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Flag of Barbados
Map of Barbados
Introduction Barbados
The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.
Geography Barbados
Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates:
13 10 N, 59 32 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 431 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 431 sq km
Area - comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
97 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; rainy season (June to October)
relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, fish, natural gas
Land use:
arable land: 37.21%
permanent crops: 2.33%
other: 60.46% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
10 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides
Environment - current issues:
pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity
Geography - note:
easternmost Caribbean island
People Barbados
276,607 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.4% (male 29,888; female 29,338)
15-64 years: 69.8% (male 94,214; female 98,811)
65 years and over: 8.8% (male 9,378; female 14,978) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.46% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
13.32 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
8.38 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
11.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.49 years
female: 76.12 years (2002 est.)
male: 70.9 years
Total fertility rate:
1.64 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.17% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1,800 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
130 (1999 est.)
noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)
adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)
Ethnic groups:
black 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%
Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12%
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 97.4%
male: 98%
female: 96.8% (1995 est.)
Government Barbados
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Barbados
Government type:
parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth
Administrative divisions:
11 parishes; Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas; note - the city of Bridgetown may be given parish status
30 November 1966 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 30 November (1966)
30 November 1966
Legal system:
English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Clifford Straughn HUSBANDS (since 1 June 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Owen Seymour ARTHUR (since 6 September 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Billie MILLER (since 6 September 1994)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21-member body appointed by the governor general) and the House of Assembly (28 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held 20 January 1999 (next to be held by January 2004)
election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - BLP 26, DLP 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Judicature (judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services)
Political parties and leaders:
Barbados Labor Party or BLP [Owen ARTHUR]; Democratic Labor Party or DLP [David THOMPSON]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Richard HAYNES]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Barbados Workers Union [Leroy TROTMAN]; Clement Payne Labor Union [David COMMISSIONG]; People's Progressive Movement [Eric SEALY]; Worker's Party of Barbados [Dr. George BELLE]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael Ian KING
consulate(s): Los Angeles
consulate(s) general: Miami and New York
FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200
chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Earl N. PHILLIPS, Jr.
embassy: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown; (courier) ALICO Building-Cheapside, Bridgetown
mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown; CMR 1014, APO AA 34055
telephone: [1] (246) 436-4950
FAX: [1] (246) 429-5246
Flag description:
three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold, and blue with the head of a black trident centered on the gold band; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident)
Economy Barbados
Economy - overview:
Historically, the Barbadian economy had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but production in recent years has diversified into manufacturing and tourism. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners, and there is also a light manufacturing sector. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, encourage direct foreign investment, and privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. The economy contracted in 2001 due to slowdowns in tourism and consumer spending. Growth will remain anemic in 2002 with a recovery likely near the end of the year.
purchasing power parity - $4 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $14,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 16%
services: 78% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
128,500 (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 75%, industry 15%, agriculture 10% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate:
10% (2001 est.)
revenues: $847 million (including grants)
expenditures: $886 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export
Industrial production growth rate:
-3.2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
740 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
688.2 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, vegetables, cotton
$272 million (2000)
Exports - commodities:
sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components, clothing
Exports - partners:
Caribbean Community 43.2%, US 15.3%, UK 13.2% (2000)
$1.16 billion (2000)
Imports - commodities:
consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
Imports - partners:
US 40.8%, Caribbean Community 19.8%, UK 8.1%, Japan 5.2%, Canada 4.2% (2000)
Debt - external:
$425 million
Economic aid - recipient:
$9.1 million (1995)
Barbadian dollar (BBD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Barbadian dollars per US dollar - 2.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Barbados
Telephones - main lines in use:
108,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
8,013 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: island-wide automatic telephone system
international: satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
237,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus two cable channels) (1997)
76,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
19 (2000)
Internet users:
6,000 (2000)
Transportation Barbados
0 km
total: 1,650 km
paved: 1,628 km
unpaved: 22 km (1998)
Ports and harbors:
Bridgetown, Speightstown (Port Charles Marina)
Merchant marine:
total: 41 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 629,987 GRT/1,073,991 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 1, Bahamas, The 1, Canada 4, Germany 1, Greece 2, Hong Kong 7, Norway 7, United Kingdom 18 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 26, combination bulk 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 4
1 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Military Barbados
Military branches:
Royal Barbados Defense Force (including Ground Forces and Coast Guard), Royal Barbados Police Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 78,132 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 53,532 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues Barbados
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
one of many Caribbean transshipment points for narcotics bound for Europe and the US; offshore financial center

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003