The Daily News, Friday, July 28, 1995
of the Caribbean
Lasl week I talked about the
Babados agriculure industry. This
week I will discuss the history. cul-
ture and environment of Barbdos
Barbados Is 166 square miles
and the easternmost island of the
Caribbean. whee St. Croix i the
asternmost pan of America.
The Island Is shaped somewhat
llke a pear. measuring 14 miles at
s widest point and 21 miles at ils
Like ceain eas of St. Croix.
Barbados is composed of limestone
and coral and Is generally nat, with
the highest point reaching 1.100
Barbdos' first inhabitant were
Indans. In 1537 when Potuguese
saillors stumbled upon the Island.
Indians still occupied the Island.
The Portuguese silors. paiculurtly
navigator Pedro a Campos. culled
the island Los Barbados after the
ficus trees tht they saw growing in
abundance whose aerial roots look
By 1625, English merchants
landed on Barbados seeking fresh
water. English Capl. John Powell
claimed the island. saying it was
uninhabited, and proclaimed the
land for King James 1. Cap. Powell
returned to England with a descrip-
tion of the island's natural environ-
Later 80 English setlers set sail
for Barbados to colonize the island
and landed on the west coast in a
spot named Jamestown. but later
The English colonists of Barba-
dos included 10 Africans captured
from a Portuguese trading ship who
found wild hogs on Barbados Ihat
were said to be left behind by the
The history of Batbados did not
go smoothly. There was political
unrest in England due to the smUg-
gle between King Charles I and
Oliver Cromwell. In 1629 King
Charles I awarded the deed of the
island to William Courteen and
Associates who sought to protect
their agricultural profits. But Couw
teen was up against Carlisle, a Scot
who prevailed in the struggle to
secure rights of the new colony.
The Carlisle faction eventually
esublished is own settlement in the
western comer of the island and
grew into what is today
Bridgetown. the capital of Barba-
For the fir part of Barbtdos'
See BARBADOS, page 18
The Daly Nws, Friday. July 28.1995
BARBADOS w MPO n
British traditions holding strong
colonial history, it was largely
white indentured and slave labor
that cultivated the fields. But in
1637, sugar camn was introduced
and a larger woWrre was needed.
Thus. Africans were imported as
slaves to he land. In 1643 there
were 6.000 blacks and 37.000
whites. By 1684. there wre 60.000
blacks, greatly outnumbering the
Sugar cane brought prosperity to
Barbados but great oppression of
slaves, who were prevented from
expressing their culture in ways
such a blowing horn and beating
English law and traditions
became such a part of the island
that Barbados was called "Little
England.' The ut parliament was
held in 1639. making Barbados' the
third oldest in the Commonwealth
after the British House ofCommons
and the Bermuda House.
In 1834 slavery was abolished.
Since then, the island has moved
forward with chngs.
Bartdos is unique among many
Caribbean islands because of its
unbroken Bidsh role.
Today Barbados has one of the
highest human development stn-
dards in the world for such a mall
country. Barbados has produced a
population that is mor tha 90 per.
cent literate Also, health care deliv
cry and life expectancy are among
the best in the Caribbean or the
The island has 11 parishes;
about half of the population of
about 260.000 live in St. Michael.
Christ Church and St. Philip
The Bajans are proud of their
cricket, their Anglican Church and
their educational system. In the
Bajan culture, there is a great
African presence in their fine ars.
paininng dance and music.
July begins Barbados festival.
marking the annual end of the sugar
harvest. Like the Virgin Islands
Carnival Barbados festival is full
of calypso music competitions.
parades ad folk concerts.
The environment also plays a
major role in the island's economy.
One way to see the island environ-
meat is by riding bikes or motor-
bikes throughout the island Hiking
is also a major part of Barbados
The island also has a wildlife
reserve with the Barbados green
monkey, originally from Africa.
and many other wildlife to visit
Also. you can visil the flower
forest. rainforest and Harrison
Cave. go horseback riding, ride in a
tractor to experience the country-
side or just take advantage of the
Believe me, vacation this sum-
mer can start in Barbados. I was
there; what about you?
Olaie DOavis. who holds a mas-
te, q sienemc degree in range man.
agrment and forestry ecology. is a
St Crais ecologist. activist and