The Barbados Island

The Barbados Island

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     Barbados is one of the eastern most Caribbean islands, found at 13.4n, 54.4w. The island that is less than one million years old, the collision of the Atlantic crustal and Caribbean plates created it, along with a volcanic eruption. Later coral formed, accumulating to about 300ft. It is geologically unique. It is. Two land masses that merged over the years.
     The fist people were the Amerindians who arrived there from Venezuela. They came with families and villages, adventurers, descendants of the first people who traveled across the Alaska land bridge, down trough Canada and the Americas to the south. They made their new home in Barbados along the coast, leaving behind hardly a trace, only a hint of evidence for the archeologist to date to discover or dream about. Fragments of tools made of shell, utensils, refuse, and burial places convey but a mystery of their time.
     The Amerindians or the Arawaks were short, olive skinned people who bound their foreheads during infancy to slope it into a point. They considered this along with black and white body painting to be very attractive. Arawaks were very agricultural people and grew cotton, cassava, corn, peanuts, guavas, and papaws. They wove and used the cotton for armbands and hammocks. They would ground and grate cassava and make it Into a cassareep, which is a seasoning used in cooking. They also used harpoons, nets, and hooks, to fish for food.
     Along with the Arawaks in Barbados so were there the Carib Indians. They were warlike scavengers they have reported to have barbecued their captives and washed them down with cassava beer. The Portugese came en route to Brazil. The Spanish took over the Island from the Caribs. They imposed slavery on the Caribs. Slavery and the contagious European small pox and tuberculosis ended the Carib’s existence. Spain however passed Barbados over in favor of the larger Caribbean island. Once this happened the island was left open for anyone who wanted to colonize it.
     The first English ship touched the island on May 14, 1625. On February 17, 1627, Captain Henry Powell landed with a party of eighty settlers and ten slaves to occupy and settle the island. This expedition landed in holetown formerly known as Jamestown. The colonists established a house of assembly in 1639. It was the 3rd ever Parliamentary Democracy in the world. People with good financial backgrounds and social connections with England were allocated land.

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Within a few years they had deforested much of the land to make way for tobacco and cotton plantations. During the 1630s sugarcane was introduced to the agriculture. The production of sugar, tobacco and cotton was heavily reliant on the indenture of servants. White civilians who wanted to emigrate overseas could do so by signing an agreement to serve a planter in Barbados for 5-7 years. To meet the labor demands, they also derived servants from kidnaping, and they shipped convicted criminals to Barbados. They lived among the black population in st martins’ river and other east coast regions. It seemed to be a time when they lived in caves in this region. After they abolished slavery in 1834, many new citizens of Barbados took advantage fo the superb education available on the island. After they had educated these citizens, they wanted something more than working in the cane fields. Some of them gained prominent offices in Barbados. Others worked in common jobs, and still others stayed in the cane fields. The Island gained full independence in 1966. The first leader of Barbados as a free nation was the right honorable Errol Walton Barrow, of the Democratic labor party.
      Barbadian Flag represents their independence from England. Neptune’s tridents appeared in and seal when the island was still a colony. The broken trident on the flag is thus being thus representative of the break with our past, and the step toward independence. The blue panels are for the sea and the sky, while the center gold panel is for the sand of their beaches. The Barbadian Coat of Arms carries the national flower in each corner of its golden shield, and the bearded fig tree. Although the English were the first to settle on the island, the Portuguese actually founded it, who, named the island Los Barbados, meaning The Bearded Ones. Later the English dropped the Los, calling the island simply Barbados. Above the shield and the helmet a hand holds two pieces of sugar cane in the shape of St Andrews Cross. One the left of the shield is a dolphin, a local fish, representative of the fishing industry, and on the other side of the shield is a pelican. They celebrate independence day on St. Andrews day, the 30th of November.
          The national dish of Barbados is flying fish and cou cou. Cou cou is a mashed potato like dish made from corn meal and okra. They cover it with an au jus made from the flying fish preparation. Pudding and souse are also distinctly Barbadian, but are not for everyone. Fish of all manners is naturally a primary menu topper, and some people say that unless you have eaten Bajan style fish, then you have not experienced its magnificence. Roti, a folded pastry filled with spicy potato and meat in a sauce is the Caribbean reply to north American fast food. Barbados has lots of drinks. It is a thirsty island. Around Christmas time you can find a wonderful drink from the sorrel plant. This red cinnamon like drink is served with and without alcohol. Year round you can find the best rum punches in the Caribbean along with a popular drink called mauby, which they make from a bark soaked in spices. It has a bitter tang that is an acquired taste, and there is fruit punch and countless juices prepared from fresh fruits. Though Barbados and cheap dining are far from synonymous, you will find good value for money in all the dining categories. Along the south coast, particularly in St Lawrence Gap, and the west coast holetown area, restaurants post their menus so you can scan the menus and prices beforehand.
     Beaches are what they are known for, and there is a good reason for that! Barbados has everything you could want in a beach. From the East Coast where they do not recommend swimming. They hold the International Surfing and Wind Surfing Competitions, to the golden West Coast, with its almost lake-like waters and dazzling sunsets. The water is always warm, and whether you want to watch the marine wildlife in action or just get wet and have fun they have a place for you! There are about seven ships sunk at various places around the island, offering spectacular diving sites. Most of the ships were sunk on the West Coast, though two are on the South. For those less inclined to diving and getting wet Glass Bottom Boats and the Atlantic Submarine and Sea-Trek offer different ways to view the underwater splendor.
     The Barbados Island is a Caribbean island found between the Caribbean sea and the north Atlantic ocean northeast of Venezuela. The climate there is tropical the rainy season is usually June to October. The terrain is flat and rises gently to a central highland region. The natural resources are petroleum, fish, and natural gas. The population as of December 2003 was 276,607 with a population growth rate of 0.46%. The birth rate is 13.32 births/1, 000 population, and the death rate of 8.38 deaths/1, 000 populations. The ethnic groups are black 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%.
     Historically, the Barbadian economy had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but production in recent years has diversified into manufacturing and tourism. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners, and there is also a light manufacturing sector. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, encourage direct foreign investment, and privatize remaining state owned enterprises. The economy contracted in 2001 due to slowdowns in tourism and consumer spending.           
     They convert the Barbados Dollar at the rate of $1.98 A BDS to $1.00 U.S. The BDS Dollar is fixed to the U.S. Dollar and does not fluctuate. Its rates to other currencies fluctuate daily based on their fluctuations compared with the U.S. Dollar. Most establishments will accept travelers’ checks, U.S. and Canadian currency. Many commercial banks will change most currencies.
     Bring clothes for the tropics, light cotton dresses and light jackets for formal wear. Casual slacks and lightweight sports for the times when you are not in a bathing suit. Beachwear should also include sunglasses. Sun block and beach footwear.
     While Barbados is a fun holiday island, there is a dress code. Because of 300 years of conservative British heritage, they still see formal attire at times other than weddings and funerals. Business men wear a shirt and tie and sometimes a jacket. Women wear smart dresses. It is a good idea to wear pants and shirt when visiting the bank, it looks more respectful and gives you a pocket for your wallet. Bathing suits are best for the beach, beach bars and the pool.
     A trip to Barbados is some place that I would never think to go because you do not hear about it much. There are roughly 200 hotels, apartments, and guest houses that pepper the island. The greatest concentration of places along the south and west coasts. Yet there are great east coast hotels and guest houses and remote northern hideaways. A plane ticket to Barbados round trip from Fresno, CA would cost you any were between $926 per person, to $1933 per person. Your stay at one of the hotels, apartments, or guest houses would run you any where from $185.00 per night, to $500.00 per night for a house. For seven days and six nights in Barbados you would be looking at a total cost of about $2036.00-$5000.00 for a trip. The official language spoken widely in Barbados is English, so you will not have to go there with any type of translation book.
     Today, more than a million visitors come to Barbados each year, half of whom are cruise ship visitors. Barbados has enjoyed more than 350 years of unbroken parliamentary rule and is a democratic society, with a Prime Minister as head of the country.


Reference Page:

Barbados Statistical Service (1998). Barbados digest of tourism statistics 1997, Barbados Statistical Services, Bridgetown Barbados.
Caribbean Publishing Company Ltd. (1998). 1999 Caribbean/Latin America profile, Caribbean/Latin America Action, Caribbean Publishing Company Ltd. Grand Cayman Islands, BWI.
Caribbean Tourism Organization (1997a). Barbados stayover visitor survey, (January - March 1997), The Ministry of Tourism in association with the Tourism Development Corporation, The Barbados Tourism Authority and the Barbados Statistical Service, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Bridgetown, Barbados.
Caribbean Tourism Organization (1997b). Barbados stayover visitor survey, (April - June 1997),The Ministry of Tourism in association with the Tourism Development Corporation, The Barbados Tourism Authority and the Barbados Statistical Service, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Bridgetown, Barbados.
Caribbean Tourism Organization (1997c). Barbados stayover visitor survey, (July - September 1997), The Ministry of Tourism in association with the Tourism Development Corporation, The Barbados Tourism Authority and the Barbados tatistical Service, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Bridgetown, Barbados.
Caribbean Tourism Organization ( 1998). Barbados stayover visitor survey, (October - December 1997), The Ministry of Tourism in association with the Tourism Development Corporation, The Barbados Tourism Authority and the Barbados Statistical Service, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Bridgetown, Barbados.
Smith, S. L. (1990). Dictionary of Concepts in Recreation and Leisure Studies, Westport Connecticut, Greenwood Press;

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