Info & Resources

Barbados

Written by Staff Writer

Country Overview:
The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Slaves worked 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.

Location:
Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates:
13 10 N, 59 32 W

Area:
Total: 431 sq km, land: 431 sq km, water: 0 sq km

Area – Comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
97 km

Climate:
Tropical; rainy season (June to October)

Terrain:
Relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest Point:
Highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m

Natural Resources:
Petroleum, fish, natural gas

Population:
281,968 (July 2008 est.)

Nationality:
Noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)

Nationality:
Adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)

Ethnic groups:
Black 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%

Religions:
Protestant 63.4% (Anglican 28.3%, Pentecostal 18.7%, Methodist 5.1%, other 11.3%), Roman Catholic 4.2%, other Christian 7%, other 4.8%, none or unspecified 20.6% (2008 est.)

Languages:
English

Country Name:
Barbados

Government Type:
Parliamentary democracy

Capital Name:
Bridgetown

Independence:
30 November 1966 (from UK)

National Holiday:
Independence Day, 30 November (1966)

Constitution:
30 November 1966

Legal System:
English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Executive Branch:
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Clifford Straughn HUSBANDS (since 1 June 1996)

Head of Government:
Prime Minister David THOMPSON (since 16 January 2008)

Cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

Elections:
The monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister

About the author

Staff Writer