Barbados History

OAccording to the traditions of the descendants of the Arawak indigenous people Arawak on neighboring islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim.

The origin of the name “Barbados” is controversial. The Portuguese who were on their way to Brazil are considered the first European nation to “discover” and name the island. They called the island Os Barbados, Portuguese for “bearded”. There have been various conjectures as to whether the word “beard” refers to the long, drooping roots of the bearded fig tree (Ficus citrifolia), the bearded caribs that live on the island, or the sea spray that splashes over the reefs In 1519 a map by the mapmaker Vesconte de Maggiola of Genoa showed the island of Barbados in the correct position north of the island of Tobago. On some historical maps the island is also referred to as “Barbadoes”.

Early history

According to dentistrymyth, new archaeological finds suggest that Barbados has been around since the 17th century BC. was inhabited. It is known that Native Americans from the Orinoco region of Venezuela came through this part of the Atlantic Ocean by canoe.

These were followed by the Arawak Indians who lived around 350-400 BC. arrived on the island. Some remains of their settlements have been found in areas of Silver Sands, Stroud Point, Chancery Lane, Pie Corner, Saint Luke’s Gully, and Mapp’s Cave. They were from the Caribsdisplaced, the Arawak population declined around AD 1200. dramatically back. The Caribs later disappeared from the island. Although no direct cause of their disappearance has been identified, a combination of famine, disease, kidnapping and enslavement by the Portuguese and Spanish is possible.

Particularly noteworthy for the early history of Barbados are the Portuguese, who visited the island only briefly on the way to Brazil, but left behind the wild boars that the first British settlers encountered.

Early British Colonization

The Britishfound the uninhabited on May 14, 1625 and claimed them in the name of King James I. The first British settlement was founded some time later on February 17, 1627 near present-day Holetown (formerly Jamestown). The settlers were led by Captain John Powell, who came with 80 settlers and 10 black slaves. The settlement was funded by Sir William Courteen, a London trader who held titles for Barbados and several unclaimed islands. So the first settlers were renters, and the profits from their work went to Sir Courteen and his company.

Courteen later lost its claim to Barbados to James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle (the ” Great Barbados HeistCarlisle elected Henry Hawley as governor of Barbados. It was he who established the House of Assembly in 1639 to appease the planters who opposed his controversial appointment.

In the early years of colonization it was the majority of the population white and male, there were relatively few African slaves on the island. The cultivation of tobacco, cotton, ginger and indigo was mainly carried out by workers who were committed to the European labor market. This changed with the rise of the sugar cane industry.

Sugar cane and slavery

Sugar cane was introduced in 1637 by Pieter Blower, the large-scale sugar cane cultivation started in the 1640s. Initially rum was made from sugar cane, but from 1642 sugar was the focus. Since sugar cane was the most important industry in Barbados, large plantations replaced the small businesses of the early British settlers in the course of time. Rich planters ousted poorer ones. Some of the displaced planters moved to the British colonies in North America, especially South Carolina. In order to meet the demand for labor on the plantations, African slaves became imported until the ratio of slaves to planters was 3: 1. The slave trade ended a few years before slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834. Catholics from Ireland who were persecuted in their homeland also worked on the plantations.

Sugar cane dominated the economy of Barbados, in 1720 Barbados was the largest producer in the world.

Political Development

From 1800 to 1885 Barbados was the seat of government for the British colonies of the Windward Islands. For about 85 years, the governor of Barbados also acted as the colonial head of the Windward Islands. After the Barbados government withdrew from the Union of the Windward Islands in 1885, the Union’s seat of government was relocated from Bridgetown to St. George’s in neighboring Grenada, where it remained until the Union of the Windward Islands was dissolved.

Shortly after Barbados withdrew from the Windward Islands, it was announced that the island of Tobago was to be given a new colonial construct. Barbados then made the British government an offer to form a political union with the neighboring island of Tobago. However, the British decided that the island of Trinidad was more suitable for union with Tobago.

Slaves from Africa and Ireland worked for traders of British origin. Even after the abolition of slavery, these traders continued to dominate the island’s politics, primarily through electoral restrictions that excluded voters with low incomes. Only an exclusive minority of 30% had access to the democratic process. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of the slaves formed a movement for political rights, and now trade unions were also founded. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Progressive League (now the Barbados Labor Party). The “Great Depression” also caused mass unemployment in Barbados and led to strikes, and the quality of life on the island fell dramatically. Despite his ties to the British Crown (which would later become his undoing), Adams wanted to do more for the people of Barbados, and the poor in particular were at the center of his efforts.

In 1942 the income limit for elections was lowered, and in 1951 universal suffrage was introduced. In 1958, Adams was elected Prime Minister of Barbados.

From 1958 to 1962 Barbados was one of the ten members of the West Indies Federationan organization doomed to failure by numerous factors, including petty nationalist prejudice and limited legislative power. Adam’s designation as “Prime Minister” is misleading, however, as all the members of the Federation were still colonies of Great Britain. Adams, formerly a political visionary, was now a man blind to the needs of his country. He not only stuck to his defense of the monarchy, but also tried to form similarly flawed unions after the failure of the West Indies Federation. When the federation was terminated, Barbados resumed its former status as a self-governing colony, with Adams seeking a new association from Barbados, the Leeward and Windward Islands.

Errol Walton Barrow replaced Grantley Adams as the people’s spokesman and advocate, and eventually led Barbados to independence. Barrow, a passionate reformer and former member of the BLP, left the party to form his own Democratic Labor Party, a liberal alternative to the conservative government under the Adams BLP. He is revered as a hero to this day for his social reforms, including the establishment of free schooling. In 1961, Barrow replaced Adams as premier with DLP.

Thanks to its autonomy, which has grown over several years, Barbados successfully gained independence in June 1966 at a constitutional conference with Great Britainnegotiate. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados finally became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on November 3 , 1966, with Errol Barrow as its first Prime Minister.

Barbados History

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