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Barbados History & Location
Barbados History dates people arrived on the most easterly island in the Caribbean sea to 1623 BC from the coast of Venezuela.

Barbados History & Location

Early Barbados history has been rewritten as a result of discoveries unearthed at an archaeological site at Port St. Charles. Artefacts and evidence point to settlement on Barbados some time around 1623 B.C.

The site is unique on Barbados for its evidence of preceramic activity, for producing the first worked wood (preserved underwater) found on the island, and for the largest single concentration of pottery-lined wells reported in the Southern Hemisphere.

Barbados is 166 square miles measuring 21 miles long x 14 miles wide and the most easterly island in the Caribbean sea and less than 300 miles from the coast of Venezuela and South America.


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Amerindian Civilisation.

Barbados history records that the first indigenous people were Amerindians who arrived here from Venezuela. Paddling long dugout canoes they crossed oceans and currents that challenge modern sailing vessels. First there was the Arawaks a short, olive-skinned people who bound their foreheads during infancy to slope it into a point. Next in about 1200 A.D. the Arawaks were conquered by the Caribs. The Caribs were a taller and stronger Amerindian tribe than the Arawaks. The Caribs are believed to have migrated from the Orinoco River area in South America to settle in the Caribbean islands. Over the century leading up to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean archipelago in 1492, the Caribs also displaced the Maipurean-speaking Tainos, who settled the island chains earlier in history, by warfare, extermination and assimilation.

The Europeans start to arrive!

The island owes it's name to the Portugese who came to the island en route to Brazil. It was at this time that the island was named Los Barbados (bearded-ones) by the Portugese explorer Pedro a Campos. It was so named, presumably, after the island's fig trees, which have a beard-like appearance.

Barbados history dates the first european colony by the Spanish in 1492. The Spanish imposed slavery on the Caribs. Slavery and the contagious European small pox and tuberculosis ended the Caribs' existence! Spain, however, quickly passed Barbados over in favour of the larger Caribbean islands. This left the island open for anyone who wanted to colonize it.

The first English ship arrived in Barbados on May 14th 1625 under the command of Captain John Powell. He claimed Barbados on behalf of King James I.

On February 17th 1627, Captain Henry Powell landed with a party of 80 settlers and 10 slaves to occupy and settle the island. This expedition landed in Holetown formerly known as Jamestown.

Barbados quickly grew to became the third major English settlement in the Americas due to its prime eastern location.

Barbados is the only Caribbean island which remained constantly under British rule until 1966 when she gained independence. The island is affectionately known as "Little England".

Barbados' historic capital city, Bridgetown, which had its 382nd anniversary in 2010 and the historic Garrison area have been nominated for inscription on the World Heritage list. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Barbados was established as the nucleus of Trans-Atlantic trade and served as headquarters of both the British Royal Navy and Army. Bridgetown is home to the third oldest Parliament in the commonwealth; a statue of Lord Nelson which pre-dates its counterpart in London's Trafalgar Square by some 30 years.

 

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