tropical climates. Nevertheless, as those poor whites who had or acquired the means to emigrate often did so, and with the increased importation of African slaves, Barbados turned from mainly Celtic in the seventeenth century to overwhelmingly black by the nineteenth century.
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 British colonies in North America, most notably South Carolina. To work the plantations, West Africans were transported and enslaved on Barbados and other Caribbean islands. The slave trade ceased in 1804. In 1816, the continuation of slavery caused the largest major slave rebellion in the island's history. One thousand people died in the revolt for freedom, with 144 slaves executed and 123 deported by the king's army. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire 18 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 six years.
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 unenfranchised 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, then known as the Barbados Progressive League, in 1938. Though a staunch supporter of the monarchy, Adams and his party 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 colonies of Britain, held limited legislative power. Adams served as its first and only "Prime Minister", 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 within the Commonwealth of Nations on November 30,1966, with Errol Barrow its first Prime Minister.
Barbados has been an independent state in the Commonwealth since November 30, 1966, and as such functions as a parliamentary democracy modelled on the British Westminster system. Its Parliament comprises thirty seats. The present government is proposing that Barbados become a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, with a ceremonial president replacing the British Sovereign. This issue is still being hotly debated, as the island has been governmentally autonomous for decades and the Crown's position is strictly nominal.
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 currently 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).
Barbados has been represented by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) for fourteen years, since the year 1993. It is commonly referred to as the Owen Arthur Administration.
A relatively flat island, rising gently to the central highland region, the highest point being Mount Hillaby, in the Scotland district, at 336 metres (1,100 ft) above sea level. The island is located in a slightly excentric position in the Atlantic Ocean, to the east of the other Caribbean islands. The climate is tropical, with a rainy season from June to October.
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 belt. The island does get brushed or hit about every three years and the average time between direct hurricane hits is about 26 years.
In the parish of Saint Michael lies Barbados' capital and main city, Bridgetown. Locally Bridgetown is sometimes referred to as "The City," but the most common reference is simply "Town". Other 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.
It is geologically composed of coral (90 m thick). The land falls in a series of "terraces" in the west and goes into an incline in the east. Most of Barbados is circled by coral reefs.
Also the geography serves as a setting for a moderate tropical climate with only two seasons; dry and wet. The dry season (Dec-May) and wet (June- Nov) leaves the precipitation with about 40-90 inches of rain with all the different land types included.
Barbados is currently divided into eleven administrative parishes:
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 increasingly 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 currently.
The economy contracted in 2001 and 2002 due to slowdowns in tourism, consumer spending and the impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks 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 C$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.
In 2004, it was announced that Barbados' Kensington Oval would be one of the final venues hosting the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
It is thought that the year 2006 will turn out to have been one of the busiest years for building construction ever in Barbados, as the building-boom on the island has entered a final stage for several multi-million dollar projects across the island. .
Barbados could also be said to be a market economy based largely on tourism, and like said before, sugar. The use of agriculture is only a very small percentage of the work force.
Characteristics and tourist information
The island of Barbados has a single major airport, the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) (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 currently undergoing a US$100 million upgrade and expansion.
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. The 'Soup Bowl' near to Bathsheba is a very popular spot with surfers all year round.
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.
Attractions, landmarks and points of interest
Tourism accounts for the for almost one half of the economy.
Name / Parish Location:
List of: Cities, towns and villages in Barbados.BridgetownSpeightstownHoletownOistins
Transport on the island is good, with 'route taxis', called "ZR's" (pronounced "Zed-Rs" not "Zee-Rs"), travelling to most points on the island. These small buses can at times be crowded, but 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 island.
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 BDS. The smaller buses from the two privately-owned systems ("ZRs" and "minibuses") can give change; the larger blue buses from the government-operated Barbados Transport Board system cannot. Most routes require a connection in Bridgetown. Some drivers within the competitive privately owned systems are reluctant to advise you to use competing services, even if those would be more suitable.
Competition for patrons extends to the bus terminals (sometimes just a parking lot full of buses); it is normal for the 'ZR' bus conductors to attempt to escort you to their vehicle and engage in loud altercations with other drivers and conductors, in competition for your patronage.
Some hotels also provide visitors with shuttles to points of interest on the island from outside the hotel lobby. The island also has plenty of taxis for hire, though they can be expensive. Visitors also have the option of transport by car, presuming that they have a driver's licence (issued in their native country). There are several locally-owned and -operated vehicle rental agencies in Barbados but there are no multi-national car-rental agencies such as Avis, Europcar or Hertz.
Barbados has a population of about 279,000 and a population growth rate of 0.33% (Mid-2005 estimates). Close to 90 percent of all Barbadians (also known colloquially as Bajan) are of African descent ("Afro-Bajans"), mostly descendants of the slave labourers on the sugar plantations. The remainder of the population includes groups of Europeans ("Anglo-Bajans" / "Euro-Bajans") mainly from Britain, Ireland, Chinese locally known as Bajan-Chiney, Bajan Hindus from India and Muslims from Bangladesh and Pakistan, and an influential "Arab-Bajans" group mainly of Syrian and Lebanese descent. On the island are many people of Creole descent, a mixture of Afro-Caribbean and European descent, and many Afro-Bajans do have some British or Scottish antecedents.
Other groups in Barbados include people from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and expatriates from Latin America. Barbadians who return after years of residence in the U.S. are called "Bajan Yankees"; this term is considered derogatory by some.
The country's official language is British English, the local dialect of which is referred to as Bajan, spoken by most. In religion, most Barbadians are Protestant Christians (67%), chiefly of the Anglican Church, but there are other Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Hindu and Muslim minorities. Barbados is currently a chief destination for emigrants from the South American nation of Guyana. The biggest communities outside the Afro-Caribbean community are:
# The Indo-Guyanese, an important part of the economy due to the increase of immigrants from partner country Guyana. There are reports of a growing Indo-Bajan diaspora originating from Guyana and India. 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.
# Euro-Bajans have settled in Barbados since the 1500s, originating from England, Ireland and Scotland. More commonly they are known as "White Bajans", although some carry Afro-Caribbean traces. 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 .
# Latinos and Hispanics: a very small minority. They come from countries such as Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic and have been steadily on the increase while Brazilians and Venezuelans have been in Barbados since as far back as the 1800s. Some Columbians have also been relocating to the island to escape poverty as well as Panamanians, Belizeans and Cubans. Some Samba, Merengue and Reggaeton has been introduced by the Latin Americans as a sub-culture.
# Chinese-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 Jamaica and Trinidad. Most if not all first arrived in the 1940s during the Second World War, originating mainly from the then British territory of Hong Kong. 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.
# Lebanese and Syrians are the middle eastern community on the island and make up for 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 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 cricket players, including Garfield Sobers and Frank Worrell.
Citizens are officially called Barbadians; Barbados' residents, however, colloquially refer to themselves or the products of the country as "Bajan". The term "Bajan" may have come from a localized 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, second only in size to the carnival held in Trinidad and Tobago.
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 Crop Over festival includes various 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 August.
Sports in Barbados
Several sports are played in Barbados. As in other Caribbean countries, 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.
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.
Barbados also has a national football team.
Barbados is the most easterly island in the Caribbean and is the only island completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. This distance from the rest of the caribbean may be the reason for the metaphorical distance that Bajans have to the rest of the caribbean which is sometimes seen as standoffish.The island of Barbados was first recorded with the spelling Barbadoes. It also has the nickname "Little England" and the British colloquial nickname "Bimshire" (pronounced "Bim-shur").Imperial Palm trees found conveniently planted on the island are not indigenous to Barbados but were imported and strategically placed to be used as land markers for the sugar mill plantations. They can be seen from great distances across the relatively flat terrain. Although it has been declared the "most British" island in the Caribbean, Barbados was named by the Portuguese-explorer called Pedro Campos. British settlers first arrived 84 years after the Portuguese had left to continue their exploration of South America (Brazil).One of the signatures on the original United States constitution was a Barbadian, as was the printer of the document .Seven of the first twenty-one Governors of the U.S. states known as the Carolinas were Barbadians.The 1652 United Kingdom-Barbados Treaty of Oistins guaranteed that Barbadians would have "No Taxation Without Representation" under the British Government .During the 1800s, Barbados was said to be one of the healthiest countries in the World .The first records of rum and grapefruit are said to have come from Barbados.Barbados invented the music Soca-Samba, a fusion of Caribbean Soca and Brazilian Samba.Brazilian Jews in exile introduced sugarcane to Barbados.The British system of longitude was discovered by charting the distance between Portsmouth, England and Bridgetown, Barbados, by using the position of the sun in relation to both locations.In 1884, through the Barbados Agricultural Society, Barbados attempted to become one of the earliest, albeit most distant provinces of Canada. This proposal of political association with Canada was later mooted yet again by several politicians of the Senate of Barbados in the 1950s and 1960s.During the 1990s, at the suggestion of Trinidad and Tobago's Patrick Manning, Barbados attempted a political union with Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. The project stalled after the then Prime Minister of Barbados Lloyd Erskine Sandiford became ill and his party (the Democratic Labour Party) lost the next general election , . Barbados continues to share close ties with Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, claiming the highest number of Guyanese immigrants after the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.Barbados had a United States military base based in the Parish of Saint Lucy at Harrisons Point, where secret projects such as Project HARP were carried out on Paragon Beach near the airport. It was said that loud explosions could be heard throughout much of the country and broke many windows .In addition to being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, Barbados also has one of the most dense road networks in the world. Although Barbados is only about 34 kilometres (21 mi) at its widest point, a car journey from Six Cross Roads in St. Philip (south-east) to North Point in St. Lucy (north-central) can take one and a half hours or longer, thanks to the country's narrow, winding and rough roads.Barbados has half as many registered cars as citizens in the country.The first letter of a vehicle's license plate designates its usage or owner's registered parish of residence. "Z" and "ZR" are for taxis; "H" for rental cars; "B" for buses and minibuses; "CD" for diplomatic cars; and "3D" or "7D" for defence force vehicles, while "ML" or "MT" with green plates usually designate military, police or government vehicles. As regards residence, "X" is for Christ Church; "A" for St. Andrew; "G" for St. George; "S" for St. James; "J" for St. John; "O" for St. Joseph; "L" for St. Lucy; "M" for St. Michael; "E" for St. Peter; "P" for St. Philip; and "T" for St. Thomas.Barbados and Japan have the highest per capita occurrences of centenarians in the world .During her stay on the island in the late 1970s, singer Nina Simone had an affair with a well-known Prime Minister of Barbados. She describes the affair in her autobiography I Put A Spell On You (1992) and dedicated a song to him on A Single Woman (1993).Barbados originated from the Amazon basin and split from the South American continent during the last ice age, making it the most easterly island of the Caribbean. It sits on the edge of the South American plate, and was formed by limestone.The drinking age in Barbados is 18, but those aged 10-17 are allowed to consume alcohol provided they are with a parent.It is an offence for anyone, even a child, to wear camouflage clothing Notable Barbadians include the singer Rihanna, the artist Rupee and the Track & Field athlete Obadele Thompson.
The national flower is the Pride of Barbados or Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L.) Sw., which grows across the island.
The trident 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 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.
Coat of arms
The coat of arms depicts two animals which are supporting the shield. On the left is a "dolphin", symbolic of the fishing industry and sea-going 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 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 motto.
There are ten Barbadan national heroes:Errol BarrowSir Grantley Adams ()BussaSarah Ann GillSamuel Jackman PrescodSir Frank WalcottCharles Duncan O'NealSir Garfield SobersClement PayneSir Hugh Springer
: See also: List of Eastern Caribbean people
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