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A visit to the
Barbados Museum or a
Barbados Island Tour
are two of the best ways to get a true reflection of the islands heritage.

Alternatively you can rent a car from a Barbados car rental company
and take in the sights, and breath taking scenery.


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Barbados History

History of Barbados


The first inhabitants of Barbados were the Arawak Indians. They were driven off the island in 1200 AD by the invading Carib Indians from Venezuela. The Caribs abandoned Barbados by the time the first European sailed in to the region.

In 1536 Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos discovered the island en route to Brazil. He named the island Los Barbados, meaning the 'Bearded One' after the islands Fig Tree's whose long hanging aerial roots have a beard like resemblance.

In 1625 Captain John Powell landed and claimed the uninhabited island for England. Two years later his brother Captain Henry Powell landed with a party of 80 settlers and 10 slaves. More settlers followed in their wake and by the end of 1628 the population was around 2000.

Captain John Powell
The colonists originally planted the fields with tobacco and cotton, but by 1640 they had discovered the potential of Sugar Cane. To meet the labor demands of the new crop they began to import large amounts of African Slaves. The first large sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean became immensely profitable. In 1663 Barbados was made into a British Crown Possession, by the mid 17th century the planters and merchants were thriving.

In 1816, due to the poor living conditions and treatment, the slaves staged a revolt. In 1834 Slavery was abolished. This unfortunately failed to solve the dire conditions as the land remained in the hands of the large estates and most of the slaves had no alternative other than to stay and work on the land. Those who left ended up in Shanty Towns.

Barbados in 1700
An economic Depression hit in the 1930's, which led to street riots. As a consequence the British Colonial Welfare was established providing large amounts of cash to improve living conditions and quality of life. To counter political unrest, the British reluctantly gave black reformers political roles. One of the key reformers, Grantley Adams became the first Prime minister and was knighted by the queen.

Barbados gained internal self government in 1961 and in 1966 gained full independence and retained its status as a Commonwealth country. Independence Day is celebrated annually on the 30th November. In 1967 Barbados joined the United Nations

After World War Two the sugar Cane industry went into decline and the tourism industry started to take off to supplement the islands economy.

Barbados is now a peaceful democratic society without major incident. The current Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, took office after the sudden death of the late Prime Minister David Thompson, who died at age 48 of Pancreatic Cancer on October 23rd 2010. Prime Minister Stuart represents the DLP (Democratic Labour Party) who came in to power in 2008 and were reelected in 2013. The previous government BLP (Barbados Labour Party) was led by Owen Arthur who had been in power since 1994.

Barbados Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart