25+ Interesting Facts About Barbados

  1. Barbados is an island country in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. This easternmost Caribbean island is close to but not part of the Lesser Antilles, an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. Its nearest countries are St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
  2. Barbados has the highest number of people above 100 per capita among sovereign countries. There are 71 centenarians per 100,000 people in this Caribbean island country. Comparatively, Japan and Uruguay jointly hold the second place, with 62 centenarians per 100,000 people. (Source)
  3. Barbados is the most water-scarce country in the Caribbean, having annual renewable water resources of only 350 cubic meters per capita. The country receives all its internal water resources through rainfall, while the region faces rising temperatures and low rainfall. (Source)
  4. According to historical records, humans from northern South America settled in Barbados by 1600 BC. The initial Europeans to reach the island were Spaniards in the 16th Century.
  5. Later, the Portuguese arrived here and named it Barbados (bearded ones) due to the native bearded fig trees or local bearded men. However, they abandoned the island due to continuous raids by the Spanish, and it became unpopulated.
  6. English settlers took possession of Barbados in 1625, and it became a British colony in 1627. The population, particularly the enslaved Africans of the island, increased rapidly after the 1640s with the growth of sugar plantations.
  7. Barbados established its House of Assembly in 1639. It is the third-oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere after Bermuda’s Legislature and the Virginia House of Burgesses. 
    Parliament building in Bridgetown, Bermuda
    Bermuda's parliament is the third-oldest in the Caribbean

  8. Grapefruit originated accidentally in Barbados as a cross between the Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo fruit (introduced in 1683). It was the first citrus fruit to originate in the Americas. (Source)
  9. The English shipped a large number of white slaves, particularly those from Ireland, to Barbados and other parts of the West Indies after the Cromwellian War in Ireland (1649-53). By 1655, they employed nearly 12,000 prisoners of war who worked as slave laborers and faced worse conditions than indentured laborers. (Source)
  10. Mount Gay in Barbados is the world’s oldest continuously operating rum distillery, which started operations in 1703. Barbados is a perfect place for producing rum due to its favorable sugar cane growing conditions and pure water. Unlike other parts of the Caribbean with volcanic islands, Barbados was formed with coral reefs and limestone bedrock that acts as a natural filter for rainwater. (Source)
  11. George Washington, the first president of the USA, traveled abroad only once in his lifetime. He visited Barbados in 1751 with his ailing half-brother Lawrence, who was suffering from tuberculosis. They traveled to Barbados due to its reputation for treating tuberculosis and other lung diseases.
  12. The Crane Resort in Barbados is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Caribbean region. It was founded in 1887 as “Crane Beach Hotel.”
  13. The colonial regime unveiled a statue of British admiral Lord Horatio Nelson in Bridgetown in 1813. It was before placing the statue of this war hero in London’s Trafalgar Square during the 1840s. However, Barbados removed this statue in 2020 due to Nelson’s defense of the slave trade. (Source)
  14. The biggest revolt by slaves against the colonial rule of Britain in Barbados was Bussa’s Rebellion in 1816. The violence started on April 14 and continued for nearly two weeks. The widespread rebellion caused extensive damage to property and the destruction of around 20% of sugar cane fields on the island. The British later abolished slavery in 1834.
  15. Barbados gained independence from Britain in 1966. The country became a republic in 2021, replacing the British monarch with the president as the head of state.
  16. More than 90% of the population in Barbados consists of people of African descent. The remaining belong to mixed (African-European) race, European (mainly British), and people from the Indian subcontinent. English is the official language, while many speak Bajan Creole (local nonstandard English).
  17. Christianity, particularly Protestantism, is the largest religion in Barbados, followed by nearly 76% of people. Around 20% of the population is irreligious.
  18. Barbados is known as the “land of the flying fish” due to the abundance of this fish in the waters around this island. Flying fish is also part of the national dish of Barbados: flying fish and cou-cou (a mixture of cornmeal, okra, butter, and herbs).
  19. Sugar cane became the economic backbone of Barbados in 1643 due to its favorable geographical features and increased demand for sugar and rum in European countries. The sugar industry remained the most important economic sector of the country for over three centuries. Tourism and manufacturing surpassed sugar as the main industries in Barbados for the first time during the 1990s.
  20. Barbados is geographically different from its neighboring islands. It is comparatively less mountainous, and the highest point (Mount Hillaby at 336 meters (1,102 feet) altitude) is in the northeastern part. The island also has less variety of animals (native and introduced species) and plants.
  21. Barbados has been pushing upward for hundreds of thousands of years. There are estimates that it has been rising continuously for a foot every 1,000 years. 
    Satellite image of Barbados
    Barbados is continuously moving upward

  22. A thick layer of coral covers almost the entire island of Barbados. The oldest corals on the island are aged over 500,000 years. Only 15% of the area in the northeast, known as the Scotland District, is devoid of corals due to erosion.
  23. Barbados has a pleasant climate, and its temperature usually remains between 22 C and 30 C throughout the year. The country has two seasons according to the amount of rainfall. These include the dry season (December to May) and the wet season (June to November).
  24. Barbados is one of the few places in the Caribbean that are considered relatively safer from hurricanes. Devastating hurricanes rarely hit this island due to its position on the southern border of the tropical cyclone zone. The country suffered notable hurricanes in 1780, 1831, 1898, and 1955.
  25. Road tennis started in Barbados during the 1930s to facilitate locals who could not play the expensive lawn tennis. Its rules and equipment made it a combination of lawn and table tennis. It is famous in the country as the nation’s “only indigenous sport,” and the government is trying for its inclusion in the Olympic Games. (Source)
  26. Cricket is the most popular sport in Barbados, and its players are part of the West Indies cricket team. Barbados has produced several renowned cricketers.
  27. Rihanna, a native of Barbados, is the most famous star of this Caribbean country. The iconic singer has won several international awards, including Grammy Awards.
  28. The only UNESCO World Heritage site in Barbados is the Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison. This cultural site consists of an old town and its nearby military garrison with several historic buildings.

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