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The Barbadian flag and coat of arms
The Barbadian flag and coat of arms





Official language: English
Government: parliamentary democracy
Independece date: 30. november 1966 (from the United Kingdom)
Area: 431 km²
Population: 279 254 (2005)
Population density: 647/ km²
Motto: "Pride and industry"
Anthem: "In plenty and time of need"
Capital: Bridgetown
Infant mortality: 12,7 pr 1000
Life expectancy: 71, 8 years
Religion: Christianity (Anglican 40%, other Protestant 27%, nonreligious 20%,Roman-Catholic 4%)
Valuta: Barbados dollar
Ethnic groups: black 92,5%; white 3,2%; mixed 2,8%; other 1,5%
languages: English, Creole (Bajan) 90%


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Barbados the most easterly located island in the Caribbean. The country lies in the southern Caribbean region, where it is a part of the Lesser Antilles island-chain. Barbados is relatively close to the South American continent, around 434 kilometres northeast of Venezuela, but politically it is a part of North America. Its closest island neighbours are Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the west, Grenada to the south-west, and Trinidad and Tobago to the south.

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The total land area of Barbados is about 430 square kilometres, with a coastline on 97 km, and most of the island is low-lying, with some higher points closer to the center of the island. The highest point is 340 metres Mount Hillaby
The climate is tropical,but the constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean keep the temperatures mild.
Constitution River is the longest. There are some 4 other rivers, shown unnamed on most maps.


The capital of Barbados is Bridgetown. It was originally named "Indian Bridge" for a bridge constructed over the river (now known as the Careenage) by the Indians..Other major cities are Speightstown, Holetown and Sandy Lane.
Holetown was the first settlement in Barbados, and was originally named Jamestown, after King James I of England.


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The earliest inhabitants of Barbados where Americans or nomads. Three waves of migrants moved north towards North America. The first wave was of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, who were farmers and fishermen, arrived by canoe from South America around 350 CE.The second wave of immigrants where the Arawak people who arrived from South America around 800 EC. There are still Arawak settlements on the island. The Caribs arrived in the thirteenth century as the third wave, and displaced both the Saladoid-Barrancoids and the Arawaks.

The first name this country got, was Ichirouganaim. The portuguese named the island after discovering and conquering the island. In an official Portuguese document(1511), it was referred to as "Ilha de Barbados", the island of the bearded ones.
It also has the nickname "Little England".

Although Barbados has been declared "the most British island in the caribbean", it was named by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Campos.

Portuguese conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labour on plantations. Other Caribs fled the island.

British sailors who landed on Barbados in 1625 at the site of the now called Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. Barbados was under British control from the first arrival of the British settlers in 1627-1628 until independence in 1966. Anyway, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly began meeting in 1639.

Though Barbados is the 'Little England' of the Caribbean, it is not that so much that the islanders has given up on kidney pies, or rum for bitter ale. Bajans, as the inhabitans call themselves, are as West Indian as any of their Caribbean neighbours, and have tended to borrow rather than assume English customs and habits. Although english is the official language, almost everyone knows how to speak creole, the local language.

Barbados is located almost a hundred miles east of its closest neighbour, so when the Spaniards, Danes, French and others were busy fighting over the
rest of the Caribbean, Barbados "sat back with its Pimm's on ice", remaining solidly British.


slave contract
slave contract

Slaves worked in 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.




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Though different countries have ruled the island through the ages and affected the culture in many ways, Barbados is today a cosmopolitan country with a strong character of its own. It is prosperous and progressive and still full of natural charm. The people are known for being friendly, fun, loving and warm.

The parliament is the same in Barbados and the UK, just like the school system.

The government pays the cost of education for the Barbadian students, so they get primary, secondary and teriary levels, and textbooks for free. This has resulted in one of the highest literacy rates in the world, at about 98%.
Kids starts in primary school at the age of four, and continues until they are eleven. There are seventy-four government primary schools, and several privately-run primary schools.
Secondary school goes from age 11 to 18. When they turn 16, they sit the CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) examinations.

The christmas celebration is quite similar to the british and american version. Christmas day is the day for feasting. The barbadian christmas food is among others jug-jug, green peas and rice, baked ham, roast turkey with its stuffing with gravy, roast pork with crackling and gravy, fish, pepperpot, jug jug, yam pie, candied sweet potatoes, plantain, conkies.



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Chattel houses are moveable wooden dwellings, something you only find on Barbados.
The Barbadian chattel houses were traditionally built on top of blocks, so if the owner was in need of moving to another area, he actually brought his house with him. The houses are very attractive because of the ornate design of that time.
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Original chattel house
Original chattel house



The national dish of Barbados is cou-cou and flying fish.
Cou-cou is a dish made with cornmeal and okras, like it has been made in Africa for centuries. It is accompanied by flying fish which have been prepared in an aromatic sauce of tomato, onion, chives, thyme, fresh pepper, garlic and other herbs.

The island is actually called "The land of the flying fish".
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Barbados has 10 National heroes, 9 men and 1 woman. They all had a few things in common; they affected the island in positive ways.
April 28th is the National Heroes Day, dedicated to honouring our 10 National Heroes:

• Bussa
• Mrs. Sarah Ann Gill
• Samuel Jackman Prescod
• Charles Duncan O'Neal
• Sir Grantley Herbert Adams Q.C., Kt., Bachelor, C.M.G
• Clement Osbourne Payne
• Sir Hugh Worrell Springer, G.C.V.O.,K.A., C.B.E., O.B.E.
• Sir Frank Leslie Walcott
• Errol Walton Barrow, P.C., Q.C.
• Sir Garfield Auburn Sobers

-Barbados produced the worlds oldest rum under the Mount Gay label.
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-The furry little creatures that run out in front of your hire car as you travel the country roads of Barbados are mongooses.
These animals were brought to the island from India to control the rat population in the cane fields.

- The Mongooses din not kill the rats. So instead they increased the snake population that actually ate them.

- It is well known that the Mongoose in Barbados never crosses the road unless someone is watching.

- Barbados has always used the british flag until independence in 1966.

- When the island was first discoverd, it was almost totally covered in dense jungle, with a very large population of wild pigs.

-First and second Governors, Captain William Deane, and John Powell, respectively, were each arrested during their terms as Governor, and returned to England in irons.

-The Lord Nelson Statue, erected on Bridgetown's Trafalgar Square on 22 Mar 1813, is older than the statue and square of the same name and fame in London. Trafalgar Square was renamed National Heroes Square in April 1999, in honour of the national heroes of Barbados.

-During the period 1841 - 1845, Barbados was considered the healthiest place in the world to live, having 1 death per 66 people, compared to world averages of approximately 1 death per 35 people. People travelled to Barbados for it's Healing Qualities, and the treatment was believed to cure many ills.

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-In 1846, Barbados had 491 active Sugar Plantations, with 506 windmills.












We chose Barbados because it was an exotic island we wanted to learn more about. We wanted to find out more about a country in the Caribbean, and to learn how the island was occupied, and how life is there today.
We've both got a crush on the Caribbean after the Pirates-movies, so it was an easy choice:)
And of course, we wouldn't mind going down there on a study-trip:D


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Sources:
www.wikipedia.com
www.totallybarbados.com
www.lonelyplanet.com
www.populstat.info
www.barbados.org