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Flag of Barbados
Barbados Coat of Arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : Pride and Industry
English for "pride and diligence"
Official language English
Capital Bridgetown
Form of government Parliamentary monarchy
Head of state Queen Elizabeth II

represented by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason

Head of government Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley
surface 430 km²
population approx. 278,000
Population density 647 ( 9th ) inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 0.28% (2017)
gross domestic product
  • Nominal
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 4,588 million ( 153. )
  • $ 7,017 million ( 159. )
  • 16,363 USD ( 45. )
  • 17,100 USD ( 75th )
Human Development Index   0.795 ( 54th ) (2016)
currency Barbados Dollar (BBD)
independence November 30, 1966
(from the UK )
National anthem In Plenty and In Time of Need
National holiday 30th of November
Time zone UTC − 4
License Plate BDS
ISO 3166 BB
Internet TLD .bb
Phone code +1 (246) see NANP
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Map of Barbados.png

Barbados [ baʁˈbaːdɔs ] is an island nation in the Atlantic Ocean and part of the Lesser Antilles . Barbados is located northeast of Venezuela in the Caribbean and is geographically included in Central America . The former British colony has been independent from the United Kingdom since 1966 , but as a Commonwealth Realm a sovereign member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and linked to the British Crown in personal union.


Aerial view of the capital Bridgetown

Barbados is the easternmost island of the island chain of the Lesser Antilles and is located in the Atlantic Ocean . Unlike many of the neighboring Caribbean islands Barbados is not volcanic in origin, but is a so-called preliminary threshold ( english Forearc ) of an accretionary prism is, in turn, by former undersea reef limestones grew up. This limestone plateau reaches a height of 336 m in Mount Hillaby . The oldest layers were formed in a warm period 125,000 years ago, in which the sea level was four to six meters higher than it is now. In addition to the main island, Barbados also includes the tiny Culpepper Island , located just off the east coast .

About 180 km to the west is the island state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines .


The climate of Barbados is warm all year round with small temperature differences and an annual mean of 26 ° C. Precipitation is concentrated in the rainy season from May to October and reaches 2,000 mm per year in the central highlands. Despite this amount of precipitation, there are no larger bodies of water on the island due to the porous limestone subsoil.

Barbados lies in the catchment area of Atlantic hurricanes , which usually between June to November Atlantic hurricane season lasts. During this time Barbados is increasingly under observation of the state meteorological service ( Barbados Meteorological Services ), which warns of possible natural disasters with information and forecasts.

Flora and fauna

Red Pride of Barbados

In the past, tropical rainforest covered almost the entire island. In the meantime it has been largely supplanted by extensive sugar cane plantations and cultivated land. Only in Turner's Hall Wood are there remnants of the tropical forest on an area of ​​approx. 18 hectares. The national flower is the Red Pride of Barbados ( peacock shrub ), it is included in the country's coat of arms.

Barbados' wildlife includes only a few species. First and foremost there are different species of monkeys , mongooses , hares and lizards . Leatherback turtles lay their eggs on the beaches in April and May . In addition to hummingbirds, there are many water birds such as seagulls and herons . Barracuda , parrot fish and flying fish are found in the waters around the island .


Population development in 1000 inhabitants
Age pyramid in 1000 inhabitants

The inhabitants of the island are Barbadians called, the corresponding adjective is BARBADIAN . The Barbadians call themselves Bajans [ ˈbeɪdʒənz ]. Bajan, a Creole dialect based on English , is also the language used predominantly in everyday life. The official language on the island is English, which largely corresponds to British English in spelling and pronunciation .

The population itself is made up of about 90% of the descendants of African slaves , about 4% of whites, predominantly of British and Irish descent, as well as Asians ( Indians , Chinese ) and mulattos . In 2017, 12.1% of the population were born abroad.

Around 30% of the population are Anglican and 18% belong to the Pentecostal movement . Other important religious groups are Methodists and Adventists , 4% of the population are Catholic .

The infant mortality rate is 11 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy is 76.4 years and the literacy rate is 97.6%.

More than a third of the population lives in the capital Bridgetown and its suburbs. Other focal points of the population are the touristic south coast (Parish Christ Church ) and the west coast (Parish St. James ). Besides the capital there are three other cities: Speightstown , Holetown and Oistins . On the east coast, the seaside resort of Bathsheba is a center of tourism. The regional center in the east of the island is Six Cross Roads .

place Parish Residents
Bridgetown St. Michael 98,511
Speightstown St. Peter 3,634
Oistins Christ Church 2,285
Hastings Christ Church 2,000 (approx.)
Bathsheba St. Joseph 1,765
Holetown St. James 1,350
Crane St. Philip 935
Crab Hilll St. Lucy 737
Greenland St. Andrew 623
Blackmans St. Joseph 623
Checker Hall St. Lucy 500 (approx.)
Welchman Hall St. Thomas 500 (approx.)
Six Cross Roads St. Philip 500 (approx.)


The pre-European inhabitants of Barbados were Arawak and Caribs . Around 350 AD, 800 AD and in the 13th century, three waves of immigration reached the island. In between and afterwards the island was isolated from the mainland.

The name Barbados ( Portuguese os barbados = (the) bearded) was given to the island in 1536 because the Portuguese explorer Pedro Campos was reminded of beards by the freely hanging roots of the fig trees and named the island after them.

In the 15 years after the discovery of Barbados by Pedro Campos in 1536, Spanish conquerors enslaved numerous residents for plantation work on other islands. The rest of the local population fled. Just under a century later, the English found an orphan island.

In 1625 England took over the island from the Portuguese . It remained in British possession until 1962. 1627 began the settlement of the then deserted island by Great Britain. Slaves from Ireland and Indenture slaves from all over the British Isles were settled.

Barbados's economy was based on the production of cane sugar that was shipped to England from the early 1640s . In 1655, for example, the island exported around 8,000 tons to metropolitan Europe, making it one of the largest sugar producers in the world. Barbados remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum and syrup production well into the 20th century .

Barbados has a long parliamentary history. It has the third oldest parliament in the Commonwealth (after Westminster and Bermuda ). As early as 1639, the first parliament was set up with the House of Burgesses . After conflicts with England, the rights of parliament and those of the citizens of Barbados were laid down in the “Charter of Barbados, or Articles of Agreement” in 1652 . This constitutional charter guaranteed u. a. freedom of religion, rule of law, property and extensive parliamentary rights and independence.

The rights that initially only applied to the English plantation owners were extended to the black majority after the full emancipation of slaves in 1838 up to independence on November 30, 1966. Active and passive voting rights for women were introduced in October 1950. From 1958 to 1962 Barbados was a province of the West Indian Federation .

After independence, a parliamentary democracy developed in Barbados, aware of its history and traditions. In September 2020, the Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that the country would be declared a republic on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of Independence Day on November 30, 2021.

Administrative structure

Saint Lucy Saint Peter Saint James Saint Michael Christ Church Saint Philip Saint John Saint Joseph Saint Andrew Saint Thomas Saint George
Parishes in Barbados

Barbados is divided into eleven parishes , which date back to the 1645 structure of the Anglican Church.

  1. Christ Church
  2. Saint Andrew
  3. Saint George
  4. Saint James
  5. Saint John
  6. Saint Joseph
  7. Saint Lucy
  8. Saint Michael
  9. Saint Peter
  10. Saint Philip
  11. Saint Thomas


Barbados has a bicameral parliament (a House of Assembly with 30 members elected every five years and a Senate with 21 appointed members). The right to vote is available from the age of 18. In the country report Freedom in the World 2020 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “free”. Politics is essentially determined by the two big parties, the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) and the Democratic Labor Party (DLP).

In the 2018 elections, the BLP received all mandates in the House of Assembly and, in Mia Mottley, was the first female Prime Minister of Barbados. This friend replaced Stuart as Prime Minister of Barbados, who had taken over from his late predecessor David Thompson . The ruling Democratic Labor Party announced in 2015 that it would change the constitution and establish Barbados as a republic in 2016, but this did not happen. On September 16, 2020, the Barbadian government announced again that it would convert the country - this time by November 2021 - into a republic.


In the 1990s, the tourism industry and craft production of the sugar industry lost their economic rank. Oil is produced off the coast of Barbados . The production in 2005 was approx. 1,000 barrels / day with reserves of 2.5 million barrels. On January 28, 2016, the EU Commission presented a package of measures to combat tax evasion , including Barbados on the black list of tax havens .

The unemployment rate in 2017 was 10.5%. In 2016, 1.4% of all workers worked in agriculture, 93.8% in the service sector and 4.8% in industry. A large number of employees work in the tourism sector. The total number of employees is estimated at 144,000 for 2017. According to the Central Bank of Barbados, the per capita income was 16,363 US dollars in 2016. This means that the level of prosperity is comparable to that of Slovakia .

The country's largest trading partner is the USA.

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year GDP
(purchasing power parity)
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
GDP growth
(in percent)
(in percent)
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
1980 1.45 billion 5,798 4.4% 18.5% ... ...
1985 1.84 billion 7,345 1.1% 4.9% 18.6% ...
1990 2.40 billion 9,580 −3.3% 3.0% 14.9% ...
1995 2.57 billion 9,713 2.0% 2.8% 19.6% 54%
2000 3.31 billion 12,282 4.5% 2.4% 9.8% 53%
2005 3.94 billion 14,394 4.0% 6.1% 9.1% 60%
2006 4.29 billion 15,643 5.7% 7.3% 8.8% 64%
2007 4.48 billion 16.301 1.8% 4.0% 7.4% 65%
2008 4.58 billion 16,651 0.4% 8.1% 8.1% 71%
2009 4.43 billion 16,065 −4.0% 3.6% 9.9% 88%
2010 4.50 billion 16,265 0.3% 5.8% 10.3% 96%
2011 4.63 billion 16,688 0.8% 9.4% 11.2% 99%
2012 4.72 billion 17.004 0.3% 4.5% 11.5% 110%
2013 4.77 billion 17.134 −0.6% 1.8% 11.6% 122%
2014 4.86 billion 17,418 0.1% 1.8% 12.3% 125%
2015 4.96 billion 17,734 1.0% −1.1% 11.3% 135%
2016 5.11 billion 18,214 1.6% 1.5% 9.9% 137%
2017 5.24 billion 18,664 0.9% 4.4% 9.8% 133%

State budget

The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 1,644 million in US dollars , which were income equivalent to 1,480 million US Dollar against. This results in a budget deficit of 3.5% of GDP . The national debt was over 130% of GDP in 2017.

In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:


In 2015, the entire road network covered around 1700 km.

Grantley Adams International Airport is the main airport on the island and is located in Seawell in Parish Christ Church, around 12.9 km east of the capital Bridgetown.


science and technology

Super cannon from Gerald Bull

At 13.0670 north latitude and 59.4830 west longitude, towards the end of the 1960s, Gerald Bull's experimental cannon (HARP Gun) was located , which could fire its projectiles at heights of up to 180 kilometers.

Research rocket launch site

Between 1963 and 1968 some sounding rockets of the types Nike Apache , Arcas and Nike Cajun were launched from Barbados .

Bellairs Research Institute

The Canadian McGill University maintains the Bellairs Research Institute in Holetown, which was founded in 1954 by Commander Carlyon W. Bellairs. The institute offers researchers from various disciplines from all over the world the opportunity to do research stays and hold workshops and the like. It also enables students at McGill University to do a practical semester and practical courses.

Barbados Cloud Observatory

The Hamburg Max Planck Institute for Meteorology operates a weather station and cloud observatory , the Barbados Cloud Observatory (BCO) , together with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology on the eastern tip of the island ( Deebles Point ). A wide variety of instruments (e.g. weather radars and lidars ) have been investigating tropical cumulus clouds and the trade winds there since April 2010 .


Web links

Wiktionary: Barbados  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Barbados  - collection of images
Wikimedia Atlas: Barbados  geographic and historical maps
Wikivoyage: Barbados  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl-Heinz Hesmer: Flags and coats of arms of the world (= Petra Niebuhr-Timpe [Hrsg.]: Chronicle at hand ). Wissenmedia, 2008, ISBN 978-3-577-14537-4 , pp. 31 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed May 24, 2019]).
  2. Sir Philip Greaves to act as Governor General. In: July 1, 2017, accessed July 15, 2017 .
  3. Source: , Census 05/2010
  4. Country Comparison - Population Growth Rate. In: Archived from the original on February 8, 2019 ; Retrieved on February 12, 2019 (English, website content is not persistent; information is based on the archived version).
  5. WEO Update, July 2017. In: IMF , accessed January 15, 2019 .
  6. 2016 Human Development Report. In: UNDP , accessed on January 23, 2019 .
  7. ^ Frisch & Meschede: Plate tectonics - continent shift and mountain formation. 5th edition Darmstadt, 2011.
  8. Volker Mrasek : Climate model - coastal cities could sink in this century. In: Spiegel Online . March 24, 2006. Retrieved October 29, 2019 .
  9. ^ Barbados Meteorological Services. In: Accessed September 7, 2019 .
  10. ^ A b World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved September 16, 2017 .
  11. Barbadian. In: Retrieved April 30, 2019 .
  12. Migration Report 2017. UN, accessed on September 30, 2018 (English).
  13. ^ Barbadosed - Africans and Irish in Barbados. In: . Archived from the original on December 8, 2014 ; accessed on April 9, 2020 (English).
  14. see also: An African Song or Chant from Barbados (manuscript)
  15. Niels Steengaard: Trade of England and the Dutch before 1750 . In: Trade in the pre-modern era, 1400-1700 . Volume 1, p. 426
  16. ^ Mart Martin: The Almanac of Women and Minorities in World Politics. Westview Press Boulder, Colorado, 2000, p. 30.
  17. a b Barbados to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state. BBC News, September 16, 2020, accessed September 16, 2020 .
  18. Barbados. In: Accessed July 31, 2020 (English).
  19. Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 25, 2015, p. 6.
  20. EU wants new black list of tax havens. In: January 28, 2016, accessed April 12, 2019 .
  21. ^ A b The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed August 6, 2018 .
  22. ^ Report for Selected Countries and Subjects. Retrieved September 25, 2018 (American English).
  23. a b c The World Factbook
  24. ^ The Fischer World Almanac 2010: Figures Data Facts, Fischer, Frankfurt, September 8, 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-72910-4
  25. ^ Barbados Cloud Observatory. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology , accessed on February 6, 2019 (English).
  26. ↑ Cloud Observatory in Barbados. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology , accessed on February 6, 2019 .

Coordinates: 13 ° 12 ′  N , 59 ° 35 ′  W