A sovereign country in the Lesser Antilles the island of Barbados is 21 miles in length and 14 miles in width covering a total area of 167 square miles. Located in the western region of the North Atlantic at about 62 miles east of the Caribbean Sea the island is positioned outside of the principal Atlantic Hurricane Alley.
During the late 15th century the island of Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators and claimed for the Monarchy of Spain first appearing on a Spanish map in the year 1511. Barbados before the Spanish navigators was visited by the Portuguese in 1536 who left the island unclaimed, leaving only an introduction of wild hogs for an adequate supply of meat for further visits and the only sign that they had ever been on the island. Visited by the Olive Blossom, the first English ship in 1624, the island of Barbados was claimed by the English in the name of King James I and was colonized by the first English settlers in 1627 later becoming an English and subsequently a British colony.
Barbados in 1966 was recognized as an independent state and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations with Queen Elizabeth II as its reigning constitutional monarch, and having a royal line of succession with other realms. The island of Barbados although being considered as an Atlantic island is accepted as a member of the Caribbean and classified as one of the foremost leading tourist destinations in the world. Next to Canada Barbados in 2011 according to the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International was ranked second in the Americas and 16th on the global scale.
Facts about the Island of Barbados
- The name Barbados is thought to have been derived from the Portuguese word Barbados or its Spanish counterpart los Barbados which in English carries the meaning of “the bearded ones”. Historians however are still unable to determine whether the term “bearded” was used in reference to the long hanging roots of the bearded fig trees found on the island native to Barbados, or the bearded South American habitants known as Caribs who once inhabited the island. Or on a more over-imaginative note, is it believed that Barbados may have gotten its name from the froth spraying over the outlying reefs of the island creating the effect of a beard.
- According to the accounts given by the descendants of the native Arawakan – tongued tribes in other territories; during the Pre-Columbian era the original name for the island of Barbados was known as Ichirouganaim which is recognized by a number of translations as “Redstone island with teeth outside”, “Teeth” as well as “Red land with white teeth”. The teeth referring to the island’s surrounding reefs.
- In 1519 the Genoese mapmaker Visconte Maggiolo created a map which identified and names the island of Barbados in its correct location. Having said that, there is an island in the Leewards Islands in the West Indies which bears a similar name to the island of Barbados known as Barbuda which was once known as Las Barbudas by the Spanish
- It is still unknown to this very day which European country first visited the island of Barbados. Some historians believed it was the during the early Spanish exploration of Christopher Columbus while others are convinced that it was the Portuguese who were the first Europeans to discover the island of Barbados while they were on route to the South American country of Brazil.
- Since the arrival of the first English colonists between 1627 – 1628 up to its independence in 1966, the island of Barbados remained under English rule and later governance by Britain and is the only island within the Caribbean which did not change ownership during the colonial period. During its earlier years the island of Barbados was mainly colonized by white males utilizing African slaves as their main source of labor. The cultivation of cotton, tobacco indigo and ginger was primarily handled by indentured European labor until the 1640 which recognized the start of the sugar cane industry.
- Over 4000 people were killed in the 1780 hurricane which impacted the island of Barbados. 20,000 inhabitants were killed in a cholera epidemic in 1854. The approximate size of the slave population in Barbados in 1833 was about 83,000. The rate of population growth in the island of Barbados between 1946 – 1980 fell due to almost one – third of the inhabitants migrating to Britain.
- Headed by a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, molded on the Westminster British system of adopting Queen Elizabeth II its Queen and head of state. Barbados is represented locally by the Governor – General, Elliot Belgrave and the head of local government the Prime Minister, the island of Barbados has been an independent country since November 30, 1966.
- Barbados Defense Force consists of about 600 members with 12 to 18 year olds making up its Cade Corps. Barbados defense preparations are closely affiliated with the defense treaties with the United Stated of America, the United Kingdom ad well as the People’s Republic of China.
- Easternmost of the Lesser Antilles and situated in the Atlantic Ocean east of the West Indies islands, Barbados when compared to its westerly neighboring islands is relatively flat. Barbados towards its central highland region gradually rises to its highest point on the island which is known as Mount Hillaby located within the geological Scotland District at about 1,120 feet above sea level.
- Within the parish of Saint Michael is the capital and principal city of Barbados, Bridgetown.
- The island of Barbados experiences two seasons. The “wet season” which notices higher rainfall between the months of June to November and the “dry season” which occurs between the months of December through to May making the island one of the most sought after vacation locations.
- The island of Barbados in Gross Domestic Product is ranked as the 51 richest country in the world and has a moderately high standard of living and a well-developed market economic system.
- Similar to most Caribbean countries of British colonial ancestry cricket is a very popular sport in Barbados. Most players on the West Indies cricket team are generally included from the island of Barbados and has seen legendary players such as Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Garfield Sobers, Malcolm Marshall and a few others.
- Commuting on the island of Barbados using small busses can be quite uncomfortable as passengers are never refused regardless of the numbers which can often lead to overcrowding. As such “ZRs” generally known as route taxis and the convenient and more preferred method of transportation when traveling in Barbados.
Barbados Web cam
Mullins Beach Barbados Webcam
Located in the parish of St. Peter, Barbados, one of the most touristed beaches on the west coast of the island of Barbados is the Mullins Beach. The webcam provided by the Royal Westmoreland Barbados and Treasure Beach Hotel offers online viewers a breathtaking view of what many have considered to be the perfect holiday vacation spot in the Caribbean.
A very popular hangout for snorkelers, the beach is located in a cove where the waters are clear and calm offering a superb location for diving and watching wildlife.
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