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Facts about Barbados

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The earliest inhabitants of Barbados were Native American nomads.

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Early on, Barbados adopted the British style of government, creating a Parliamentary democracy in 1639.

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Every January, Barbados hosts the Barbados Jazz Festival.

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Barbados has one of the highest standards of living and literacy rates in the world.

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The remainder is returned to Barbados in the end product.

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The bicameral Parliament of Barbados consists of the House of Assembly and the Senate.

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The present government is proposing that Barbados become a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, with a ceremonial president replacing the British Sovereign.

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The Judiciary of Barbados is independent of the executive and the legislature.

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Barbados' total land area is about 430 square kilometers, (166 square miles), and is primarily low-lying, with some higher regions in the island's interior.

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Large numbers of Celtic people, mainly from Ireland and Scotland, went to Barbados as indentured servants.

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Portuguese Conquistadors seized many Caribs on Barbados and used them as slave labor on plantations.

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Politics in Barbados takes place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government of a pluriform multi-party system.

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The economy of Barbados is susceptible to various issues.

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Shopping districts are popular in Barbados, with ample duty-free shopping.

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To work the plantations, West Africans were transported and enslaved on Barbados and other Caribbean islands.

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Global pricing on fossil fuels also has a direct impact on the Barbados economy.

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Another factor was that the Barbados economy could not forecast future costs from joining in PetroCaribe.

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The Trinidad and Tobago government in turn provides an equivalent amount of processed fuel back to Barbados, minus some oil to recoup the cost of refining.

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The Barbados government has also pursued "home porting" agreements with several cruise-lines.

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The public service remains Barbados' largest single employer.

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Barbados, situated just east of the Caribbean Sea, is an independent island nation in the western Atlantic Ocean.

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British sailors who landed on Barbados in 1625, at the site of present-day Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited.

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From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627-28 until independence in 1966, Barbados was under uninterrupted British control.

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Historically, the economy of Barbados had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but in recent years it has diversified into the manufacturing and tourism sectors.

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Despite its small size, Barbados constantly ranks in the top 35 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) rankings.

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The overall constitutional safeguards for nationals of Barbados include: Freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association.

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Barbados has a population of about 280,946 (July 2007) and a population growth rate of 0.369 percent.

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After its completion the water plant was able to provide up to one-third of Barbados' total daily water consumption.

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The organic composition of Barbados is thought to be of non-volcanic origin and is predominantly composed of limestone-coral.

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The island of Barbados has a single major airport, the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) (IATA identifier BGI).

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Modern Barbados has produced popular stars of calypso and the indigenous spouge style, and also has a large jazz scene.

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Other groups in Barbados include people from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and expatriates from Latin America.

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The origin of the name Barbados is unclear.

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In Barbados and the rest of the British West Indian colonies, full emancipation from slavery was preceded by an apprenticeship period that lasted six years.

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Fluctuations in tourist arrivals has a direct effect on the Barbados economy.

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By 1949, governmental control was wrested from the planters and, in 1958, Adams became Premier of Barbados.

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The Barbados national football team, nicknamed Bajan Pride, is the national team of Barbados and is controlled by the Barbados Football Association.

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After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados finally became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on November 30, 1966, with Errol Barrow its first Prime Minister.

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Barbados was best known for the Flying Fish which at one time more heavily inhabited the warm waters around the island.

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The major political problems facing Barbados today are in promoting economic growth: Creating jobs, encouraging agricultural diversification, attracting small industry, and promoting tourism.

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Barbados is currently a chief destination for emigrants from the South American nation of Guyana.

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One of the most highly regarded cricket players of all time, Sir Garfield Sobers, is a Barbados native.

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The largest and most important festival in Barbados is Crop Over, which celebrates the end of the sugarcane harvest.

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The political system is dominated by two main parties, the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party.

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The southern and western coasts of Barbados are popular, with the calm light blue Caribbean Sea and their fine white and pinkish sandy beaches.

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Spending in Barbados continues to be one of the immediate problems to the Barbados economy and the island's cash reserves to peg the currency to the US dollar.

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In 1994-1995, Barbados found itself vulnerable to large changes in the earth's weather patterns.

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The music of Barbados is an important part of the country's culture.

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Barbados remains one of the few islands in the Caribbean with an oil/gas field within its territory.

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Under an agreement with neighboring Trinidad and Tobago since the 1990s, the government–owned Barbados National Oil Company allows all crude to be refined via Trinidad and Tobago's booming oil industry.

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The most popular sport on Barbados, its cricket team has won numerous regional matches.

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Barbados has considered the sea surrounding the island a natural resource.

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Oil and gas supplies in Barbados have been considered small and are used most commonly for local consumption to decrease the need to import some of the island's fuel.

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According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim.

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Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy.

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Barbados is often spared the worst effects of the region's tropical storms and hurricanes during the rainy season as its far eastern location in the Atlantic Ocean puts it just outside the principal hurricane belt.

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Barbados is grouped as an island of the Lesser Antilles, although it is not strictly a part of the Lesser Antilles due to its different geological formation.

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The modern descendants of this original slave population are sometimes derisively referred to as Red Legs, or locally "ecky becky," and are some of the poorest inhabitants of modern Barbados.

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One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labour Party, then known as the Barbados Progressive League, in 1938.

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Progress toward a more democratic government in Barbados was made in 1942, when the exclusive income qualification was lowered and women were given the right to vote.

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Barbados is relatively close to the South American continent, around 434 kilometers (270 miles) northeast of Venezuela.