History, Language & Culture Barbados
Inhabited by Kalinago people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other Amerindians, Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century and claimed for the Spanish Crown. It first appeared on a Spanish map in 1511.The Portuguese Empire claimed the island between 1532 and 1536, but later abandoned it in 1620 with their only remnants being an introduction of wild boars for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. An English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados on 14 May 1625. its men took possession of it in the name of King James I. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and it became an English and later British colony. As a wealthy sugar colony, it became an English centre of the African slave trade until that trade was outlawed by the Slave Trade Act 1807, with final emancipation of slaves in Barbados occurring over a period of years following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.
On 30 November 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as its queen, though the country is set to remove her as its head of state and become a republic by 30 November 2021. It has a population of 287,010 people, predominantly of African descent. Despite being classified as an Atlantic island, Barbados is considered to be a part of the Caribbean, where it is ranked as a leading tourist destination. Of the tourists, 40% come from the UK, with the US and Canada making up the next large groups of visitors to the island.
Official languages: English