Christmas Around the World
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Posted Thursday December 7th 2023


Barbados Flag

Barbados Christmas Tree
Barbados Christmas Tree

Barbados Christmas Ornaments

Barbados Christmas Tree Ornaments

Barbados Christmas Tree Ornaments

Barbados Christmas Tree Ornaments

Barbados Christmas Tree Ornaments

Barbados Christmas Tree Ornaments

Barbados Christmas Tree Ornaments

Barbados Christmas Tree Ornaments

Ronald Reagan Barbados
April 7, 1982
Arrival ceremony in Barbados. President Reagan meets with leaders of eastern Caribbean countries to discuss regional issues of mutual concern.


Island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America, and is the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It lies on the boundary of the South American and the Caribbean Plates. Its capital and largest city is Bridgetown.

Inhabited by Kalinago people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other Amerindians, Spanish navigators took possession of Barbados in the late 15th century, claiming it for the Crown of Castile. It first appeared on a Spanish map in 1511. The Portuguese Empire claimed the island between 1532 and 1536, but abandoned it in 1620 with their only remnants being an introduction of wild boars for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. An English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados on 14 May 1625; its men took possession of the island in the name of King James I. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and Barbados became an English and later British colony. During this period, the colony operated on a plantation economy, relying on the labor of African slaves who worked on the island's plantations. Slavery continued until it was phased out through most of the British Empire by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.

On 30 November 1966, Barbados gained independence and became a Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as Queen of Barbados. On 30 November 2021, Barbados transitioned to a republic within the Commonwealth.

Barbados's population is predominantly of African ancestry. While it is technically an Atlantic island, Barbados is closely associated with the Caribbean and is ranked as one of its leading tourist destinations.

EtymologyThe name "Barbados" is from either the Portuguese term os barbados or the Spanish equivalent, los barbados, both meaning "the bearded ones". It is unclear whether "bearded" refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree (Ficus citrifolia), a species of banyan indigenous to the island, or to the allegedly bearded Caribs who once inhabited the island, or, more fancifully, to a visual impression of a beard formed by the sea foam that sprays over the outlying coral reefs.

The original name for Barbados in the Pre-Columbian era was Ichirouganaim, according to accounts by descendants of the indigenous Arawakan-speaking tribes in other regional areas, with possible translations including "Red land with white teeth" or "Redstone island with teeth outside (reefs)" or simply "Teeth".

Colloquially, Barbadians refer to their home island as "Bim" or other nicknames associated with Barbados, including "Bimshire".

About 700 thousand years ago, the island emerged from the ocean as a result of a rising body of soft rock in the mantle known as a diapir, located under Barbados, pushing it upwards. This process is still happening, and makes the island rise about 30 centimeters on average every thousand years.

Archeological evidence suggests humans may have first settled or visited the island circa 1600 BC. More permanent Amerindian settlement of Barbados dates to about the 4th to 7th centuries AD, by a group known as the Saladoid-Barrancoid. Settlements of Arawaks from South America appeared by around 800 AD and again in the 12th–13th century. The Kalinago (called "Caribs" by the Spanish) visited the island regularly, although there is no evidence of permanent settlement.

It is uncertain which European nation arrived first in Barbados, which probably would have been at some point in the 15th century or 16th century. The settlement was established as a proprietary colony and funded by Sir William Courten, a City of London merchant who acquired the title to Barbados and several other islands. The first colonists were actually tenants, and much of the profits of their labor returned to Courten and his company.

The introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil in 1640 completely transformed society, the economy and the physical landscape. Barbados eventually had one of the world's biggest sugar industries. The workable sugar plantation required a large investment and a great deal of heavy labor. At first, Dutch traders supplied the equipment, financing, and African slaves, in addition to transporting most of the sugar to Europe.

  • In 1644 the population of Barbados was estimated at 30,000, of which about 800 were of African ancestry, with the remainder mainly of English ancestry. By 1680 there were 20,000 free whites and 46,000 enslaved Africans; by 1724, there were 18,000 free whites and 55,000 enslaved Africans.
  • Harsh conditions endured by the slaves resulted in several planned slave rebellions, the largest of which was Bussa's rebellion in 1816 which was rapidly suppressed by the colonial authorities.
  • The 1780 hurricane killed more than 4,000 people on Barbados.
  • The country generally experiences two seasons, one of which includes noticeably higher rainfall. Known as the "wet season", this period runs from June to December. By contrast, the "dry season" runs from December to May.
  • It is one of the world's most densely populated isles
  • Barbados is host to four species of nesting turtles (green turtles, loggerheads, hawksbill turtles, and leatherbacks) and has the second-largest hawksbill turtle-breeding population in the Caribbean.
  • Barbados is also the host to the green monkey. The green monkey is found in West Africa from Senegal to the Volta River. It has been introduced to Barbados in the late 17th century when slave trade ships travelled to the Caribbean from West Africa.
  • The 2010 national census conducted by the Barbados Statistical Service reported a resident population of 277,821, of which 144,803 were female and 133,018 were male.
  • Close to 90% of all Barbadians (also known colloquially as "Bajan") are of Afro-Caribbean ancestry ("Afro-Bajans") and mixed ancestry.
  • English is the official language of Barbados
  • Christianity is the largest religion in Barbados, with the largest denomination being Anglican (23.9% of the population in 2019). Other Christian denominations with significant followings in Barbados are the Catholic Church (administered by Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown), Pentecostals (19.5%), Jehovah's Witnesses, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Spiritual Baptists. The Church of England was the official state religion until its legal disestablishment by the Parliament of Barbados following independence.
  • Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. The Constitution of Barbados is the supreme law of the country. Legislation is passed by the Parliament of Barbados but does not have the force of law unless the President grants assent to that law. Barbados functions as a two-party system. The dominant political parties are the Democratic Labour Party and the incumbent Barbados Labour Party. Since independence on 30 November 1966, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has governed from 1966 to 1976; 1986 to 1994; and from 2008 to 2018; and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has governed from 1976 to 1986; 1994 to 2008; and from 2018 to present.
  • Barbados is an original member (1995) of the World Trade Organization and participates actively in its work.
  • Barbados is divided into 11 parishes:
    1. Christ ChurchBarbados 11 Parishes
    2. Saint Andrew
    3. Saint George
    4. Saint James
    5. Saint John
    6. Saint Joseph
    7. Saint Lucy
    8. Saint Michael
    9. Saint Peter
    10. Saint Philip
    11. Saint Thomas
  • Historically, the economy of Barbados had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but since the late 1970s and early 1980s it has diversified into the manufacturing and tourism sectors. Offshore finance and information services have become important foreign exchange earners.
  • Barbados is the 52nd richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita, has a well-developed mixed economy, and a moderately high standard of living. According to the World Bank, Barbados is one of 83 high income economies in the world. Despite this, a 2012 self-study in conjunction with the Caribbean Development Bank revealed 20% of Barbadians live in poverty, and nearly 10% cannot meet their basic daily food needs.
  • The Barbados literacy rate is ranked close to 100%. The mainstream public education system of Barbados is fashioned after the British model.
  • Barbados is a blend of West African, Portuguese, Creole, Indian and British cultures. Citizens are officially called Barbadians.
  • The largest carnival-like cultural event that takes place on the island is the Crop Over festival, which was established in 1974. 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.
  • Bajan cuisine is a mixture of African, Indian, Irish, Creole and British influences. A typical meal consists of a main dish of meat or fish, normally marinated with a mixture of herbs and spices, hot side dishes, and one or more salads. A common Bajan side dish could be pickled cucumber, fish cakes, bake, etc. The meal is usually served with one or more sauces. The national dish of Barbados is cou-cou and flying fish with spicy gravy. Another traditional meal is pudding and souse, a dish of pickled pork with spiced sweet potatoes. A wide variety of seafood and meats are also available.
  • Cockspur Rum and Malibu Rum are from the island. The Mount Gay Rum visitor's center in Barbados claims to be the world's oldest remaining rum company, with the earliest confirmed deed from 1703.
  • The music of Barbados includes distinctive national styles of folk and popular music, including elements of Western classical and religious music. In 2009, Rihanna, a native of Barbados, was appointed as an Honorary Ambassador of Youth and Culture for Barbados by the late Prime Minister, David Thompson.
  • Barbados hosted the final of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. Cricket is very popular on the island. Barbados has produced many great cricketers including Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Everton Weekes, Gordon Greenidge, Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Joel Garner, Desmond Haynes and Malcolm Marshall.
  • In Barbados, drivers drive on the left side of the road. Although Barbados is about 21 miles across at its widest point, a car journey from Six Cross Roads in St. Philip (south-east) to North Point in St. Lucy (north-central) can take one and a half hours or longer due to traffic. Barbados has half as many registered cars as citizens. Barbados is known for its many roundabouts. Transport on the island is relatively convenient with "route taxis" called "ZRs" (pronounced "Zed-Rs") traveling to most points on the island. These small buses can at times be crowded, as passengers are generally never turned down regardless of the number.

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