The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. African slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island, which initially dominated the Caribbean sugar industry.
By 1720, Barbados was no longer a dominant force within the sugar industry, having been surpassed by the Leeward Islands and Jamaica.
Slavery was abolished in 1834. The Barbadian economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century.
The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.
Barbados became a republic on 30 November 2021, with the former Governor-General Sandra MASON elected as the first president. Barbados plans to create a new constitution in 2022.
Tropical; rainy season (June to October)
African descent 92.4%, mixed 3.1%, White 2.7%, East Indian 1.3%, other 0.2%, unspecified 0.3% (2010 est.)
Wearing military style clothing is considered rude or strange.
Cou-cou (or fungie) — lightly seasoned cooked cornmeal mixed with okra and water; often served with flying fish steamed with lime juice, spices, and vegetables or fried and served with a spicy sauce
Import-driven economy; dependent on US trade; maintains a pegged exchange rate to the US dollar; high Human Development Index; heavy tourism; reducing government debt to improve fiscal health; launched major agricultural subsidy program to improve food security