Barbados History

Barbados History

Country data

Area: 430 km2 (world ranking: 184)

Population: 286,000

Population density: 665 per km2 (as of 2017, world ranking: 174)

Capital: Bridgetown

Official languages: English

Gross domestic product: 4.8 billion US $; Real growth: 1.7%

Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 15,540

Currency: 1 Barbados dollar (BDS $) = 100 cents


Seitzstr. 9
11, 80538 Munich
Telephone 089 21578630,
Fax 089 21578423
E-Mail: [email protected]

Head of State: Elizabeth II, Head of Government: Mia Mottley, Outside: Jerome Walcott

National holiday: 11/30

Administrative structure
11 districts

State and form of government
Constitution of 1966
Parliamentary monarchy (in the Commonwealth)
Parliament: House of Assembly with 30 members, election every 5 years; Senate (Senate) with 21 members appointed for 5 years.
Suffrage from 18 years.

Population: Barbadians, last census 2010: 277,821 residents
over 90% of African descent

Cities (with population): (2013) Bridgetown 92,516 residents, Speightstown 2141, Holetown 1639, Bathsheba 1511

Religions: 24% Anglicans, 19% Pentecostals, 6% Adventists, 4% Methodists, 4% Catholics (as of 2006)

Languages: English; Bajan as a colloquial language

Employed by the: agricultural sector. 3%, industry 19%, business 78% (2017)

Unemployment (in% of the labor force)
2017: 9.7%

Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 4.4%

Foreign trade: Import: 1.7 billion US $ (2017); Export: US $ 0.5 billion (2017)


Before the Europeans discovered Barbados in the first half of the 16th century, the island was founded around 1000 AD. probably settled by Aruak Indians. In 1536, the Portuguese Pedro a Campo, sailing for Spain, landed on the island and gave it the name that is still valid today, which is derived from the fig tree Ficus barbata, which is native to Spain. In 1625 the British crown took possession of the deserted island and began to colonize it and subsequently began to grow sugar cane and cotton. The few large white landowners who worked were black slaves from Africa, who soon formed the majority of the population.

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Colonial period

In 1652 Barbados became a British crown colony with limited self-government, and the capital Bridgetown was founded a year later. The island became one of the richest British colonies in the Caribbean, with sugar cane and slave trade dominating.

After the abolition of slavery in all British colonies from 1834, the blacks formed the majority of the population on the island, but had no political participation and were unable to acquire land themselves.

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Independent state

In the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries, movements against social injustices in the country and against dependence on Great Britain developed. After anti-British protests, the right to vote was extended to the black population in 1937. In 1958 Barbados became a member of the West Indies Federation, which only existed until 1962. 1961 gave the island full internal autonomy, in November 1966 Barbados declared independence as a parliamentary monarchy under the British Commonwealth. According to AbbreviationFinder, the British royal family thus continued to provide the head of state, who was represented on the island by a governor general.

The party landscape, which has been developing since the 1930s, was based on the British model. The “Barbados Labor Party” (BLP) was the dominant political force for a long time, it represented several heads of government of the country. The “Democratic Labor Party” (DLP), split off from the BLP in 1955, emerged as the second major party. Today there are no longer any significant programmatic differences between the parties.

Barbados President