Barbadian /bahr bay"dee euhn/, adj., n.
/bahr bay"dohz, -dohs, -deuhs/, n.
an island in the E West Indies constituting an independent state in the Commonwealth of Nations: formerly a British colony. 257,731; 166 sq. mi. (430 sq. km). Cap.: Bridgetown.

* * *


Introduction Barbados -
Background: The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Its economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. Geography Barbados
Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates: 13 10 N, 59 32 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 431 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 431 sq km
Area - comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 97 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: tropical; rainy season (June to October)
Terrain: relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m
Natural resources: petroleum, fish, natural gas
Land use: arable land: 37.21% permanent crops: 2.33% other: 60.47% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides Environment - current issues: pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers Environment - international party to: Climate Change, Climate
agreements: Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity
Geography - note: easternmost Caribbean island People Barbados -
Population: 276,607 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.4% (male 29,888; female 29,338) 15-64 years: 69.8% (male 94,214; female 98,811) 65 years and over: 8.8% (male 9,378; female 14,978) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.46% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 13.32 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 8.38 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/ female total population: 0.93 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 11.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.49 years female: 76.12 years (2002 est.) male: 70.9 years
Total fertility rate: 1.64 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.17% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 1,800 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 130 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial) adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)
Ethnic groups: black 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%
Religions: Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12%
Languages: English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school total population: 97.4% male: 98% female: 96.8% (1995 est.) Government Barbados -
Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: Barbados
Government type: parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth
Capital: Bridgetown Administrative divisions: 11 parishes; Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas; note - the city of Bridgetown may be given parish status
Independence: 30 November 1966 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 30 November (1966)
Constitution: 30 November 1966
Legal system: English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Clifford Straughn HUSBANDS (since 1 June 1996) head of government: Prime Minister Owen Seymour ARTHUR (since 6 September 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Billie MILLER (since 6 September 1994) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; prime minister appointed by the governor general
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21-member body appointed by the governor general) and the House of Assembly (28 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: House of Assembly - last held 20 January 1999 (next to be held by January 2004) election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - BLP 26, DLP 2
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Judicature (judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services) Political parties and leaders: Barbados Labor Party or BLP [Owen ARTHUR]; Democratic Labor Party or DLP [Clyde MASCOLL]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Richard HAYNES] Political pressure groups and Barbados Workers Union [Leroy
leaders: TROTMAN]; Clement Payne Labor Union [David COMMISSIONG]; People's Progressive Movement [Eric SEALY]; Worker's Party of Barbados [Dr. George BELLE] International organization ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC,
participation: FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Michael Ian KING consulate(s): Los Angeles consulate(s) general: Miami and New York FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467 telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200 chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador
US: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Marcia BERNICHT embassy: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown; (courier) ALICO Building-Cheapside, Bridgetown mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown; CMR 1014, APO AA 34055 telephone: [1] (246) 436-4950 FAX: [1] (246) 429-5246
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold, and blue with the head of a black trident centered on the gold band; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident) Economy Barbados
Economy - overview: Historically, the Barbadian economy had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but production in recent years has diversified into manufacturing and tourism. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners, and there is also a light manufacturing sector. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, encourage direct foreign investment, and privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. The economy contracted in 2001 due to slowdowns in tourism and consumer spending. Growth will remain anemic in 2002 with a recovery likely near the end of the year.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $4 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $14,500 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 6% industry: 16% services: 78% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 128,500 (2001 est.) Labor force - by occupation: services 75%, industry 15%, agriculture 10% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: 10% (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $847 million (including grants) expenditures: $886 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export Industrial production growth rate: -3.2% (2000 est.) Electricity - production: 740 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 688.2 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, vegetables, cotton
Exports: $272 million (2000)
Exports - commodities: sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components, clothing
Exports - partners: Caribbean Community 43.2%, US 15.3%, UK 13.2% (2000)
Imports: $1.16 billion (2000)
Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
Imports - partners: US 40.8%, Caribbean Community 19.8%, UK 8.1%, Japan 5.2%, Canada 4.2% (2000)
Debt - external: $425 million (2000 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $9.1 million (1995)
Currency: Barbadian dollar (BBD)
Currency code: BBD
Exchange rates: Barbadian dollars per US dollar - 2.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March Communications Barbados - Telephones - main lines in use: 108,000 (1997) Telephones - mobile cellular: 8,013 (1997)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA domestic: island-wide automatic telephone system international: satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 237,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus two cable channels) (1997)
Televisions: 76,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .bb Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 19 (2000)
Internet users: 6,000 (2000) Transportation Barbados -
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 1,650 km paved: 1,628 km unpaved: 22 km (1998)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Bridgetown, Speightstown (Port Charles Marina)
Merchant marine: total: 41 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 629,987 GRT/1,073,991 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 1, Bahamas, The 1, Canada 4, Germany 1, Greece 2, Hong Kong 7, Norway 7, United Kingdom 18 (2002 est.) ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 26, combination bulk 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 4
Airports: 1 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 1 over 3,047 m: 1 (2001) Military Barbados -
Military branches: Royal Barbados Defense Force (including Ground Forces and Coast Guard), Royal Barbados Police Force Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 78,132 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 53,532 (2002 est.)
service: Military expenditures - dollar $NA
figure: Military expenditures - percent of NA%
GDP: Transnational Issues Barbados - Disputes - international: none
Illicit drugs: one of many Caribbean transshipment points for narcotics bound for Europe and the US

* * *

Island country, West Indies.

The most easterly of the Caribbean islands, it lies about 270 mi (430 km) northeast of Venezuela. Area: 166 sq mi (430 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 270,000. Capital: Bridgetown. More than nine-tenths of the population is black. Language: English (official). Religion: Christianity. Currency: Barbados dollar. Composed of coral accumulation, Barbados is low and flat except in its north-central part; its highest point is Mount Hillaby, at 1,104 ft (336 m). There is little surface water. It is almost encircled by coral reefs and lacks good natural harbors. The economy is based on tourism and sugar, while the offshore financial sector is growing. It is a constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses; its chief of state is the British monarch, represented by a governor-general, and the head of government is the prime minister. The island was probably inhabited by Arawaks who originally came from South America. Spaniards may have landed by 1518, and by 1536 they had apparently wiped out the Indian population. Barbados was settled by the English in the 1620s. Slaves were brought in to work the sugar plantations, which were especially prosperous in the 17th–18th century. The British Empire abolished slavery in 1834, and all the Barbados slaves were freed by 1838. In 1958 Barbados joined the West Indies Federation. When the latter dissolved in 1962, Barbados sought independence from Britain; it achieved Commonwealth status in 1966.

* * *

▪ 2009

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 282,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Owen Arthur and, from January 16, David Thompson

      The opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP), led by attorney David Thompson, achieved a decisive return to power in January 2008 when it defeated the incumbent Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in the Barbados general election; the DLP captured 20 seats in the House of Assembly to the BLP's 10. Nine BLP ministers lost their seats, though party leader Owen Arthur retained his.

      Barbados reaffirmed in February its decision not to join Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez's PetroCaribe initiative, under which Caracas provided petroleum products and crude oil to Caricom countries on a deferred-payment basis for a portion of supplies. Prime Minister Thompson called on his Caricom colleagues in June to draw up a common energy policy.

      That same month Barbados asked the United Nations to agree to a further extension of its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by another 150 miles, as provided under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It was only two years earlier that the UNCLOS arbitration panel had defined the EEZ limits between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

      In July, Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramírez publicly declared that 2 of the 24 blocks in Barbados's first offshore block auction were partly in Venezuelan waters. Officials said that this revelation could have implications for the success of the auction.

David Renwick

▪ 2008

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 294,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      Negotiations (stalled for more than three years) on a bilateral fishing treaty between Barbados and neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago resumed in January 2007, following the 2006 ruling by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone. The UNCLOS arbitration panel, which marked the maritime boundary with a line midway between the two Caribbean countries, also urged that Trinidad and Tobago, while making provision for conservation, permit Barbadian fishermen to continue their historic practice of fishing in Trinidadian waters.

      In March, Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur set 2025 as the year by which Barbados should become “a fully developed country.” He envisioned Barbados driven primarily by a service economy and able to provide its citizens with “full employment” and “widespread material prosperity.”

      Energy Minister Elizabeth Thompson confirmed in May that Barbados would forge ahead with the importation of natural gas by pipeline from Trinidad and Tobago. The project had been pursued for some time by the Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline Co., a private firm.

      In June Barbados launched its first open-bid round for offshore oil and gas acreage. International companies could bid on 24 blocks in the continental shelf and deep water. An offshore exploratory well drilled by ConocoPhillips six years earlier, however, did not prove to be commercial.

David Renwick

▪ 2007

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 270,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      The governing Barbados Labour Party (BLP) picked up an extra supporter in the House of Assembly in January 2006 when Clyde Mascoll resigned from the opposition Democratic Labour Party, which he had led in the parliament, to join the BLP. This action followed a vote of no confidence by four of the seven BLP members in the House.

      The U.S. rating agency Standard & Poor's revised its outlook for Barbados from negative to stable in July, thanks primarily to an expected budget surplus of 0.5% of GDP.

      Like other Caribbean countries, Barbados was busily restructuring its long-established sugar industry, which had been a major economic activity for generations, to focus less on exporting bulk sugar to overseas refineries and more on using it as an industrial input into products such as ethanol—an additive to, or possible substitute for, gasoline in motor vehicles. In August a government spokesman announced that the two remaining sugar factories could be converted to ethanol production.

      According to Energy Minister Elizabeth Thompson, Barbados attracted attention from international oil companies that wanted to restart the search for oil offshore, last attempted in 2001. Blocks could be offered in early 2007.

David Renwick

▪ 2006

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 270,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      In 2005 it was estimated that about $2 billion would be invested during the next three to five years in the Barbados tourism sector, which included the construction or refurbishment of 2,000 hotel rooms.

      In July Standard & Poor's revised its outlook on Barbados's long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit rating, lowering it to negative from stable because of rising external pressures due to high current-account deficits. An increase in mostly short-term external debt was also a factor in the decision.

      In an unusual act for a politician, Prime Minister Owen Arthur decided in August not to accept a 20% pay raise, which formed part of an overall increase for public officers endorsed by the parliament. The increase amounted to the equivalent of $16,565 a year. Arthur said that he would return the money to the treasury as a grant. Some other government ministers and MPs later indicated that they might follow Arthur's lead. In October the parliament approved a bill that allowed for a referendum to determine if Barbados should become a republic.

      In an effort to make the country's Grantley Adams International Airport the tourism hub of the Caribbean, Barbados neared completion on a major expansion and renovation project. The upgraded airport would be capable of accommodating about 2,000 passengers an hour. In the first four months of 2005, long-staying visitors to Barbados rose by 1.3%.

David Renwick

▪ 2005

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 273,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      In February 2004 Barbados raised eyebrows in a region preparing to become a single economic unit when it referred a maritime delimitation dispute with Trinidad and Tobago for settlement by an entity outside the region—the disputes body of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The two governments had been discussing an agreement that would permit fishing in each other's waters.

      A no-confidence motion against the Barbados Labour Party government that had been moved by the opposition Democratic Labour Party was defeated in the House of Assembly in June. The motion was prompted by an error in a land-acquisition bill earlier passed by the House. It was the first no-confidence motion brought against any Barbados government in modern history.

      In July Barbados came out ahead of every other Caribbean and Latin American state on the UN Human Development Index, placing 29th of the 177 countries surveyed. Barbados's central bank forecast in July that the country's economy would grow by 2–2.5% in 2004. In August, however, Standard & Poor's, the American credit-rating agency, cut Barbados's long-term foreign and local currency debt rating, citing growing budgetary and current-account deficits.

David Renwick

▪ 2004

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 272,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      The Barbados Labour Party (BLP), led by Owen Arthur, won a third successive term in office in the May 2003 general election, capturing 23 seats in the House of Assembly, compared with 7 for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). The latter did better than expected, however; prior to the election, the DLP had held only two seats in the Assembly.

      During the election campaign, Arthur promised to replace the country's existing monarchical constitution with a republican one. This would result in the replacement of the governor-general (who represented the queen of England) with a nonexecutive president as head of state.

      One of the main tasks facing the new BLP administration was the restoration of economic growth. The Barbados economy had contracted by 0.6% in 2002 and 2.8% in 2001, owing to the reduction in Caribbean tourism following 9/11 and the general world economic decline. As the result of a poor crop, Barbados signaled that it was unlikely to meet its annual European Union sugar quota of 54,000 metric tons. The search for oil was accelerated during the year; drilling began on a 13-well development program, mainly in known fields. Barbados produced about 1,300 bbl a day of oil.

David Renwick

▪ 2003

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 270,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      Barbados's hope of finding offshore oil was dashed in January 2002 when petroleum giant Conoco's exploratory well 112 km (70 mi) off the island's southwestern coast failed to find hydrocarbons in commercial quantities. Better results continued to come from the traditional land production areas; an exploratory well near the town of Flat Rock in St. George parish identified new sources of oil in February. The state-owned Barbados National Oil Co. was responsible for all land activity.

      Barbados was removed during the year from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's list of countries offering “harmful tax competition.” Barbados agreed to enter into tax information exchange agreements with OECD members, though government spokesmen stressed that Barbados had made no “concessions” to the OECD and stood by the integrity of its system.

      The 2002–03 national budget, presented in March, provided for the equivalent of $1.15 billion in current and capital spending, with an emphasis on new educational infrastructure. In an effort to help turn Bridgetown into a premier world cruise destination, the government in April announced plans to give the city's port a $5.5 million face-lift.

David Renwick

▪ 2002

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 269,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      The dangers posed to Caribbean exporters by drug traffickers were graphically illustrated in April 2001 when Canadian garment manufacturer Gildan Activewear Inc. shut down its newly opened Barbados operation after marijuana was found in one of its export containers.

      The 2001 sugar crop, the country's main export, was again a disappointment; only 49,796 metric tons were produced, well down from the 2000 level of 58,373 metric tons. Excessive dry weather was blamed for the poor showing. The diminished sugar crop and sluggish output in manufacturing had an impact on economic growth, which was expected to shrink to 1–1.5% from an average of 3% in the previous three years.

      Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Owen Arthur, faced with increased unemployment of 10%, in August outlined measures to improve growth, including an “employment fund” to strengthen manufacturing, $10 million to promote the country's tourist attractions, and a 2.5% corporate tax cut for 2002. On September 28 government and public-sector officials met to discuss emergency measures to minimize fallout from the terrorist attacks in the U.S.

      In August the Inter-American Development Bank moved to help Barbados modernize and reform its justice system by approving a $8,750,000 loan for that purpose.

David Renwick

▪ 2001

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 267,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      The House of Assembly took an important step toward modernizing Barbados's constitution—inherited in 1966 from Great Britain at the time of independence—when in May 2000 it considered recommendations made by a Constitution Review Commission chaired by former Barbados foreign minister Sir Henry Forde. The panel recommended that the country adopt a republican form of government—similar to the one in Trinidad and Tobago—with a nonexecutive president elected by the House of Assembly and the Senate and proposed the establishment of a parliamentary integrity commission that would help minimize corruption by receiving declarations of incomes, assets, and liabilities of parliamentarians.

      In May the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), an offshoot of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, placed Barbados in group two on its list of offshore centres graded according to the degree of supervision exercised by the authorities over banks and other offshore financial institutions. The group two grading meant that Barbados could improve its supervisory regime. Barbadian Prime Minister Owen Arthur condemned the FSF and insisted that it did not possess the “legal authority” to prepare any such grading system.

David Renwick

▪ 2000

430 sq km (166 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 266,000
Chief of state:
Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands
Head of government:
Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was convincingly returned to office in a 26–2 sweep of the seats in the House of Assembly in January 1999. The party's 49-year-old leader, Owen Arthur, was once more sworn in as prime minister. Two seats were retained by the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), which suffered the worst defeat for an opposition party in Barbados's parliamentary history. DLP leader David Thompson's seat was one of the two. In May the DLP general council decided not to accept Thompson's resignation, and he was subsequently reconfirmed as party leader.

      The minister of health, Elizabeth Thompson, was dismissed in August. The prime minister gave no reason for the action, except to restate his conviction that Cabinet members were expected to perform “without any arrogance or any hubris.”

      The 1999–2000 budget, presented in August, seemed designed primarily to help local producers meet increased competition within the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) single market and economy. It reduced the cost of fuel and other inputs to manufacturing and gave rebates on agricultural materials to farmers.

      Prime Minister Arthur paid a five-day visit to Cuba in June, during which he signed a double-taxation treaty, the first of its kind between Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro's government and a Caricom territory.

David Renwick

▪ 1999

      Area: 430 sq km (166 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 265,000

      Capital: Bridgetown

      Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands

      Head of government: Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      Barbados during 1998 continued working toward membership in the seven-nation Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), part of the larger Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom). A form of confederation was ultimately envisaged for the OECS members, and a joint task force was appointed to examine the matter. Barbados was larger than any other OECS member and viewed its association with the group as increasing its power base within Caricom.

      The Barbados central bank forecast a 2.5% growth rate in 1998, down from previous years, primarily because of shortfalls in sugar production. The Barbados National Oil Co. in April launched a major new drilling program that was designed to increase production to 2,500 bbl per day within 12 months. The drilling was being partly funded and managed by Waggoner, an American independent oil company.

      Late in the year Barbados moved to place more emphasis on trade and economic relations with Asian countries, despite that region's economic problems. It was particularly looking toward Japan for tourists.


▪ 1998

      Area: 430 sq km (166 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 265,000

      Capital: Bridgetown

      Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands

      Head of government: Prime Minister Owen Arthur

      The Barbados government in March appointed a British consulting firm, Maxwell Stamp, to study the regulation of the nation's offshore financial sector. Offshore banking was expected to grow in Barbados from the relatively modest base in 1997 of about 37 banks with Bar$13.6 billion in assets.

      Although Barbados's main industry, tourism, continued to do well during the year, not all hotels shared in its success, especially the smaller ones. This prompted the government in April to launch a U.S. $15 million investment fund to help hotels that faced financial difficulties. About 4,500 of the 6,500 hotel rooms in Barbados were in hotels classified as "small."

      The third party in the Barbados House of Assembly, the National Democratic Party (NDP), lost further ground in July when two of its leaders defected back to the official opposition Democratic Labour Party. The NDP had captured one seat in the 1994 election, but its ambition to be a credible "third force" in Barbados politics now seemed to be wishful thinking.


▪ 1997

      The constitutional monarchy of Barbados, a member of the Commonwealth, occupies the most easterly island in the southern Caribbean Sea. Area: 430 sq km (166 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 265,000. Cap.: Bridgetown. Monetary unit: Barbados dollar, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a par value of BDS$2 to U.S. $1 (free rate of BDS$3.17 = £1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1996, Sir Denys Williams (acting) and, from June 1, Sir Clifford Husbands; prime minister, Owen Arthur.

      The House of Assembly voted in February 1996 to allow the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government to legislate pay for government workers for a two-year period, starting April 1, 1996. This followed the failure of negotiations on proposed increases with the National Union of Public Workers, which represented one-third of government employees. The irony of this was not lost on the workers concerned, since it was the BLP that had castigated the former Democratic Labour Party administration for using wage cuts as an instrument of fiscal policy and had actually amended the law after its return to office in 1994 to prohibit such action in the future. Thus, the government could now regulate only increases in public workers' pay.

      In May Barbados signed a two-year offshore oil-exploration agreement with Conoco of the U.S. in an effort to extend oil production to the marine areas.


      This article updates Barbados.

▪ 1996

      The constitutional monarchy of Barbados, a member of the Commonwealth, occupies the most easterly island in the southern Caribbean Sea. Area: 430 sq km (166 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 265,000. Cap.: Bridgetown. Monetary unit: Barbados dollar, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a par value of BDS$2 to U.S. $1 (free rate of BDS$3.16 = £1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1995, Dame Nita Barrow; prime minister, Owen Arthur.

      Prime Minister Owen Arthur signaled early in the year that the economy of Barbados was now strong enough for the government to be able to surrender its right to reduce salaries in the public sector. The previous Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration had used wage cuts as an instrument of fiscal policy, but Arthur said that civil servants' salaries, like those of judges, should be protected by statute. A bill to this effect was passed by the House of Assembly in February.

      Arthur again showed his faith in the underlying strength of the economy when he rejected the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and introduced a deficit budget in April. The IMF had urged prudence, but the prime minister insisted that deficit spending was necessary to reduce unemployment, which stood at 21.2% at the end of 1994. To demonstrate that the government would not sanction fiscal laxity, Arthur announced at the end of April that the state-owned Barbados Development Bank, which had accumulated losses of BDS$65 million in its 25 years of existence, would be closed down and two new agencies formed to take over its business, with the involvement of the private sector. Dame Nita Barrow, the popular and respected governor-general, died on December 19. (See OBITUARIES (Barrow, Dame Nita ).) (DAVID RENWICK)

      This updates the article Barbados.

▪ 1995

      The constitutional monarchy of Barbados, a member of the Commonwealth, occupies the most easterly island in the southern Caribbean Sea. Area: 430 sq km (166 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 264,000. Cap.: Bridgetown. Monetary unit: Barbados dollar, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a par value of BDS$2.01 to U.S. $1 (free rate of BDS$3.20 = £1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1994, Dame Nita Barrow; prime ministers, Erskine Sandiford and, from September 7, Owen Arthur.

      The government changed hands in Barbados during 1994, with the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) returning to office in September after defeating the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) by 19 seats to 8. One seat went to the National Democratic Party. The new prime minister was economist Owen Arthur.

      When it successfully pushed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford through the House of Representatives in June, the BLP had maneuvered the DLP into a position where it had little choice but to call the election two years ahead of time. The motion was supported by several dissident DLP members. Sandiford managed to retain his own seat in the election.

      The BLP was expected to maintain the DLP's main economic, social, and foreign policies. Privatization of government-owned assets was expected to continue. The DLP had completed the sale of the state's interests in the Heywoods Hotel and the Arawak Cement Co. before it left office. The new government planned to continue to give strong support to the tourist industry, which grew by 11.2% during the first half of 1994 after a successful season in 1993.

      In regard to foreign affairs, the BLP honoured the DLP's commitment to supply Barbadian troops for UN-sanctioned activities in Haiti. In May Barbados served as host to the UN's first conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. (DAVID RENWICK)

      This updates the article Barbados.

▪ 1994

      The constitutional monarchy of Barbados, a member of the Commonwealth, occupies the most easterly island in the southern Caribbean Sea. Area: 430 sq km (166 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 260,000. Cap.: Bridgetown. Monetary unit: Barbados dollar, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a par value of BDS$2.01 to U.S. $1 (free rate of BDS$3.06 = £1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1993, Dame Nita Barrow; prime minister, Erskine Sandiford.

      The Barbados central bank, which had predicted real economic growth of 1-2% in 1993, later revised that to no growth at all. Barbadians had hoped for an improvement after three continuous years of economic decline. In May it was announced that one of the few economic sectors continuing to do well—cruise tourism—would be further enhanced by a $3 million extension to the Bridgetown cruise terminal. Cruise tourists now spent about $20 million a year in Barbados. The future of the sugar industry, on the other hand, remained in doubt. When the sugar crop began winding down in June, production stood at only about 48,000 metric tons, a 62-year low. The sugar industry remained in receivership, and a new management company for the industry had not yet got off the ground.

      In August government, labour, and business achieved agreement on a two-year income and prices policy, necessary for improving relations with international lending agencies. There was to be a pay freeze until April 1995, and price increases would be restrained.

      In August 43-year-old Owen Arthur took over as leader of the opposition Barbados Labour Party, replacing the ailing Henry Forde. (DAVID RENWICK)

      This updates the article Barbados.

* * *

Barbados, flag of   island country in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, situated about 100 miles (160 km) east of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Roughly triangular in shape, the island measures some 20 miles (32 km) from northwest to southeast and about 15 miles (25 km) from east to west at its widest point. The capital and largest town is Bridgetown, which is also the main seaport.

      The geographic position of Barbados has profoundly influenced the island's history and culture and aspects of its economic life. Barbados is not part of the nearby archipelago of the Lesser Antilles, although it is usually grouped with it. The island is of different geologic formation; it is less mountainous and has less variety in plant and animal life. As the first Caribbean landfall from Europe and Africa, Barbados has functioned since the late 17th century as a major link between western Europe (mainly Great Britain), eastern Caribbean territories, and parts of the South American mainland. The island was a British possession without interruption from the 17th century to 1966, when it attained independence. Because of its long association with Britain, the culture of Barbados is probably more British than is that of any other Caribbean island, though elements of the African culture of the majority population have been prominent. Since independence, cultural nationalism has been fostered as part of the process of nation-building.

Land (Barbados)
  The rocks underlying Barbados consist of sedimentary deposits, including thick shales, clays, sands, and conglomerates, laid down approximately 70 million years ago. Above these rocks are chalky deposits, which were capped with coral before the island rose to the surface. A layer of coral up to 300 feet (90 metres) thick covers the island, except in the northeast physiographic region known as the Scotland District, which covers about 15 percent of the area, where erosion has removed the coral cover. The government has adopted a conservation plan to prevent further erosion.

Relief, drainage, and soils
      Mount Hillaby, the highest point in Barbados, rises to 1,102 feet (336 metres) in the north-central part of the island. To the west the land drops down to the sea in a series of terraces. East from Mount Hillaby, the land declines sharply to the rugged upland of the Scotland District. Southward, the highlands descend steeply to the broad St. Georges Valley; between the valley and the sea the land rises to 400 feet (120 metres) to form Christ Church Ridge. Coral reefs surround most of the island. Sewerage systems were installed in the late 20th century to address the threat to the reefs from runoff of fertilizers and untreated waste.

      There are no significant rivers or lakes and only a few streams, springs, and ponds. Rainwater percolates quickly through the underlying coralline limestone cap, draining into underground streams, which are the main source of the domestic water supply. A desalination plant provides additional fresh water.

      Barbados has mainly residual soils. They are clayey and rich in lime and phosphates. Soil type varies with elevation; thin black soils occur on the coastal plains, and more-fertile yellow-brown or red soils are usually found in the highest parts of the coral limestone.

      The climate of Barbados is generally pleasant. The temperature does not usually rise above the mid-80s F (about 30 °C) or fall below the low 70s F (about 22 °C). There are two seasons: the dry season, from early December to May, and the wet season, which lasts for the rest of the year. Average rainfall is about 60 inches (1,525 mm) annually, but, despite the small size of the island, rainfall varies, rising from the low-lying coastal areas to the high central district. Barbados lies in the southern border of the Caribbean hurricane ( tropical cyclone) zone, and hurricanes have caused great devastation, notably in 1780, 1831, 1898, and 1955.

Plant and animal life
      Very little of the original vegetation remains on Barbados; the pale green of cultivated sugarcane has become the characteristic colour of the landscape. Tropical trees, including poinciana, mahogany, frangipani, and cabbage palm, are widespread, and flowering shrubs adorn parks and gardens.

      The few wild animals, such as monkeys, hares, and mongooses, are considered pests by farmers. Birds include doves, hummingbirds, sparrows, egrets, and yellow breasts. Marine life includes flying fish, sprats, green dolphins, kingfish, barracudas, mackerels, and parrot fish.

People (Barbados)

Ethnic groups and languages
      People of African descent and of mixed African-European descent make up more than nine-tenths of the population. A small fraction of the population is of European (mainly British) descent, and there is an even smaller number of inhabitants who originated from the Indian subcontinent. There are small groups of Syrians, Lebanese, and Chinese. There is also a sizable expatriate community—primarily from the United States and Great Britain—made up of international civil servants, businesspersons, and retirees. English is the official language, and a nonstandard English called Bajan is also spoken.

      The majority of the population is Christian. Anglicanism, the religious legacy of the British colonists who arrived in the 17th century, is the largest single denomination. Other churches established since the 18th century are the Methodist and the Moravian. Since the 19th century, however, significant religious diversity has developed. Pentecostal churches have large congregations, as does the Seventh-day Adventist church. Smaller groups include Roman Catholics, Bahaʾīs, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims.

Settlement patterns
      Barbados is densely populated. More than one-third of the population is concentrated in Bridgetown and the surrounding area. Most of the farmland is owned by large landowners or corporations. As a result, “tenantries”—clusters of wooden houses locally known as chattel houses and located on the borders of the large estates—are as common as villages. They are usually owned by the occupants but stand on rented ground from which they may easily be moved for relocation to another site. Most of them have electricity and running water. In Bridgetown's commercial and administrative centre, multistory buildings are altering the features of the 19th-century town. Apart from Bridgetown, the largest towns or settlements are Speightstown, Oistins, and Holetown.

Demographic trends
      Until the mid-20th century, Barbados had a high rate of population growth, which created problems of overpopulation. Over the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st, the rate of growth was slowed by the successful implementation of a nationwide family-planning program and by steady emigration, first to Britain and later to other parts of the Caribbean and to North America. In the same period the death and infant mortality rates declined sharply, and life expectancy rose above 70 years.

 Barbados has an open, market-oriented economy. Services, manufacturing, and agriculture are the most significant sectors. A large amount of income in the form of remittances is received from Barbadians overseas. Barbados has a relatively high per capita income.

Agriculture and fishing
      About three-fourths of the land is arable, and most of it is planted with sugarcane. Sugar production dominated the economy until the 1950s, but the industry has declined in importance. Agricultural production remains dominated by large farm units, but the pattern of production has changed, mainly as a result of falling sugar prices and of government-sponsored programs of agricultural diversification and limited land settlement. As a result, there has been significant growth in food production (vegetables, fruits, and livestock), mainly for local consumption. High-quality sea island cotton is also grown. The growing of tropical flowers and foliage has also proved profitable. Fishing has always been part of the island's basic economy, and the government has supported the industry with modernization programs.

Resources and manufacturing
      Apart from some small deposits of crude oil and natural gas that provide about one-third of the island's energy needs, Barbados has few natural resources. Sustained exploitation of the climate and beaches for their tourist potential has been the most impressive feature of ongoing economic activity. An abundant population, which provides a ready labour source, may also be considered one of the island's resources. The population working abroad has made significant contributions to the economy through remittances.

      Apart from some quarrying of clay, limestone, and sand, the mining industry is limited to oil and natural gas production. Manufacturing, stimulated by government incentives, was one of the main growth areas of the economy; however, beginning in the later 20th century, this trend was reversed as a result of globalization and trade liberalization that increased the competition from cheaper imports.

Finance and trade
      Barbados's banking system consists of the national bank (the Central Bank of Barbados, established in 1972), commercial banks, and various development-oriented financial institutions, notably credit unions. Most of the commercial banks are branches of international banks; others are regional and local banks. The national currency is the Barbados dollar.

      A small stock exchange, trading shares of locally and regionally owned companies, has operated since 1987. It now trades exclusively online. Cross-border trading is facilitated by links with similar exchanges in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there was considerable growth in the offshore financial sector, closely regulated by legislation.

      Chief exports include food and beverages, chemicals, and electrical components. Principal imports include capital goods, food and beverages, mineral fuels, and chemicals. Barbados's main trading partners are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as other members of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom).

      Most employment is in services and wholesale and retail trade. Tourism is vital to the economy as the chief foreign-exchange earner as well as a major employer. The number of both long-stay visitors and day tourists from cruise-ship dockings increased greatly during the second half of the 20th century.

      The Barbados Workers' Union was registered in 1941 and functions successfully as a general trade union. Other unions include the National Union of Public Workers and the Barbados Union of Teachers.

      The island has a network of good roads. Bridgetown has a deepwater harbour, and there is a luxury marina development, Port St. Charles, on the west coast. An international airport is located near the southern coast. Several international and regional airlines offer regular scheduled and charter services.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
 The constitution of 1966 established a governmental structure based on the British parliamentary system. The British monarch is the head of state and is locally represented by a governor-general. The prime minister, generally the leader of the largest political party in the elected House of Assembly (lower house of the legislature), is the head of government. The prime minister appoints a cabinet. The upper house of the legislature is an appointed Senate.

      The Supreme Court of Judicature consists of the High Court and Court of Appeal. Final appeal in civil and criminal matters was formerly made to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, until members of Caricom agreed in the early 21st century to establish a Caribbean Court of Justice. This court was to serve as a regional judicial tribunal and would take over the appellate function of the Privy Council. Magistrates' courts have civil and criminal jurisdiction.

Political process
      The Barbados Labour Party (founded in 1938) and the Democratic Labour Party (founded in 1955) are the main political parties. All Barbadians 18 years of age or older are eligible to vote. Women were granted the right to vote in 1950.

Health and welfare
      The poor social conditions that existed in the early 20th century were ameliorated by political changes after World War II and by improvement in the economy. Sustained efforts by government agencies in sanitation, public health, and housing significantly improved health conditions. The diseases associated with poverty and underdevelopment have been eliminated or controlled. Health care is provided by both public and private agencies. Other areas of social welfare, notably child care, family life, pension plans for the elderly and disabled, and the status of women, have benefited from government attention. Community centres and playing fields have been established throughout the island.

      Barbados has near-total literacy. This success is attributable to the presence of a comprehensive, mainly government-funded primary and secondary school network. The government places high priority on education, to which it allocates a significant proportion of its budget. All education in public institutions is free. There are facilities for secondary, technical, and vocational education, including a polytechnic school, a community college, and a teacher's college. Education is compulsory to age 16. Most study at the university level is done at the University of the West Indies, which maintains a Barbados campus at Cave Hill, near Bridgetown.

Cultural life
      Most cultural facilities are located in Bridgetown. The Barbados Museum was established in 1933 and offers permanent and temporary exhibits covering the natural history and culture of the island. Nearby is the Barbados Art Gallery, which houses the national collection. The National Library Service, which comprises a main library in Bridgetown and several branches, has its origins in the early 19th century. There are a number of special libraries at educational institutions, government ministries, and other facilities. The Barbados Department of Archives holds primary historical documentation from public and private sources. The country has dramatic groups, schools of dancing, and art exhibitions. Barbadian writers of international reputation include George Lamming (Lamming, George) and Kamau Brathwaite (Brathwaite, Kamau). Music is a popular pastime in Barbados. The country hosts a popular annual jazz festival (January).

      One of the country's cultural traditions is Crop Over, an annual multi-week summer festival that has its historical origins in sugarcane harvest celebrations. The harvest celebrations died out in the mid-20th century, but Crop Over was reborn in the 1970s as a festival of musical (notably calypso), culinary, and other arts. Crop Over culminates in the Grand Kadooment, a carnival parade that features elaborately costumed bands.

       cricket is the national sport, and Barbados contributes many players to the West Indies team, which is known throughout the world. International Test matches are often played at Bridgetown's Kensington Oval (the country hosted the International Cricket Council World Cup final in 2007). Garfield Sobers (Sobers, Sir Garfield) and Frank Worrell (Worrell, Sir Frank) are two of Barbados's cricketing legends. The first cricket team was formed in 1877 for white players only, but teams of all races soon sprang up. Other popular recreations are sailing, surfing, snorkeling, and swimming. Road tennis, originally played on little-traveled streets with a wooden paddle and a de-fuzzed tennis ball, is believed to have been invented on the island. Barbados first sent athletes to the Olympics in 1952 and first participated as an independent country in 1968.

      Daily and weekly newspapers and a number of tourism-related periodicals are published. A wide range of newspapers and magazines from other Caribbean countries, the United States, Canada, Britain, and Europe can be bought or consulted in libraries.

History (Barbados)
      Little of the island's prehistory is known, but archaeological investigation indicates that it may have been settled as early as 1600 BCE by people from northern South America who later disappear from the archaeological record. From about 500 to 1500 CE, Arawak and Carib Indians probably lived on the island, which they called Ichirouganaim. The first contact with Europeans may have occurred in the early 16th century, when Spaniards visited Barbados. Portuguese explorers also touched on the island, which they named Barbados (“Bearded Ones”), either for bearded fig trees or bearded men on the island. The island was depopulated because of repeated slave (slavery) raids by the Spanish in the 16th century; it is believed that those Indians who avoided enslavement migrated to elsewhere in the region. By the mid-16th century—largely because of the island's small size, remoteness, and depopulation—European explorers had practically abandoned their claims to it, and Barbados remained effectively without a population.

British rule
      An English expedition of 1625 assessed the potential of the island, and on Feb. 17, 1627, the ship William and John landed with 80 Englishmen and about 10 Africans. The early period of English settlement was marked by the insecurity resulting from infrequent provision of supplies from Europe and the difficulty in establishing a profitable export crop. This was complicated by bitter squabbles over the claims of rival lords proprietors and over the question of allegiance to either the British crown or Parliament during the constitutional conflicts of the 1640s that led to the English Civil Wars.

      As in the earlier cases of Bermuda and Virginia, an assembly made up of owners of at least 10 acres (4 hectares) of freehold land was established in Barbados in 1639. Elections were held annually. There were also a council and a governor who was appointed first by the lord proprietor and, after the 1660s, by the king.

      The economy of the early colonial era was marked by a pattern of family farms and by a diversity of products including aloes, fustic (a dye-producing wood), indigo, and, above all, cotton and tobacco. The search for a profitable export crop ended in the 1640s, when Dutch assistance enabled the colonists to convert to sugar production.

      The Sugar Revolution, as it is called, had momentous social, economic, and political consequences. The elite in Barbados chose a form of sugar production that yielded the greatest level of profit—but at great social cost. They decided to establish large sugarcane plantations, cultivated by oppressed labourers from West Africa, who were brought to the island and enslaved in accordance with a series of slave laws enacted from 1636 onward. Society in Barbados was composed of three categories of persons: free, indentured, and enslaved. “Race” was a central determinant of status. There were three “racial,” or ethnic, groups—whites, coloureds (those of part-European and part-African parentage or ancestry), and blacks. Some whites were free and some were indentured; some coloureds were free and some were enslaved; and some blacks were free and some were enslaved. No whites were enslaved.

      There was a twofold population movement between 1640 and 1700. Many small family farms were bought up and amalgamated into plantations. Consequently, there was a significant emigration of whites to Jamaica and to the North American colonies, notably the Carolinas. At the same time the Royal African Company (a British slaving company) and other slave traders were bringing increasing numbers of African men, women, and children to toil in the fields, mills, and houses. The ethnic mix of the population changed accordingly. In the early 1640s there were probably 37,000 whites and 6,000 blacks; by 1684 there were about 20,000 whites and 46,000 blacks; and in 1834, when slavery was abolished, there were some 15,000 whites and 88,000 blacks and coloureds.

      In European markets, sugar was a scarce and therefore valuable commodity, and Barbadian sugar planters, particularly in the 17th century, reaped huge profits out of the early lead that the island established in sugar production. Increasing wealth brought consolidation of political power for a planter elite, and Barbadian society became a plantocracy, with white planters controlling the economy and government institutions. Though enslaved people continually resisted their bondage, the effective authoritarian power of slave-owning planters ensured that, apart from a major slave rebellion in 1816 that was put down by the local militia and British troops, there was no effective threat to their control.

      Sugar remained ascendant in Barbados even through the 19th-century crises caused by the emancipation of enslaved people, free trade, and competition from the European beet sugar industry. This was mainly because a dense population provided cheap labour and because the political power of the white planters and merchant elite ensured that government resources would be used to rescue the industry in any emergency. The workers therefore carried the burden in low wages and minimal social services. This situation encouraged emigration (often frustrated by the elite) and occasional, futile political protests.

      By the 1930s the social and political pressures from below could no longer be contained. Population increase, the closing of emigration outlets, the economic effects of the worldwide Great Depression, and the spread of socialist ideology and the black nationalist movement of the Jamaican leader Marcus Garvey (Garvey, Marcus) had created conditions for a labour revolt. By then, middle-class reformers had begun to agitate against the restricted political franchise (the right to vote was limited to males and restricted by income and property qualifications) and the inadequate social services.

      Out of a series of labour disturbances of 1937 emerged a clear challenge to the existing order. The British government's response assisted this successful challenge. The West Indies Royal Commission (Moyne Commission), dispatched in 1938 to report on social and economic conditions in the British West Indies, endorsed some of the political and social reforms that were advocated by the leaders of the new mass organizations, particularly the full legalization of trade unions and the extension of the political franchise. The implementation of these reforms during the 1940s provided the essential base for the institutionalization of mass political organizations, which became the principal means through which the elite's political power was curtailed. In Barbados black political leaders gained ascendancy by 1944, universal adult suffrage was adopted in 1950, and full internal self-government was achieved in 1961.

Barbados since independence
      Barbados became independent on Nov. 30, 1966, after joining the ill-fated West Indies Federation (1958–62). By then the economy was expanding and diversifying, mainly as a result of the policies pursued by the governments formed after the planter-merchant elite lost power.

      Barbados is a member of the Commonwealth and continues to play a leading role in the establishment of regional cooperation. In 1968 Errol Barrow, who served as prime minister in 1966–76 and 1986–87, helped form the Caribbean Free Trade Association, which became the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) in 1973. The island has also established close ties with countries elsewhere in the developing world.

      Throughout the postindependence period, Barbados has had one of the most stable political systems in the English-speaking Caribbean. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) led the country into independence and continued in office until 1976. Thereafter, in free and fair elections held at regular intervals, the DLP and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) have alternated in leading the government.

Christopher Stewart Jackson Woodville K. Marshall Anthony De Vere Phillips

Additional Reading

General introductions to the country may be found in Henry Fraser, A–Z of Barbadian Heritage (1990), which contains useful brief entries on virtually all aspects of Barbados; Louis Lynch, The Barbados Book (1964), a fascinating collection of items about the special features of Barbados; and John Gilmore, Faces of the Caribbean (2000), a thoughtful and perceptive work written by a scholar. General travel guides include Keith Whiting, Adventure Guide to Barbados (2007); Adam Vaitilingam, Barbados, 2nd ed. (1998); and David H. Weeks, Walking Barbados (1995). Arif Ali (ed.), Barbados: Just Beyond Your Imagination (1996), is a coffee-table book with extensive photographs and text written by experts. Barbadian and regional arts and cultural traditions are described in Alissandra Cummins, Allison Thompson, and Nick Whittle, Art in Barbados: What Kind of Mirror Image? (1999); Christine Barrow (compiler and ed.), And I Remember Many Things: Folklore of the Caribbean (1993), a fascinating compilation; Trevor G. Marshall, Peggy L. McGeary, and Grace J.I. Thompson, Folk Songs of Barbados (1996), based on detailed research; and Austin Clarke, Love and Sweet Food: A Culinary Memoir (2004; previously published as Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit, 1999), a witty commentary on food and society.Works on the Caribbean region that treat topics of significance to Barbados include Anthony P. Maingot, The United States and the Caribbean (1994), by an experienced international scholar; Alvin O. Thompson, The Haunting Past: Politics, Economics, and Race in Caribbean Life (1997), a wide-ranging analysis; Howard Johnson and Karl Watson (eds.), The White Minority in the Caribbean (1998), a slim volume that draws attention to the diversity within the white community; Polly Pattullo, Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean, 2nd ed., updated and rev. (2005), a warning concerning the downside of development; Elizabeth M. Thomas-Hope, Explanation in Caribbean Migration (1992), about the centrality of migration to the Caribbean experience; Mary Chamberlain, Narratives of Exile and Return, with a new introduction (2005; originally published in 1997), an intriguing series of life stories; and Curwen Best, Roots to Popular Culture: Barbadian Aesthetics (2001), about Barbadian music and youth culture.

Historical sources include Trevor Carmichael (ed.), Barbados: Thirty Years of Independence (1996), a thought-provoking series of essays and articles; Glenford D. Howe and Don D. Marshall (eds.), The Empowering Impulse: The Nationalist Tradition of Barbados (2000), a scholarly and insightful collection of essays; Hilary McD. Beckles, A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State, 2nd ed. (2007), a fine one-volume history; Hilary McD. Beckles (ed.), An Area of Conquest: Popular Democracy and West Indies Cricket Supremacy (1994), which evaluates the sociology and politics of cricket; F.A. Hoyos, Barbados: A History from the Amerindians to Independence (1978), a clear presentation, and Barbados, Our Island Home, rev. ed. (1970), a straightforward introduction. Biographical works are F.A. Hoyos, Tom Adams: A Biography (1988), a study of the second prime minister of independent Barbados; Francis “Woodie” Blackman, Dame Nita: Caribbean Woman, World Citizen (1995), an assessment of the contributions of Gov.-Gen. Nita Barrow to the island, the region, and the world; Peter Morgan, The Life and Times of Errol Barrow (1994), about the Father of Independence and the first prime minister of independent Barbados; and Gary Lewis, White Rebel: The Life and Times of TT Lewis (1999), a biography of one of the few white working-class Barbadians to join the struggle for democracy and social justice, from the 1940s to his death in 1959. Also of historical and biographical interest is Errol W. Barrow, Speeches, ed. by Yussuff Haniff (1987), a convenient source for some of Barrow's main political speeches. The Barbados Museum and Historical Society publishes an annual Journal.Anthony De Vere Phillips

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Barbados — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Barbados Barbados …   Wikipedia Español

  • Barbados — Barbados …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • BARBADOS — BARBADOS, Carribean island. The uninhabited island of Barbados was visited in 1625 by Captain John Powel, who took possession of it in the name of James I, king of England. The first Jews reportedly arrived by the year 1628. Later on Jews arrived …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Barbados — Bar*ba dos or Barbadoes Bar*ba does, n. A West Indian island, giving its name to a disease, to a cherry, etc. [1913 Webster] {Barbados cherry} (Bot.), a genus of trees of the West Indies ({Malpighia}) with an agreeably acid fruit resembling a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Barbados — probably from Port. las barbados the bearded; the island so called because vines or moss hung densely from the trees. An inhabitant was called a Barbadian (1732) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Barbados — Barbados, die östlichste brit. Antilleninsel, unter 13°4´ nördl. Br. und 59°37´ westl. L. (s. Karte »Westindien«), 430 qkm groß, aus tertiärem Gestein (Korallenkalk, Mergel, Sandstein) gebildet und von Korallenriffen umrandet, erhebt sich… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Barbados — Barbādos oder Barbadoes (spr. béhdohs), die östlichste der Kleinen Antillen, seit 1652 britisch, 430 qkm, (1901) 195.588 E.; Zuckerplantagen; Eisenbahnen (1903) 93 km. Hauptstadt Bridgetown (1902: 25.500 E.) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Barbados — (Barbehdos), die östlichste der westind. Inseln, seit 1624 englisch, 8 QM. groß mit 130000 E., gesund, wohl angebaut, fruchtbar, doch periodisch von Orkanen verwüstet; Hauptst. Bridgetown, regelmäßige Dampfschifffahrts Verbindung mit Europa …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Barbádos — m geogr. država i otok u Malim Antilima (Srednja Amerika), glavni grad Bridgetown …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • Barbados — Barbádos m DEFINICIJA geogr. država i otok u Malim Antilima (Srednja Amerika), 431 km2, 265.000 stan. (1996), glavni grad Bridgetown …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Barbados — [bär bā′dōs, bär bā′dōz] country on the easternmost island of the West Indies: formerly (1663 1966) a British dependency, it became independent & a member of the Commonwealth in 1966: 166 sq mi (430 sq km); pop. 260,000; cap. Bridgetown Barbadian …   English World dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.