Barbados

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)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

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.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Barbados claims no territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

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)

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

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.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

The western coast of Barbados borders the Caribbean Sea, and its eastern coast borders the North Atlantic Ocean.

Seacoast and Undersea Features

The low-lying island is almost totally ringed with undersea coral reefs.

Sea Inlets and Straits

Barbados has no notable sea inlets or straits.

Islands and Archipelagos

Barbados consists of one island.

Coastal Features

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.

6 INLAND LAKES

Barbados has no inland lakes.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

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.

8 DESERTS

Barbados has no deserts.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

Other than the terraces that rise from the western coast to the center of the island, Barbados is mostly flat.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

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.

DID YOU KNOW?

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.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

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.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

There are no notable plateaus on Barbados.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

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.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

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.

Web Sites

Barbados Daily Nation. http://www.nationnews.com (accessed February 18, 2003).

Barbados Marine Trust. http://www.barbadosmarinetrust.com/index.htm (accessed June 17, 2003).

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