About Barbados
The Barbados is an island in the Antilles, located in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea. The island was initially visited by the Spanish around the late 1400s to early 1500s and was uninhabited when first 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 led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. Barbados has an estimated population of 300,000 people, with around 80,000 living in or around Bridgetown, the largest city and the country's capital. In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance and it is one of the Caribbean's leading tourist destinations.
Barbados Map
Location: Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Area: total: 431 sq km
land: 431 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 97 km
Climate: Tropical; rainy season (June to October)
Natural hazards: Infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides
Population: 281,968 (July 2008 est.)
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.)


Judicial System: Supreme Court of Judicature (judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services); Caribbean Court of Justice is the highest court of appeal
Government type: Parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Bridgetown
geographic coordinates: 13 06 N, 59 37 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Economy - overview: Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. However, production in recent years 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. The country enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region and an investment grade rating which benefits from its political stability and stable institutions. 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.
GDP by sector: agriculture: 6%
industry: 16%
services: 78% (2000 est.)
Industries: Tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export
Electricity: 110 V
Currency (code):

Barbadian dollar (BBD)

Credit Cards: Most hotels, restaurants and businesses accept major credit cards.
Sales Tax: There is a 15% Value Added Tax
Telephone system: general assessment: fixed-line teledensity of roughly 50 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density of about 85 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 (2007)