Barbados is a small country located in the Caribbean Sea.
The capital is Bridgetown with a population of about 8,789. The
head of state of Barbados is Queen Elizabeth II and she is
represented by General Dame Nita Barrow. The total population of
the country is around 252,000. The main language is English and
the predominant religion is Christianity. Their date of
independence was November 30, 1966.
Barbados is the eastern most Caribbean Island. It is about
200 miles North-North East of Trinidad and about 100 miles East-
South East of St. Lucia. It is the second smallest country in
the Western Hemisphere. The major urban centers in the area
include Bridgetown, Speightstown, Oistins, and Holetown. The
land is mainly flat except for a series of ridges that rise up to
about 1,000 feet and then falling towards the sea.
The climate of the region consists of tropical temperatures
influenced by the Northeast trade winds. The average annual
temperature is approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The daily
temperatures rarely get above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The dry
season is cool, while the wet season is slightly warmer. The
main rains come during the months of July, August, September,
October, and November. The annual average rainfall is 40 inches
in the coastal areas and 90 inches in the central areas.
The net migration into Barbados is 4.82 per 1000. The
annual growth rate is 0.4%, which is one of the lowest in the
world. The annual birthrate is 15.45 per 1000, and the annual
deathrate is 8.27 per 1000. Barbados ranks fourth in the World
in population density with the overall density being 1526 per
square mile. The whole island is inhabited, leaving no sparsely
populated areas. The main race is Negro, which is about 92% of
the population. The remainder of the population is consists of
Whites (3.8%), Mulattoes (3.8%), and East Indians (0.4%). About
70% of the population is Anglican. The other 30% belong to
various denominations such as Moravian, Methodist, and Roman
Barbados was once under British control from 1624. Its
House of Assembly, which began in 1639, is the third oldest
legislative body in the Western Hemisphere. By the time Britain
left in 1966, the island was completely English in culture. The
British influence is still seen today in quaint pubs, cricket
games on the village greens, and in the common law.
Barbados' government is British Parliament. The queen is
the head of state and she is represented by the governor general.
The governor general appoints an advisory council. The executive
authority is the Prime Minister who is Owen Seymour Arthur which
came into power on September 6, 1994. The Deputy Prime Minister
is Billie Miller who also came into power on September 6, 1994.
The democratic government works well in the country. They have
had three general elections and one smooth transfer of power from
the Democratic Labor Party to the Barbados Labor Party. Barbados
carries on trade with other Caribbean nations and does have
diplomatic relations with Cuba. Their closest relations are with
the United Stated, and the United Kingdom. Barbados joined the
United Nations is 1966.
The economy of Barbados is one of the 35 upper middle-income
countries of the world. They have a free-market economy, but the
dominant sector is private. Their economy is based on sugar and
tourism, but the government has encouraged a policy of
diversification in order to achieve a more stable nation. They
also depend on a light manufacturing industry. Their monetary
unit is the Barbados dollar. The coins are made in 1, 5, 10, and
25 cents. The paper money is made in 1, 5, 10, 20, and 100
dollar bills. One U.S. dollar is equal to 2.01 Barbados dollar
About 60% of the land is cropland. The agriculture industry
employs 7.4% of the labor force and contributes about 8.7% to the
Gross Domestic Product. Sugarcane makes up over half the
acreage. Bananas are also grown, but only on a limited scale.
Sea island cotton is also grown. All of the farmers are required
by regulations to plant at least 12% of their arable land with
some food crop.
Barbados' natural resources include petroleum, fishing, and
natural gas. The fishing industry employs about 2,500 people and
500 small boats. Their are no natural forests in the country.
Manufacturing contributes about 11.2% to the GDP. Manufacturing
and mining employ about 18.9% of the labor force. The majority
of the industrial establishments are engaged in some form of
sugar processing. Sugar is the principal export. The principal
imports include machinery, motor vehicles, lumber, and fuels.
Barbados' per capita income of $9,200 makes it one of the highest
standards of living of all the small island states of the Eastern
Caribbean. Barbados is also one of the many transshipment points
for narcotics bound for the U.S. and Europe.
Some of the current issues in the country consist of the
pollution of coastal waters from the waste disposal ships, soil
erosion, and illegal solid waste disposal that threatens
contamination of aquifers. Barbados is also plagued with natural
disasters such as hurricanes and landslides. Their hurricane
season is between the months of June and October, which is the
same season as the U.S.
The World Factbook 1995. Central Intelligence Agency. 1995.
The World in Figures. Showers, Victor. 1973. Library of
Encyclopedia of the Third World. Kurian, George Thomas. 1987.
Library of Congress.
World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative Study of Churches and
the Religions in the Modern World, AD 1900-2000.
Caribbean Week. "Barbados." Internet.