Also know as: Land of the Flying Fish
Motto: Pride and Industry

History First sighted by the Portuguese, the island was uninhabited until 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, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. The country gained independence in 1966, and is noted for having the third oldest House of Assembly in the Americas, dating from 1639.

location Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates: 13 10 N, 59 32 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 430 sq km
land: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 Km
Coastline: 97 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: 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% (2005)
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: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: easternmost Caribbean island

Population 284,589 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.2% (male 27,383/female 27,352)
15-64 years: 71.3% (male 99,829/female 103,049)
65 years and over: 9.5% (male 10,464/female 16,512) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.383% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 12.55 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 8.41 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 40% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality: noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)
adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)
Ethnic groups: black 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%
Religions: Protestant 63.4% (Anglican 28.3%, Pentecostal 18.7%, Methodist 5.1%, other 11.3%), Roman Catholic 4.2%, other Christian 7%, other 4.8%, none or unspecified 20.6% (2008 est.)
Languages: English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.7% (2002 est.)

Country Name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Barbados
Government type: parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Capital: name: Bridgetown
geographic coordinates: 13 06 N, 59 37 W
Administrative divisions: 11 parishes and 1 city*; Bridgetown*, Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas
Independence: 30 November 1966 (from the UK)
National holidays: New Year's Day (01 January); Errol Barrow Day (21 January); Good Friday, Easter Monday, National Heroes Day (28 April), Labour Day (01 May); Whit Monday (June); Emancipation Day (01 August); Kadooment Day (First Monday in August); Independence Day (30 November); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December).
Constitution: 30 November 1966
Legal system: English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
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 David THOMPSON (since 16 January 2008). Born 25 December 1961 the Prime Minister received his Legal Education Certificate at the Hugh Wooding Law School and graduated from the University of the West Indies, Law Faculty in 1984.

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: 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 seats; members appointed by the governor general - 12 on the advice of the Prime Minister, 2 on the advice of the opposition leader, and 7 at his discretion) and the House of Assembly (30 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held 15 January 2008 (next to be called in 2013)
election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - DLP 52.5%, BLP 47.3%; seats by party - DLP 20, BLP 10
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Judicature consists of a High Court and a Court of Appeal (judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services); Caribbean Court of Justice or CCJ is the highest court of appeal; based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Political parties and leaders: Barbados Labor Party or BLP [Mia MOTTLEY]; Democratic Labor Party or DLP [David THOMPSON]; People's Empowerment Party or PEP [David COMISSIONG]
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador John BEALE
chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200
FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
consulate(s): Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Mary M. OURISMAN
embassy: U.S. Embassy, Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael BB 14006
mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown BB 11000; CMR 1014, APO AA 34055
telephone: [1] (246) 227-4399
FAX: [1] (246) 431-0179
Date of CARICOM Membership: 4 July, 1973
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 band colors represent the blue of the sea and sky and the gold of the beaches; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident)

Overview: Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. However, in recent years the economy has diversified into light industry and tourism with about three-quarters of GDP and 80% of exports being attributed to services. Growth has rebounded since 2003, bolstered by increases in construction projects and tourism revenues, reflecting its success in the higher-end segment, but the sector will likely face declining revenues with the global economic downturn. The country enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners and thrive from having the same time zone as eastern US financial centers and a relatively highly educated workforce. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, to encourage direct foreign investment, and to privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. The public debt-to-GDP ratio of about 80% will likely widen as the THOMPSON administration engages in a more expansionary fiscal policy.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $5.425 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.7% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $19,100 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 6%
industry: 16%
services: 78% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 175,000 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 10%
industry: 15%
services: 75% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: 10.7% (2003 est.)
Budget: revenues: $847 million (including grants)
expenditures: $886 million (2000 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, vegetables, cotton
Industries: tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export
Total Exports: $385 million (2006)
Exports - commodities: manufactures, sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components
Exports - partners: Trinidad and Tobago 15.5%, Jamaica 13.6%, Brazil 9.9%, US 8.6%, UK 7.8%, Saint Lucia 7.2%, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4.5% (2008)
Total Imports: $1.586 billion (2006)
Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
Imports - partners: US 27.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 26.3%, Russia 7.3%, Germany 4.2% (2008)
Exchange rates: Barbadian dollars (BBD) per US dollar - NA (20
Business Hours: Commercial: 08:00-16:00 hrs Monday to Friday; 08:00-13:00 hrs Saturday
Government:  08:15-16:30 hrs Monday to Friday
National Holidays: New Year's Day (01 January); Errol Barrow Day (21 January); Good Friday, Easter Monday, National Heroes Day (28 April), Labour Day (01 May); Whit Monday (01 June); Emancipation Day (01 August); Kadooment Day (First Monday in August); Independence Day (30 November); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December).  Holidays that fall on a Sunday are observed the following Monday

Telephones - main lines in use: 150,000 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 406,000 (2008)
Telephone system: general assessment: fixed-line teledensity of roughly 50 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density approaching 150 per 100 persons
domestic: island-wide automatic telephone system
international: country code - 1-246; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad; satellite earth stations - 1 (Intelsat -Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia (2008)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 6, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus 2 cable channels) (2004)
Internet country code: .bb
Internet hosts: 104 (2008)
Internet users:
160,000 (2005)

Airports: 1 (2009): Main airport; Grantley Adams International
Airports with paved runways: total: 1
over 3.047 m: 1 (2009)
Roadways: 1600 km
Merchant Marine: total: 85
by type: bulk carrier 15, cargo 50, chemical tanker 7, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 6, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 80 (Canada 9, Greece 12, India 1, Iran 2, Lebanon 1, Norway 38, Sweden 7, Syria 1, UK 9)
registered in other countries: 1 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2008)
Ports and Terminals: Bridgetown

Military Royal Barbados Defense Force: Troops Command, Barbados Coast Guard (2009)
Military - note: the Royal Barbados Defense Force includes a land-based Troop Command and a small Coast Guard; the primary role of the land element is to defend the island against external aggression; the Command consists of a single, part-time battalion with a small regular cadre that is deployed throughout the island; it increasingly supports the police in patrolling the coastline to prevent smuggling and other illicit activities
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Items of Interest  
National Anthem:  
  In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which your pride is sprung,
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood.

We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own.
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great,
Strict guardians of our heritage,
Firm craftsmen of our fate.

The Lord has been the people's guide
For the past three hundred years.
With Him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears.
Upwards and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity

(Words by Irvine Burgie; music by Van Roland Edwards)

Highest National Award: Knight of St. Andrew
Favourite Local Cuisine:  Cou-Cou and Flying Fish, Jug Jug
Government web page: