Caribbean Affairs in the USA



People, History, and Culture of Barbados

BarbadosSeveral mysteries concern the ancient history of Barbados. It is thought that Arawak Indians lived on the islands for centuries before the arrival of European explorers. When the Portuguese arrived at Barbados in 1536 they reported no inhabitants lived on the island. It is thought that the Arawaks had moved off the island or been decimated by the more powerful Carib Indians. Though the Portuguese did not stay and establish any settlements on the island they did give the island its modern name- Los Barbados- named after a shaggy FIG tree that can still be found on the island- meaning the "Bearded Ones".
English Settlers
The island again sat in relative isolation until the arrival of the first British settlers in 1625. This group of settlers claimed the island for England and set about the cultivation of fields.
As time would pass the island grew prosperous as a major sugar cane producing business. So valuable was the island that 26 forts guarded its 21miles of coastline and English-style parliamentary buildings, churches and homes soon rose up in Bridgetown. In 1639 Parliament was established on the island. Britain ruled the island for the next 300 years.
The island also served as a military staging area to help in the colonization or protection of other British colonies in the Caribbean. Its mild climate was also thought to contribute to better health and visitors flocked to the island in the 1700's to improve their health. One of the most famous visitors at that time was George Washington who caught smallpox on his trip in 1751!
Today, the people of Barbados are often called by their nickname- Bajuns. The island has a literacy rate of 98%. They are proud of their ties to England and enjoy cricket and afternoon tea. People still wear light jackets for dinner, observe manners and speak with more of a British accent than a pure "West-Indies" accent found on other Caribbean Islands. But while they respect their ties to England and observe many English customs, they are equally (if not more) proud of who they are and what Barbados has made of itself. For the most part the people are outgoing, friendly and very patient with visitors. In fact, one of the reasons so many people enjoy going to Barbados is the friendly people and the feeling that the resort or hotel they are staying in is part of the "neighborhood" rather than just staying in a resort “compound”

Barbados Crop Over


CaribbeanAffairs Inc.