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History

The first inhabitants of Barbados were the Arawak Indians. They were eventually driven off the island in 1200 AD by the Carib Indians from Venezuela. The Carib Indians abandoned the island by the time the first European sailed into the region.

The Portuguese explorer Pedro A Campos discovered Barbados en route to Brazil and named the island Los Barbados.

In 1625 Captain John Powell landed and claimed the uninhabited island for England. His brother Captain Henry Powell landed on the island two years later with a party of settlers and a few slaves. More settlers followed and the population grew.

Large amounts of African slaves arrived in 1640 due to the labour demand for the sugar plantations.
Barbados dominated the Caribbean sugar industry in these early years. However, during the late 1600’s many natural disasters occurred, such as locust plague, Bridgetown fire, major hurricane, and drought and excessive rain added to financial problems.
By 1720 onwards Barbadians were no longer a dominant force within the sugar industry. They had been surpassed by the Leeward Islands and Jamaica.  

Due to poor living conditions and treatment, the slaves staged a revolt in 1816. In 1834 slavery was abolished. This unfortunately failed to solve the living conditions and treatment because the land remained in the hands of the large estates. The slaves had no alternative other than to stay and work and those who left ended in shanty towns. Freedom from slavery was celebrated in 1838.

There were street riots in 1930 due to economic depression. The Sugar Industry went into decline after the 2nd world war and tourism industry started to take off to supplement the island economy.

Although Barbados was first occupied by the British in the 1627, it remains a British colony until Internal Autonomy was granted in 1961.
The island gained full independence in 1966. It is a member of the commonwealth. The first leader of Barbados as a free nation was The Right Honourable Errol Walton Barrow of the Democratic Labour Party and the first Prime Minister was Grantley Adams, later was knighted by the Queen. The other major Political Party is the Barbados Labour Party, led by the current Prime Minister , The Right Honourable Owen Arthur, whom been in power since 1994.