Barbados Summer Institute on Curriculum Transformation
Barbados: A Few Facts
Visited temporarily by the Spaniards and Portuguese in the early sixteenth century, Barbados was settled by the British in 1627 and is the only former Caribbean colony that never changed hands. It won independence in 1966 but continues to have a British flavor with some referring to it as the ‘Little England’ of the Caribbean.
Barbados is a coastal community of beaches, coral reefs, tide pools, cliffs, and underground lakes and caves, and it is the eastern most island of the West Indies with a total area of 166 sq. miles, about 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC. The capital and largest city is Bridgetown. Barbados is home to many indigenous and migratory species of wildlife, birds, and mammals, including the endangered green turtles. The average annual temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The official currency is BD$ (2BD$ = 1US$).
With more than 600 people per square kilometer, Barbados is one of the world’s most densely populated nations. Tourism has steadily increased its share of the island’s economy, which traditionally was dependent on sugarcane products such as refined sugar, molasses, and rum. Newly discovered petroleum and natural gas reserves are also being exploited. Barbados has a literacy rate of 97%. According to the United Nations, its human development index is the highest among middle income developing countries; and its gender-related development index, eleventh in the world, is higher than that of many industrial countries.