Barbados History


Though given the name “Los Barbados” by Portuguese sailors in the 1500’s, Europeans were not the first to inhabit Barbados, the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles.

This distinction goes to the Amerindians who arrived from Venezuela, followed by the Arawak Indians, who is turn were dismissed by the Carib Indians in the 13th century.

When the first English settlers arrived in 1627, they found an island that was largely uninhabited, and set about establishing a colony that would remain a part of the British Empire for 334 years.

Relatively flat, with a favourable climate, Barbados offered ideal conditions in which to grow sugar cane.

This gave rise to the establishment of sugar plantations, and with them, indentured servitude and slave labour.

The success of the sugar, rum and molasses trade brought great wealth to the island in addition to thousands more African slaves.

In 1834, with abolitionist sentiments growing, Barbados became the first country in the world to abolish the slave trade. Finally, in 1966, Barbados won independence from the United Kingdom.

Next year the island will celebrate 50 years of independence and that’s something we can all raise a glass to!



Categorised as Road & Rail