Barbados

 

History of Barbados

Barbados Flag
Flag

Barbados was inhabited by Arawaks and Caribs at the time of European colonization of the Americas in the 16th century. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.

Barbados was the administrative headquarters of the Windward Islands until it became a separate colony in 1885. Barbados was a member of the Federation of the West Indies from 1958 to 1962. Britain granted the colony independence on Nov. 30, 1966, and it became a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth.

Since 1966, it has been a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, modelled on the Westminster system, with Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, ashead of state. Since independence, Barbados has been politically stable.

Administrative Divisions

Barbados Map Barbados Map - Click for larger view

Barbados is divided into 11 parishes:

St. George and St. Thomas are located in the middle of the country and are the only two parishes without coastlines.

Culture

The influence of the English on Barbados is more noticeable than on other islands in the West Indies. A good example of this is the island's national sport: cricket. Barbados has brought forth several great cricketers, including Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Frank Worrell.

Citizens are officially called Barbadians. The term "Bajan" (pronounced BAY-jun) 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 that takes place on the island is the Crop Over festival. As in many other Caribbean and Latin American countries, Crop Over is an important event for many people on the island, as well as the thousands of tourists that flock to there to participate in the annual events. The festival includes musical competitions and other traditional activities, and features the majority of the island's homegrown calypso and soca music for the year. The male and female Barbadians who harvested the most sugarcane are crowned as the King and Queen of the crop. Crop Over gets under way at the beginning of July and ends with the costumed parade on Kadooment Day, held on the first Monday of August.

In music, seven-time Grammy Award winner Rihanna (born in Saint Michael) is one of Barbados' best-known artists. In 2009 she was appointed as an Honorary Ambassador of youth and culture for Barbados by the late Prime Minister, David Thompson.

Singer-songwriter Shontelle, the band Cover Drive, and musician Rupee also originate from Barbados. Grandmaster Flash (born Joseph Saddler in Bridgetown in 1958) is a hugely influential musician of Barbadian origin, pioneering hip-hop DJing, cutting, and mixing in 1970s New York. The Merrymen are a well known Calypso band based in Barbados, performing from the 1960s into the 2010s.

Language

English is the official language of Barbados, and is used for communications, administration, and public services all over the island. In its capacity as the official language of the country, the standard of English tends to conform to the vocabulary, pronunciations, spellings, and conventions akin to, but not exactly the same as, those of British English.

A regional variant of English, referred to locally as Bajan, is spoken by most Barbadians in everyday life, especially in informal settings. In its full-fledged form, Bajan sounds markedly different from the Standard English heard on the island. The degree of intelligibility between Bajan and general English, for the general English speaker, depends on the level of creolized vocabulary and idioms. A Bajan speaker may be completely unintelligible to an English speaker from another country. Bajan is influenced by other Caribbean English dialects.

Religion

Most Barbadians of African and European descent are Christians (95%), chiefly Anglicans (40%). Other Christian denominations with significant followings in Barbados are the Catholic Church, Pentecostals (Evangelicals) Jehovah's Witnesses, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Spiritual Baptists. The Church of England was the official state religion until its legal disenfranchisement by the Parliament of Barbados following independence. Other religions in Barbados include Hinduism, Islam, Bahá'í, Judaism and Wicca.

Weather and Climate

Barbados Weather

It is warm and sunny all year round with an average daytime high of 75 - 85oF. The nights are usually slightly cooler. The prevailing northeast trade winds blow steadily so that although it is bright and sunny, it is not unbearably hot.

The rain usually comes in quick showers. The dry season lasts from January to June.
We are in the tropics, and believe it or not, some people actually put on a sweater in the cool night winter time breezes. Barbadians complain that the sea is cold when its 78oF !!!

Sunny days and stormy weather. Its mostly sunny and fair in Barbados. Warm days with cool winds and cozy nights.

It rains most in summer and a good rainfall is refreshing and much needed. Rain is usually followed quickly by sunny skies and within minutes everything will be dry. Tropical rainstorms sometimes occur in the hurricane season which runs from June to October (as we say in Barbados - "June too soon, October all over!"). Tropical rains are spectacular but the island is very porous and the heaviest rains quickly drain off into the underground lakes or the sea.

 

Entry Requirements

Citizens of the following countries will not need visas to enter Barbados:

Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Moldova, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

If you require a visa, you can obtain one from a Barbadian embassy, high commission or consulate. The form for a visa must include 2 passport size photographs. The visa costs BBD50 for single entry and BBD60 for multiple entry.

If you require a visa to enter Barbados, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Barbadian diplomatic post.

Public Holidays

Public Holidays Barbados 2015
New Year’s Day January 1
Errol Barrow Day January 21
Good Friday April 3
Easter Monday April 6
National Heroes Day April 28
May Day May 1
Whit Monday May 25
Emancipation Day August 1
Kadooment Day August 3
Independence Day November 30
Christmas Day December 25
Boxing Day December 26
   

Travel Advisory

There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Barbados. Exercise normal security precautions.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Accommodation
Stay in luxury, or stay in style, but stay with us for for the longest while to enjoy Barbados' classic Caribbean charm and hospitality. From heritage plantations & seaside cottages to boutique hotels, resort communities and contemporary living. For more information, click here.

Electricity
115/230 volts 50 cycles. Standard plug types in Barbados are two flat blades or flat blades with round grounding pin-most hotels provide converters for European or Asian appliances. North American appliances will not need converters.

Cellular Phone Service
Visitors who bring their cell phones with them on holiday must remember to ensure the roaming feature is activated prior to arriving in the island. Please note that receiving and making international calls on your mobile phone can be quite costly and you may wish to explore the alternative of renting a cell phone locally.

Currency
The Barbados dollar is pegged to the US dollar at an exchange rate of US$1 = BDS$1.98. US dollars are accepted island-wide and most stores and restaurants accept major credit cards and travelers checks.

Activities
Barbados is a charming island of rich culture, tropical beauty, inspiring landscapes and fun ways to discover it all! Feel your spirits soar as you connect with nature, immerse in true local culture, and enjoy new experiences.