CAPITAL : Bridgetown
FLAG : The national flag has three equal vertical bands of ultramarine blue, gold, and ultramarine blue and displays a broken trident in black on the center stripe.
ANTHEM : National Anthem of Barbados, beginning "In plenty and in time of need, when this fair land was young…."
MONETARY UNIT : Officially introduced on 3 December 1973, the Barbados dollar ( BDS $) of 100 cents is a paper currency officially pegged to the US dollar. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. BDS $1 = US $0.50 (or US $1 = BDS $2.0; as of January 2003)
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is used.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Errol Barrow Day, 23 January; May Day, 1 May; Kadooment Day, first Monday in August; CARICOM Day, 1 August; UN Day, first Monday in October; Independence Day, 30 November; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays are Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Whitmonday.
TIME : 8 AM = noon GMT.
The coast is almost entirely encircled with coral reefs. The only natural harbor is Carlisle Bay on the southwest coast. The land rises to 336 m (1,102 ft) at Mt. Hillaby in the parish of St. Andrew. In most other areas, the land falls in a series of terraces to a coastal strip or wide flat area.
Palms, casuarina, mahogany, and almond trees are found on the island, but no large forest areas exist, most of the level ground having been turned over to sugarcane. The wide variety of flowers and shrubs includes wild roses, carnations, lilies, and several cacti. Natural wildlife is restricted to a few mammals and birds; finches, blackbirds, and moustache birds are common.
About 90% of all Barbadians (colloquially called Bajans) are the descendants of former African slaves. Some 4% are white, and other various groups comprise the remaining 6%.
English, the official language, is spoken universally, with local pronunciations.
In 2002 the armed forces numbered 610 active troops and 430 reserves, of which 500 were in the army and 110 in the navy. The navy was equipped with five patrol boats. The defense budget was $11 million in 1998, or 0.5% of GDP.
Barbados became a member of the UN on 9 December 1966 and belongs to ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WtrO.
The island must import large quantities of meat and dairy products. Most livestock is owned by individual households. Estimates for 1999 showed 23,000 head of cattle, 41,000 sheep, 33,000 hogs, 5,000 goats, and 4,000,000 chickens. Poultry production in 1999 included 9,000 tons of meat and 1,000 tons of hen eggs.
The fishing industry employs about 2,000 persons, and the fleet consists of more than 500 powered boats. The catch in 2000 was 3,100 metric tons. Flying fish, dolphinfish, tuna, turbot, kingfish, and swordfish are among the main species caught. A fisheries terminal complex opened at Oistins in 1983.
Fewer than 20 hectares (50 acres) of original forests have survived the 300 years of sugar cultivation. There are an estimated 5,000 ha (12,350 acres) of forested land, covering about 12% of the total land area. Roundwood production in 2000 totaled 5,000 cu m (176,500 cu ft), and imports amounted to 3,000 cu m (106,000 cu ft). In 2000, Barbados imported $35.3 million in wood and forest products.
Deposits of limestone and coral were quarried to meet local construction needs. Production of limestone in 2000 amounted to1.5 million tons. Clays and shale, sand and gravel, and carbonaceous deposits provided limited yields. Hydraulic cement production totaled 267,659 tons in 2000, up from 106,515 in 1996.
The regulatory authority is the Supervisor of Insurance of the Ministry of Finance. The General Insurance Association of Barbados is the general trade association. A full range of life and nonlife insurance is available. Barbados Mutual Life Assurance Society and Life of Barbados Limited provided most insurance services to the nation in 1999.
Barbados has no territories or colonies.
Beckles, Hilary. A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Butler, Kathleen. The Economics of Emancipation: Jamaica and Barbados, 1823–1843. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
——. White Servitude and Black Slavery in Barbados, 1627–1715. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989.
Hanna, Lewis W. Land Use Change in the Island of Barbados, 1985–1990. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England: University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1990.
Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.
Kinas, Roxan. Barbados. Maspeth, N.Y.: APA, 2002.