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Barbados is an island nation situated on the boundary of the Caribbean Sea
and the Atlantic Ocean. One of the Lesser Antilles, it lies to the east of
the main chain of islands.

                                         National motto: Pride and Industry
                                        language         English
Barbados was uninhabited when first     Capital          Bridgetown
settled by the British in 1627, though  Queen            Elizabeth II
Amerindian tribes had lived on the
island previously. Slaves worked the    Governor general Clifford Husbands
sugar plantations established on the    Prime minister   Owen Arthur
island until 1834 when slavery was
abolished. The economy remained         Area             Ranked 181st
heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and    - Total         430 km²
molasses production through most of     - % water       Negligible
the 20th century.                       Population       Ranked 170th
                                        - Total (2002)  276,607
The gradual introduction of social and  - Density       642/km²
political reforms in the 1940s and
1950s led to complete independence      Independence     From the United
from the United Kingdom in 1966, with   - Date          Kingdom
                                                         November 30, 1966
the island remaining a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations. In the 1990s,  Currency         Barbadian dollar
tourism and manufacturing surpassed     Time zone        UTC -4
the sugar industry in economic
importance.                             National anthem  In Plenty and In
                                                         Time of Need
Politics                                Internet TLD     .BB
                                        Calling Code     1

The Queen of Barbados, Queen Elizabeth II is is the Barbadian head of state
and is represented by a governor general. Executive power however is in the
hands of the prime minister and his cabinet. The prime minister is usually
the leader of the winning party in the elections for the House of Assembly,
the lower house of parliament, which has 28 seats. Its members are elected
every 5 years. The Senate has 21 members, and its members are appointed by
the governor general.


Barbados is divided into parishes. There are eleven of them:

   * Christ Church
   * Saint Andrew
   * Saint George
   * Saint James
   * Saint John
   * Saint Joseph
   * Saint Lucy
   * Saint Michael
   * Saint Peter
   * Saint Philip
   * Saint Thomas


Barbados is a relatively flat island, rising gently to central highland
region, the highest point being Mount Hillaby at 336 m. It is located in a
slightly eccentric position in the Atlantic Ocean compared to other
Caribbean islands. The climate is tropical, with a rainy season from June to
October. The chief town is Bridgetown, the nation's capital. Other towns
include Holetown and Speightstown.


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 privatise 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.


About nine tenths of all Barbadians (also known colloquially as Bajan) are
blacks, mostly descendants of the slaves and workers on the sugar
plantations. The remainder of the population includes small groups of
Europeans and Asians. The official language is English and while most
Barbadians are Protestant Christians, chiefly of the Anglican Church, there
are other Protestant, Roman Catholic, Hindu and Muslim minorities.


The influence of the English on Barbados is more noticeable than on other
islands in the West Indies. A good example of this is the island's national
sport: cricket. Barbados has brought forth several great cricket players,
including Garfield Sobers and Frank Worrell.
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