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History of Barbados

The Island of Barbados Is Less Than One Million Years Old

Island Formation and Ancient Inhabitants

There is no other place on earth like the island of Barbados. It’s a relatively new piece of land, being less than one million years old. The island was formed when volcanic eruptions occurred and the Atlantic crustal and Caribbean plates collided. The above-water coral formation created what is currently called Barbados. It has been discovered that civilization may have existed on the island of Barbados as early as 1623 B.C., however, the first indigenous people who lived on the island were called “Amerindians” and originated in Venezuela. These people knew how to grow and harvest crops and were also expert fishermen. In around the year 1200, a tribe called the Caribs took over the island from the Amerindians.

Colonization Of Barbados

The next people to step on to the island were Portuguese when they were trying to find the land of Brazil. The Portuguese were the ones who first named the island “Los Barbados.” In 1492, the Spanish took over the island from the Caribs and eventually destroyed the entire tribe that resided on the island. However, rather than taking claim of the island, the Spanish were more interested in search of gold and a larger land to inhabit. Nobody else was interested in “owning” the island until the English arrived there in 1625. When the English stepped off of their ship and on to the island of Barbados, they claimed it. And, just a few years later 80 people along with their slaves made Barbados their home. One of the first things the settlers did was get rid of the trees and forests on the island so they could begin planting crops. The crops of choice were tobacco and cotton. In the 1630s, England decided to add sugar cane to the mix of crops. In the mid to late 1700s, additional slaves began to be imported form West Africa to work the fields. During these years, Barbados’ sugar production and exportation was huge and made the crop owners very rich. However, in the late 1600s, quite a few problems arose that affected the island’s sugar supply — a locust plague, a fire, a hurricane, drought, and excessive rain. In 1834, slavery was no longer legal in Barbados, so instead of focusing heavily on the production of sugar, many people decided to pursue their education. This allowed the country to become more educated and prosperous as a whole.

Barbados' Independence

In the early 1960s, the island of Barbados became an independent nation. In 1966, its full independence from the British was finalized. The emancipation was a peaceful negotiation. Currently, Barbados focuses its attention on the educational system in its country, ensuring schooling to all residents until the age of 18. The country also encourages its residents to continue post-secondary education and the island is home to many colleges and universities. Barbados has also shifted its focus on the sugar production industry to the tourism industry. Tourism is the biggest factor in the Barbadian economy, and the government actively searches for ways to ensure visitors to the island on a regular basis. The economic development prospects for the island are very positive and the future continues to look good for this well-educated country.