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Welcome to Vacation in Barbados Meet the People of Barbados

Barbados People
"A Polite, Friendly Bunch of Caribbean People"

Barbados PeopleBarbados people are very interesting Caribbean people.  

You see, the people of Barbados are made up of so many different ancestors that it is as if all the great attributes of these ancestors have been wrapped up and put into one.  This history includes Arawak Indians, British settlers, European indentured slaves, African slaves and East Indians.  This unique blend of people now populate my incredibly beautiful island!

You will definitely find that we are a polite and courteous bunch, which we are proud to admit is from our British history.  As the island is very small and tourism is our main source of income, it is absolutely impossible for locals and tourists not to interact each and every day.  Therefore unlike some of the other Cairbbean islands there is no tension towards visitors, we always make you feel welcome!

We also love sharing our beaches with visiting travelers no matter which beaches they choose to relax on.  If you are ever lost or need help do not be afraid to ask one of us for help.  We will be more than delighted to help.

One of the most important things travelers to foreign countries are concerned about is whether or not the country is safe.  There biggest fear is whether or not the country is unstable and the people violent.  Well you will be happy to know that people in Barbados are very docile people and the best proof of this is that we boast the lowest crime rate in the Caribbean!

As of 2008, Barbados has a crime rate more than 6 times lower than Jamaica and 4 times lower than Trinidad & Tobago.  Our crime rate is also lower than Dominican Republic, Mexico and Costa Rica!

All and all people from Barbados will help make your Barbados vacation a more relaxing and enjoyable one.

Do you want to learn more about the people of Barbados??....

What are people from Barbados called?

The official name for a person from Barbados is a "Barbadian".  However we usually refer to ourselves as "Bajans".

What language do people from Barbados speak?

The official language of the Barbados people is English.  On the island you will also here people speaking a form of Barbadian dialect or Bajan dialect.  Locals call this "Speaking Bajan". Bajan is a fusion between African words, words unique to the people of Barbados and standard British English.

A Brief History of Barbados People

The history of the people of Barbados has created the diversity of the island today.  Lets take a quick look into the past...

The Amerindians 

Evidence has been found that the island was first inhabited in 1620 B.C. by Arawak Indians, a tribe of Amerindians that came to the island from nearby Venezuela.  It is not clear how these people managed to travel to the island considering that they were paddling man-made canoes but they made it!  Another tribe of Amerindians called Caribs killed these Arawaks and took over the island in the 1200s.

The Portuguese

The Amerindians were then followed by the Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos, who landed on Barbados while he was sailing to Brazil.  This Portuguese explorer is believed to have given us our first name...”Los Barbados”..which means The Bearded Ones. You may be wondering why he would call the island this.  Well there are many possible reasons but it is commonly believed that it was because of the many fig trees throughout the island.  These fig trees, Ficus citrifolia, have long hanging roots giving the trees the appearance of having long beards.

The British Land Owners, African Slaves and European Servants

The British then arrived in 1625 lead by Captain John Powell, settling in the town of Holetown along the island’s west coast.  The British began cultivating many crops throughout the island with the most valuable being sugar cane.  In order to do this the British built many sugar plantations throughout the island to allow for mass production of this cash crop.  African slaves were brought to the island in large ships to work on these sugar cane fields.  Many persecuted Europeans, such as Irish Catholics, also came to the island as indentured servants to work on these sugar fields and sugar plantation homes.

The Ethnic Diversity of the Barbados People of Today

The Black Barbadians of African Descent

Due to this array of ancestry there are Barbados people of various ethnic backgrounds.  However you will notice that about 90% of the people in Barbados are black and are referred to as Afro Bajans.

This may seem like a very high percentage considering the fact that that many white Europeans had settled on the island in the earlier days. However between the 1700s and 1800s the African population of Barbados greatly increased as by the early 1800s almost 400,000 African slaves had been imported to the island.  Black African slave workers therefore outnumbered the white plantation owners and slave drivers.  This caused much racial tension throughout the island and fear of there being a slave rebellion.  

The White Barbadians of European Descent

Many slave rebellions did occur with the most notable in 1816.  In 1834 slavery in Barbados had been abolished but by then many white European indenture servants and British plantation owners left the island due to fear and uncertainty.

There are still many people in Barbados of European descent, commonly from British plantation owners or Irish and Scottish indentured servants.  The white population in Barbados today makes up approximately 4% of the population. These Barbadians are often referred to as Euro Bajans or White Bajans.

The Chinese, East Indians and The Arabs of Barbados Today

The remaining 6% of Barbadians are made up of Asians, Indians, Lebanese and Syrians.  
Chinese Barbados people, or Bajan Chineys, are believed to have settled in Barbados from Hong Kong during the 2nd World War in the 1940s. On the other hand much of the Indian population in Barbados orginated from East Indians migrating from the neighbouring countries of Trinidad, as well as from India. There is also a rising population of Guyanese migrating from nearby Guyana. 

The Lebanese and Syrians of Barbados first came to the island as refugees fleeing the turmoil and conflict of the Middle East.  It is believe that these Barbados people migrated to the island during the wars between the Arab Nations and Israel of the 1960s and 1970s.

Famous People From Barbados

Rihanna BarbadosCurrently the most famous person from Barbados is the pop singer Robyn 'Rihanna' Fenty.  Rihanna was discovered on the island at the age of sixteen by New York producer Evan Rodgers. 

Evan Rodger's wife is a Barbadian and he was on vacation in Barbados when he met and heard Rihanna sing.  He was blown away by her voice and took her back to New York to meet rap artist and CEO of Def Jam Records, Jay-z.  Rihanna was signed on to Def Jam Records and the rest is history.

 In 2008 Rihanna was awarded a Grammy for her hit song “Umbrella”.

Some other famous Barbadians include soca musicians Rupee and Alison Hinds, Bajan cricketer Sir Garfield Sobers as well as political leaders Owen Arthur and Sir Grantley Adams.

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