Destinations » North America
» Caribbean »
name Barbados is unknown. The name of los Barbudos (similarly, the modern
island of Barbuda in the Caribbean was called los Barbuadas) was given
to the island by either the Portuguese or Spanish, a name that means "bearded
one." However, how or what was bearded is up for debate. Some claim it is a
reference to the local Carib people, others say it refers to the hanging roots of
the fig trees, or even the water shooting out over the reefs looking like a
Barbados is a fairly dry island, but gets regular seasonal
rains, meaning there is enough agriculture to survive on, but it is not as fertile
as many other islands in the Caribbean.
The land wasn't fertile enough or lucrative enough for the
Spanish when they arrived in the 1500s, so instead of settling, they just
raided the island for slave labor and almost completely depopulated the island in
the process. Because of this, there are almost no remnants of the historic culture
of the indigenous people on Barbados.
In the 1600s the British arrived as indentured servants also immigrated to gain
lands they were unable to obtain in Great Britain. Because most of this early labor
force arrived from the United Kingdom, and not
Africa like most of the
Caribbean, the culture was almost wholly British at this time.
This culture was short-lived as sugarcane was introduced to the island and many
land owners came to realize it was cheaper to work African
slaves than British indentured servants, increasing
the African population and decreasing the British population. Despite this, the
British culture was strongly engrained in the people by this point and many of these
cultural aspects were passed on to the slaves.
Over time the African population has taken over the majority
on the island and there are aspects of African roots in the culture, but the island
remains distinctly British in many ways. From
an organizational level and in the way of social projects and programs, the British
influence is impossible to miss. The foods, dress, and manners are also distinctly
British as is the language; everyone speaks English.
Despite the many similarities, Barbados maintains its
own lifestyle, foods, culture, and traditions. These unique aspects of Barbados
primarily come from their location, their weather, and their people.
Learn More About Barbados:
Map of Barbados:
Start your trip to Barbados with our free Travel Planner: