Official name: Barbados
Area: 430 square kilometers (166 square miles)
Highest point on mainland : Mount Hillaby (336 meters / 1,102 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres : Northern and Western
Time zone: 8 A.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 23 kilometers (14 miles) from east to west; 34 kilometers (21 miles) from north to south
Land boundaries: None
Coastline: 97 kilometers (60 miles)
Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)
The second-smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere and the easternmost Caribbean island, Barbados lies between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It is located roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) north-northeast of Trinidad and Tobago. It has an area of 430 square kilometers (166 square miles), or nearly two-and-one-half times the size of Washington, D.C.
Barbados claims no territories or dependencies.
The northeasterly trade winds that blow across Barbados's Atlantic coast moderate the island's tropical maritime climate. The weather is cool and dry in winter, and hotter and humid during the rainy season. Rainfall is heaviest between June and December but occurs throughout the year. Average annual precipitation varies from about 100 centimeters (40 inches) in coastal areas to 230 centimeters (90 inches) at higher elevations.
|S EASON||M ONTHS||A VERAGE T EMPERATURE : °C ELSIUS (°F AHRENHEIT )|
|Rainy||June to December||23 to 30°C (73 to 86°F)|
|Winter||December to May||21 to 28°C (70 to 82°F)|
A series of terraces rises from the western coast to a central ridge, culminating in Mount Hillaby in the north-central part of the island. Hackleton's Cliff, at the eastern edge of the island's central plateau, extends over several miles. South and east of this elevated area is the smaller Christ Church Ridge. The St. George Valley separates Hackleton's Cliff from Christ Church Ridge.
The western coast of Barbados borders the Caribbean Sea, and its eastern coast borders the North Atlantic Ocean.
The low-lying island is almost totally ringed with undersea coral reefs.
Barbados has no notable sea inlets or straits.
Barbados consists of one island.
Flat land and wide strips of sandy beach ring the coast. At the eastern end of the island, flat rocks at Ragged Point form a low, jagged rim to the ocean. The port city of Bridgetown is located on Barbados's only natural harbor, Carlisle Bay, at the southwestern end of the island. The southern and northern ends of the island are known as South Point and North Point, respectively.
Barbados has no inland lakes.
Barbados has no rivers and little surface water of any kind. A few springs are fed by underground water stored in limestone beds, and some ravines may become temporarily filled by heavy rains. The best known of Barbados's underground water channels is Cole's Cave in the middle of the island. Two dry streams known as Indian River and Joes River are of no use for either fishing or navigation.
Barbados has no deserts.
Other than the terraces that rise from the western coast to the center of the island, Barbados is mostly flat.
The highest point, Mount Hillaby (336 meters /1,102 feet), rises in the north-central part of the island. At 305 meters (1,000 feet), Hackleton's Cliff is the next-highest point. Numerous inland cliffs were created by past seismic activity.
Barbados was once two separate islands. A shallow sea, at the site of the present-day St. George Valley, divided the large ridge of Mount Hillaby from the smaller Christ Church Ridge to the south.
Harrison's Cave, near the center of the island, is a large underground cave with stalactites and stalagmites. Streams flow through the cave, spilling over rock formations to form waterfalls which feed into deep pools of emerald-green water.
There are no notable plateaus on Barbados.
As of 2002, the port of Bridgetown was being dredged to allow large cruise ships to dock. As part of this process, the Barbados Marine Trust was transplanting coral from the harbor to other coastline areas. Another aspect of their coral reef preservation activity was the installation of concrete balls, called reef balls, to support and sustain the growth of the coral.
Beckles, Hilary. A History of Barbados. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Spark, Debra. The Ghost of Bridgetown . Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 2001.
Stow, Lee Karen. Essential Barbados . Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 2001.