Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands. Once solely inhabited by the native Arawak, Barbados was first colonized by British settlers in the 1620’s.

Geography: Encircled by coral reefs. Fertile and predominantly flat, with a few gentle hills to the north.

Climate: Moderate tropical climate. Sunnier and drier than its more mountainous neighbours.

People and Society: Some latent tension between white community, which controls politics and much of the economy, and majority black population, but violence is rare. Increasing social mobility has enabled black Barbadians to enter the professions. Despite political stability, and good welfare and education services, pockets of abject poverty remain.

The Economy: Well-developed tourism sector based on climate and accessibility. Financial services, offshore banking, and information processing are key industries. Sugar production has dwindled. High cost of living.

Insight: Barbados retains a strong British influence and is referred to by its neighbours as “Little England”

Fact File:

Official Name: Barbados

Date of Formation: 1966

Capital: Bridgetown

Population: 255,900

Total Area: 166 sq. miles (430 sq. km)

Density: 1542 people per sq. mile

Languages: Bajan (Barbadian English), English*

Religions: Anglican 40%, other 24%, nonreligious 17%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, Roman Catholic 4%

Ethnic Mix: Black African 92%, other 8%

Government: Parliamentary system

Currency: Barbados dollar = 100 cents

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