54 Facts on Barbados | Blog | Realtors Limited

54 Facts on Barbados

54 Facts on Barbados

Barbados celebrates 54 years of Independence on November 30th 2020. As we reflect on 54 years of being an independent nation we wanted to share 54 fun facts about Barbados. How many did you know?



1.    Barbados was named by the Portuguese who first discovered the island in 1536. They named Barbados after the Bearded Fig Tree found all over the island back then. “Los Barbados” is Portuguese for “The Bearded One”


2.    The British were the first settlers in 1625 when Captain John Powell landed with English ship the Olive Blossom.


3.    The first settlement began on 17 February 1627, near what is now Holetown (formerly Jamestown), by a group led by John Powell's younger brother, Henry, consisting of 80 settlers and 10 English laborers.


4.    Today the capital of Barbados is Bridgetown. 


5.    Today Barbados has an estimated population of 287,375 people (2019) - some of the happiest people in the world!


6.    Barbados is the most densely populated country in the Caribbean, the third most populated country in the Americas and the 16th most densely populated country in the world.


7.    The people of Barbados are officially called Barbadian but more commonly known as Bajans (BAY-jens). 



8.    English is the official language of Barbados. Some locals communicate in an English creole dialect also referred to as Bajan.


9.    The British established a colony in Barbados in 1627 and began growing cotton and tobacco. The sugar industry didn’t begin in Barbados until the 1640s.



10. Unlike other Caribbean islands, Barbados has never been invaded by a foreign power since the British took rule.



11. Barbados has the world’s 3rd oldest parliament. It has been in operation since 1639.


12. Barbados became independent from England on November 30, 1966.


13. Up until its independence, Barbados flew the Union Jack flag.


14. Today we fly the Barbados flag. The blue on the flag represents the ocean and the yellow represents the sand, the broken trident represents breaking free from its status as a colony.


15. The flag design was chosen from an open competition with thousands of entries, Grantley Prescod’s design was chosen as the flag of Barbados.


16. Barbados is one of the 20 smallest countries in the world. The island is just 34 km/ 21 miles long and up to 23 km/ 14 miles wide. Its circumference is only about 100 km/70 miles and can be driven around in just three hours. 


17. The island is divided into 11 parishes. St. Lucy, St. Peter, St Joseph, St. Andrew, St. James, St. John, St. Thomas, St. George, St. Philip, St. Michael and Christ Church.



18. Only two parishes do not have a coastline – St. Thomas and St. George


19. Barbados is not actually in the Caribbean Sea, it is entirely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. 


20. Barbados was not formed by volcanic actively like the other Caribbean island but rather by the collision of the Caribbean plate with the Atlantic Plate. This is why Barbados is known to have the whitest sand in the Caribbean!



21. Most of the country’s geology is made up of coral limestone.


22. There are many underground lakes, but no lake on the surface! Many of these underground lakes can be seen at Harrison’s Cave. The cave system is more than 2.3km/ 1.4 miles long while the largest cave hall is 15m/ 49ft high. 



23. The highest point in Barbados is Mount Hillaby which is just 336 meters/ 1,100 ft. above sea level


24. The southern position of Barbados, at 13 degrees north, puts it just outside the hurricane “Strike Zone”


25. The last hurricane to hit Barbados was Janet in 1955.


26. Barbados has around 3,000 sunshine hours per year.


27. Barbados has an average temperature of a beautiful 28 degrees Celsius year-round.


28. The ocean temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius.


29. There are 2 official seasons in Barbados – The ‘Rainy’ Season (June to November) and The ‘Dry’ Season (December to May)


30. Barbados hosts many festivals including the popular Crop Over Festival, Oistins Fish Festival and the Food & Rum Festival. 


31. The National Dish of Barbados is Cou Cou and Flying Fish.


32. The National Flower is called the Pride of Barbados. 


33. The National Sport of Barbados is Cricket.


34. Arguably the world greatest cricketer, Sir. Garfield Sobers was born in Barbados. He was Knighted by The Queen and is the only living Barbados National Hero at 84 years old.


35. Road tennis was invented in Barbados in the 1930s. Referred to by Chris Colin as 'the Coolest Sport You’ve Never Heard Of'. In his own words ‘It’s like stumbling upon two stooping giants warring over a tiny village: faster than tennis, wilder than Ping-Pong, more comprehensible than cricket.” 


36. The Grapefruit originated in Barbados. George Washington referred to it as “The Forbidden Fruit” on his visit to Barbados in 1750.


37. Barbados is the only place outside of the USA that George Washington visited in his lifetime. He even had a house here which still stands today as is called George Washington House.


38. Many people used to travel to Barbados for its health benefits. It was considered the healthiest place in the world in the 1840s having 1 death per 66 people compared to the world average of 1 death per 35 people. 


39. Barbados was the first Caribbean Island to have piped water. Ground water is filtered through the limestone into underground caves making it extra pure for drinking.


40. Barbados is home to Mount Gay Rum – the rum that invented rum. Mount Gay Rum is the oldest rum brand in the world dating back to 1703. Today the rum is exported to 110 countries in the world.


41. Barbados was the only tropical destination with a scheduled Concorde flight. One of the retired jets now resides at our airport where you can board and tour the Concorde.


42. Annually, Barbados welcomes about 1 million visitors to our shores (PRE-COVID).


43. Tourism is the main industry in Barbados employing about 14,000 people and responsible for 34.9% of our GDP in 2018.


44. Barbados has the highest return rate of visitors in the Caribbean. Surveys show that visitors return due to the friendliness of the local people.


45. The currency in Barbados is The Barbados Dollar (BDS) it is tied to the US Dollar (US $1 = BDS $2)


46. The time in Barbados is GMT – 4 and there is no daylight-saving time.


47. The main religion in Barbados is Christianity (95%) with the largest denomination being Anglican (40%).


48. Barbados has a literacy rate close to 100% with the government spending 6.7% of GDP on education (2008). All people 16 years and under must be enrolled in school.


49. There are 74 Government primary schools, as well as several privately-run primary schools in Barbados. Public Primary and Secondary School education is free for locals.


50. Barbados is also known as “the land of flying fish” as they are seen gliding around the island. They can glide for up to 45 seconds at speeds of more than 70km / hour!


51. Barbados has the second largest (critically endangered) hawksbill turtle breeding population in the Caribbean. Many nest right out front The Condominiums at Palm Beach.


52. Barbados’ land animals include the cute and curious green monkeys’ lizards and mongoose.


53. In 2019, Barbados banned all single use plastics including straws, plastic bags, egg cartons and more. This is in effort to protect our wildlife and our planet.


54. Barbados is the birthplace of 9 time Grammy Award winner Rihanna. 


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