Barbados is an independent nation in North America. With the capital city of Bridgetown, Barbados 2020 population is estimated at 287,386 according to countryaah. When the British took possession of Barbados in the early 17th century, the island was uninhabited. The economy came to be dominated by sugar cane cultivation on large plantations where the work was handled by slaves imported from Africa. Slavery was abolished in the 1830s, but it was not until 1950 that universal suffrage was introduced. In 1961, the island gained greater autonomy and five years later Barbados became an independent state within the Commonwealth.
Before the arrival of Europeans, Barbados (or Kalinago), a people who inhabited the islands of the Caribbean from South America, were on the Caribbean. It is unclear what happened to them: they may have moved to other islands or killed by Spanish conquerors in the early 16th century. When Portuguese sailors came to the island in the 1530s, it was uninhabited. The Portuguese called it “the bearded” (Os Barbados), probably after the beard-like roots of many fig trees.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Barbados, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In 1625, an English sea captain Barbados proclaimed British colony. In the following decades, thousands of British colonizers arrived, which came to feed on cotton and tobacco cultivation. For Barbados political system, please check diseaseslearning.
When Dutch merchants brought the sugar cane to the island in the 1640s, it became a historic event for Barbados. The small farmers’ tobacco and cotton production was knocked out. A small group of whites took control of most of the island’s soil and shredded the forest to make room for sugar plantations. White labor migration ceased and was replaced by mass imports of African slaves. In 40 years, almost 50,000 slaves arrived, while some tens of thousands of landless Europeans left Barbados.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the island suffered severe economic crises, which were mainly caused by price falls on sugar and severe hurricanes. The slaves were cruelly treated and revolted on a couple of occasions before slavery was abolished in the 1830s. The majority of blacks remained on the island. However, the white elite did not let go of political power and despite some reforms, the majority of blacks remained without the right to vote.
Political awareness began to emerge among the blacks after the First World War, but it was only after the riots and unrest during the 1930s depression that modern parties formed. In 1938 a left wing was founded by Grantley Adams. It merged with another political group and was named Barbados Workers’ Party (BLP)). General voting rights were introduced in 1950. Five years later, an outbreak group formed from the BLP, led by Errol Barrow, a party later called the Democratic Workers’ Party (DLP).
In 1961, Barbados gained internal autonomy and in the election that followed, DLP won. Barrow led the country to independence in 1966.