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Major Cities of Barbados in the Geographical Region of Central America and the Caribbean

BridgetownSpeightstownOistinsBathshebaHoletownCrab HillBlackmansGreenlandHillabyEdeyElizabeth ParkEnterpriseFairviewFairy ValleyFairy Valley RockGall HillGibbonsBoarded HallGoodlandGoodlandGreen GardenGroeme HallHannaysHastingsHopewellInch MarloweGibbons BoggsBriggsChancery LaneCharnocksCoverlyDoverDurantDurantsEaling Grove

Barbados Photo Gallery
Barbados Realty

Barbados coat of arms.jpg
Barbados map locator.png
Location of Barbados within the continent of Central America and the Caribbean
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Map of Barbados
Barbados Flag.png
Flag Description of Barbados:The national flag of Barbados is comprised of three equal vertical panels - the centre panel of gold and the outer panels of ultramarine. A broken trident in black is located in the centre of the flag.

Blue represents the sea and sky of Barbados, while gold represents the sand of the island's beaches. The symbol at the centre of the flag represents the Trident of the mythical sea god, Neptune - the shaft of the trident is broken symbolising Barbados' break from Britain.

Some rules concerning the display of the National Flag of Barbados

The National Flag should be flown every day from the Public Buildings from 6:00am to 6:00pm. It may also be flown daily from government buildings and schools when they are in session, and places of business. The National Flag should not be flown after 6:00pm except inside a building. The National Flag is flown at half-mast in mourning. The decision on the occasions on which the flag should be flown at half-mast rest with the Cabinet (Government). The flag should never be flown with the trident inverted except as a sign of distress. The flag when on display should not be allowed to touch anything beneath it - floors, furniture, trees, plants, buildings, vehicles, water, etc.

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accept the bitter to get better

Official name Barbados
Form of government constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses (Senate [211]; House of Assembly [30])
Head of state British Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General: Sir Elliot Belgrave
Head of government Prime Minister: Freundel Stuart
Capital Bridgetown
Official language English
Official religion none
Monetary unit Barbados dollar (Bds$)
Population (2013 est.) 278,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 166
Total area (sq km) 430
Urban-rural population

Urban: (2011) 44.4%
Rural: (2011) 55.6%

Life expectancy at birth

Male: (2008) 71.4 years
Female: (2008) 76 years

Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate

Male: 98%
Female: 96.8%

GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2009) 13,438

1Appointed by the governor-general.

Background of Barbados

The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished.

Barrbados, 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.


In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride is sprung
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood

We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate

The Lord has been the people's guide
For past three hundred years
With him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears
Upward and onward we shall go
Inspired, exulting, free
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity

Lyrics by: Irving Burgie

I pledge allegiance to my country Barbados
and to my flag,
To uphold and defend their honour,
and by my living to do credit
to my nation, wherever I go.

The Grant of Arms conveyed by royal warrant was presented to the President of the Senate by Her Majesty the Queen in 1966 - the year Barbados gained independence from Britain. The Golden Shield carries two Pride of Barbados flowers (the National Flower) and the Bearded Fig Tree (after which Barbados is named). The shield is supported by a dolphin (symbolic of the fishing industry) and by a pelican (after a small island called Pelican Island which existed off Barbados).

Above the shield is a helmet and mantling and above is a hand of a Barbadian holding two crossed pieces of sugarcane (symbolic of the Barbados sugar industry). The cross formed by the cane is a reference to the cross on which St.Andrew was crucified - Barbados' Independence Day is celebrated on November 30th, Saint Andrews Day.

Geography of Barbados

  • Location: Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
  • Geographic coordinates: 13 10 N, 59 32 W
  • Map references:Central America and the Caribbean
  • Area:
total: 430 sq km
country comparison to the world: 202
land: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km
  • Area - comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
  • Land boundaries: 0 km
  • Coastline: 97 km
  • Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 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: 27.91%
permanent crops: 2.33%
other: 69.77% (2011)
  • Irrigated land: 54.35 sq km (2003)
  • Total renewable water resources: 0.08 cu km (2011)
  • Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.1 cu km/yr (20%/26%/54%)
per capita: 371.3 cu m/yr (2009)
  • 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 agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note: easternmost Caribbean island

The Land

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.

  • Climate

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.

Demography of 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.

  • Religion

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.

People and Society of Barbados

  • Nationality:
noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)
adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)
  • Ethnic groups: black 92.4%, white 2.7%, mixed 3.1%, East Indian 1.3%, other 0.2%, unspecified 0.2% (2010 est.)
  • Languages: English (official), Bajan (English-based creole language, widely spoken in informal settings)
  • Religions: Protestant 66.3% (includes Anglican 23.9%, other Pentecostal 19.5%, Adventist 5.9%, Methodist 4.2%, Wesleyan 3.4%, Nazarene 3.2%, Church of God 2.4%, Baptist 1.8%, Moravian 1.2%, other Protestant .8%), Roman Catholic 3.8%, other Christian 5.4% (includes Jehovah's Witness 2.0%, other 3.4%), Rastafarian 1%, other 1.5%, none 20.6%, unspecified 1.2% (2010 est.)
  • Population: 289,680 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
  • Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.4% (male 26,709/female 26,716)
15-24 years: 13.6% (male 19,705/female 19,754)
25-54 years: 45% (male 64,821/female 65,394)
55-64 years: 12.5% (male 16,837/female 19,286)
65 years and over: 10.5% (male 12,068/female 18,390) (2014 est.)
  • population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 42.6 %
youth dependency ratio: 26.8 %
elderly dependency ratio: 15.8 %
potential support ratio: 6.3 (2014 est.)
  • Median age:
total: 37.6 years
male: 36.5 years
female: 38.7 years (2014 est.)
  • Population growth rate: :0.33% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
  • Birth rate: 11.97 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
  • Death rate: 8.41 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
  • Net migration rate: -0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
  • Urbanization:
urban population: 44.4% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.35% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
  • Major urban areas - population:BRIDGETOWN (capital) 122,000 (2011)
  • Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
  • Maternal mortality rate: 51 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 106
  • Infant mortality rate:
total: 10.93 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 132
male: 12.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
  • Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.99 years
country comparison to the world: 102
male: 72.64 years
female: 77.37 years (2014 est.)
  • Total fertility rate: 1.68 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
  • Health expenditures: 7.7% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 68
  • Physicians density: 1.81 physicians/1,000 population (2005)
  • Hospital bed density: 6.6 beds/1,000 population (2010)
  • Drinking water source:


urban: 99.8% of population
rural: 99.8% of population
total: 99.8% of population


urban: 0.2% of population
rural: 0.2% of population
total: 0.2% of population (2012 est.)
  • Sanitation facility access:


urban: 91.6% of population
rural: 91.6% of population
total: 91.6% of population


urban: 8.4% of population
rural: 8.4% of population
total: 8.4% of population (2006 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.9% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
  • HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 1,500 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
  • HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA (2009 est.)
  • Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 34.7% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 14
  • Education expenditures: 5.6% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 54
  • Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.7% (2002 est.)
  • School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 17 years (2011)
  • Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 26.2%
country comparison to the world: 38
male: 24.1%
female: 28.7% (2003)

Economy of Barbados

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).

  • Services

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.

  • Labour

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.

  • Transportation

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.

  • Economy - overview:
Barbados is the wealthiest and most developed country in the Eastern Caribbean and enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America. Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. However, in recent years the economy has diversified into light industry and tourism with about four-fifths of GDP and of exports being attributed to services. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners and thrive from having the same time zone as eastern US financial centers and a relatively highly educated workforce. Barbados' tourism, financial services, and construction industries have been hard hit since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008. Barbados' public debt-to-GDP ratio rose from 56% in 2008 to 90.5% in 2013. Growth prospects are limited because of a weak tourism outlook and planned austerity measures.
  • GDP (purchasing power parity): $7.004 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
$7.056 billion (2012 est.)
$7.056 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
  • GDP (official exchange rate) $4.262 billion (2013 est.)
  • GDP - real growth rate: -0.8% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
0% (2012 est.)
0.8% (2011 est.)
  • GDP - per capita (PPP): $25,100 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
$25,400 (2012 est.)
$25,400 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
  • Gross national saving: 9% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
9.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
3.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
  • GDP - composition, by end use:
household consumption: 81.7%
government consumption: 15.4%
investment in fixed capital: 14.3%
investment in inventories: 1.9%
exports of goods and services: 40.5%
imports of goods and services: -53.8%

(2013 est.)

  • GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 3.1%
industry: 13.9%
services: 83% (2013 est.)
  • Agriculture - products: sugarcane, vegetables, cotton
  • Industries: tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export
  • Industrial production growth rate: -0.7% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
  • Labor force: 141,800 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
  • Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 10%
industry: 15%
services: 75% (1996 est.)
  • Unemployment rate: 11.4% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
11.6% (2012 est.)
  • Population below poverty line: NA%
  • Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
  • Budget:
revenues: $1.15 billion (2013 est.)
expenditures: $1.45 billion (2013 est.)
  • Taxes and other revenues: 27% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
  • Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -7% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
  • Public debt: 90.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
85.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
  • Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
  • Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
4.8% (2012 est.)
  • Central bank discount rate: 7% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
7% (31 December 2009 est.)
  • Commercial bank prime lending rate: 8.5% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
8.7% (31 December 2012 est.)
  • Stock of narrow money: $1.749 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
$1.711 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
  • Stock of broad money: $4.229 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
$4.198 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
  • Stock of domestic credit: $5.035 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
$4.874 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
  • Market value of publicly traded shares: $4.495 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$NA (31 December 2011)
$4.366 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
  • Current account balance: -$276.6 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
-$204.4 million (2012 est.)
  • Exports: $1.051 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
$1.039 billion (2012 est.)
  • Exports - commodities: manufactures, sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components
  • Exports - partners: Trinidad and Tobago 20.8%, US 11.9%, St. Lucia 9.7%, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6%, Jamaica 5.6%, Antigua and Barbuda 4.9%, St. Kitts and Nevis 4.6%, UK 4.4% (2012)
  • Imports: $1.674 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
$1.584 billion (2012 est.)
  • Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
  • Imports - partners: Trinidad and Tobago 35.9%, US 26.9%, China 5.6% (2012)
  • Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $712.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
$839.7 million (31 December 2012 est.)
  • Debt - external: $4.49 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
$668 million (2003 est.)
  • Exchange rates:
Barbadian dollars (BBD) per US dollar -
2 (2013 est.)
2 (2012 est.)
2 (2010 est.)
note: the Barbadian dollar is pegged to the US dollar

Government of Barbados

  • 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.

  • Justice

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.

  • Education

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.

  • Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Barbados
  • Government type: parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
  • Capital:
name: Bridgetown
geographic coordinates: 13 06 N, 59 37 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
  • Administrative divisionsn11 parishes and 1 city*; Bridgetown*, Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas
  • Independence: 30 November 1966 (from the UK)
  • National holiday: Independence Day, 30 November (1966)
  • Constitution: adopted 22 November 1966, effective 30 November 1966; amended several times, last in 2003 (2011)

  • Legal system: English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts
  • International law organization participation: accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
  • Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Elliot BELGRAVE (since 1 June 2012)
head of government: Prime Minister Freundel STUART (since 23 October 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

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elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
  • Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21 seats; members appointed by the governor general - 12 on the advice of the Prime Minister, 2 on the advice of the opposition leader, and 7 at his discretion) and the House of Assembly (30 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held on 21 February 2013 (next to be called in 2018)
election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - DLP 51.3%, BLP 48.3%, other 0.4%; seats by party - DLP 16, BLP 14
  • Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the High Court with 8 justices) and the Court of Appeal (consists of the chief Justice and president of the court and 4 justices

note - Barbados, a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice, replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) as the final court of appeal judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the prime minister and opposition leader of Parliament; other justices appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, a 5-member independent body consisting of the Supreme Court chief justice, the commission head, and governor-general appointees recommended by the prime minister; justices serve until mandatory retirement at age 65

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts
  • Political parties and leaders:
Barbados Labor Party or BLP [Owen ARTHUR]
Democratic Labor Party or DLP [Freundel STUART]
People's Empowerment Party or PEP [David COMISSIONG]
  • Political pressure groups and leaders:
Barbados Secondary Teachers' Union or BSTU [Mary REDMAN]
Barbados Union of Teachers or BUT [Karen BEST]
Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados or CTUSAB, (includes the BWU, NUPW, BUT, and BSTU) [Leroy TROTMAN]
Barbados Workers Union or BWU [Linda BROOKS]
Clement Payne Labor Union [David COMISSIONG]
National Union of Public Workers [Walter MALONEY]
  • Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John E. BEALE (since 29 January 2009)
chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200
FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
consulate(s): Los Angeles
  • Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Larry L. PALMER (since 9 May 2012); note - also accredited to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
embassy: U.S. Embassy, Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael BB 14006
mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown BB 11000; (Department Name) Unit 3120, DPO AA 34055
telephone: [1] (246) 227-4000
FAX: [1] (246) 431-0179

Cultural life of Barbados

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 and Kamau Brathwaite. 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 and Frank Worrell 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 of 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 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 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.

Energy of Barbados

  • Electricity - production: 1.002 billion kWh (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
  • Electricity - consumption: 986 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
  • Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
  • Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
  • Electricity - installed generating capacity: 239,000 kW (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
  • Electricity - from fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
  • Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
  • Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
  • Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
  • Crude oil - production: 1,001 bbl/day (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
  • Crude oil - exports: 764.5 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
  • Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
  • Crude oil - proved reserves: 2.26 million bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
  • Refined petroleum products - production: 31 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
  • Refined petroleum products - consumption: 8,339 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
  • Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
  • Refined petroleum products - imports: 8,736 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
  • Natural gas - production: 20 million cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
  • Natural gas - consumption: 20 million cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
  • Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
  • Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
  • Natural gas - proved reserves: 113.3 million cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
  • Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 1.442 million Mt (2011 est.)

Communication of Barbados

  • Telephones - main lines in use: 144,000 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 137
  • Telephones - mobile cellular: 347,000 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 172
  • Telephone system:
general assessment: island-wide automatic telephone system
domestic: fixed-line teledensity of roughly 50 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density approaching 125 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-246; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad; satellite earth stations - 1 (Intelsat - Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia (2009)
  • Broadcast media: government-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) operates the lone terrestrial TV station; CBC also operates a multi-channel cable TV subscription service; roughly a dozen radio stations, consisting of a CBC-operated network operating alongside privately owned radio stations (2007)
  • Internet country code: .bb
  • Internet hosts: 1,524 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 167
  • Internet users: 188,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 143

Transportation of Barbados

  • Airports: 1 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 236
  • Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
  • Pipelines: gas 33 km; oil 64 km; refined products 6 km (2013)
  • Roadways:
total: 1,600 km
country comparison to the world: 176
paved: 1,600 km (2011)
  • Merchant marine:
total: 109
country comparison to the world: 49
by type: bulk carrier 23, cargo 52, chemical tanker 13, container 6, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 8, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 83 (Canada 11, Greece 14, Iran 5, Lebanon 2, Norway 38, Sweden 4, Syria 1, Turkey 1, UAE 1, UK 6) (2010)
  • Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Bridgetown

Military of Barbados

  • Military branches:
Royal Barbados Defense Force: Troops Command, Barbados Coast Guard (2011)
  • Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service, or earlier with parental consent; no conscription (2013)
  • Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 73,820
females age 16-49: 73,835 (2010 est.)
  • Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 58,125
females age 16-49: 58,016 (2010 est.)
  • Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 1,842
female: 1,849 (2010 est.)
  • Military - note: the Royal Barbados Defense Force includes a land-based Troop Command and a small Coast Guard; the primary role of the land element is island defense against external aggression; the Command consists of a single, part-time battalion with a small regular cadre deployed throughout the island; the cadre increasingly supports the police in patrolling the coastline for smuggling and other illicit activities (2007)

Transnational Issue of Barbados

  • Disputes - international: Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago abide by the April 2006 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision delimiting a maritime boundary and limiting catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobago's exclusive economic zone; joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which permits Venezuela to extend its Economic Exclusion Zone/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
  • Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Barbados is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; legal and illegal female migrants from Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Guyana seem most vulnerable to forced prostitution; Barbadian and immigrant children are prostituted in exchange for material goods; in the past, foreigners are reported to have been forced to work in the domestic service, agriculture, and construction industries
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Barbados does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the country was granted a waiver of an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because the government adopted a national action plan on human trafficking that specifies implementing agencies and addresses prosecution, protection, and prevention measures; the government conducted at least two sex trafficking investigations in 2012, as opposed to none in the previous year but did not report any prosecutions or convictions of trafficking offenses; Barbadian law does not appear to prohibit all forms of human trafficking and does not prescribe sufficiently stringent penalties; government efforts to prevent human trafficking included broadcasting short public awareness messages, holding town hall meetings, and funding a hotline (2013)
  • Illicit drugs: one of many Caribbean transshipment points for narcotics bound for Europe and the US; offshore financial center

Dame Ruth Nita Barrow-Governor-general of Barbados

Dame Nita.jpg

Dame Nita Barrow, (born Nov. 15, 1916, St. Lucy, Barbados—died Dec. 19, 1995, Bridgetown, Barbados), Barbadian public health official and diplomat who , capped a long and distinguished career with her appointment in 1990 as the first woman governor-general of Barbados. Barrow, who was the sister of the country’s first prime minister, Errol Barrow, studied nursing in Barbados, at the Universities of Toronto and Edinburgh, and at Columbia University, New York City. During the 1940s and ’50s, she held a variety of nursing and public health posts in Barbados and Jamaica, and in 1964 she became an adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO). She rapidly gained international stature as nursing adviser (1967-71) to the Pan American Health Organization, medical commissioner (1971-80) and a president (1983) of the World Council of Churches, president (1975-83) of the World YWCA, health consultant (1981-86) to WHO, president (1982-90) of the International Council for Adult Education, and Barbadian ambassador (1986-90) to the UN. Barrow presided at the 1985 international women’s conference in Nairobi, Kenya, and was the only woman named to the Eminent Persons Group set up to investigate racism in South Africa. In 1988 she lost a bid for the presidency of the UN General Assembly. Barrow was made Dame of the Order of St. Andrew in 1980.

Barbados in 2013

Barbados Area: 430 sq km (166 sq mi) Population (2013 est.): 278,000 Capital: Bridgetown Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Elliott Belgrave Head of government .---->read on

Barbados in 2006

Barbados Area: 430 sq km (166 sq mi) Population (2006 est.): 270,000 Capital: Bridgetown Chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Clifford Husbands Head of government.---->read on

Biograpy of Barbados


This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, [1],[2], [3], [4], [5],[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24],[25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30],[31], [32], [33], [34], and the [35].

Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.