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Barbados is a sovereign island country in the Lesser Antilles, in the Americas. In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm with the British Monarch (presently Queen Elizabeth II) as hereditary head of state.
Barbados is the 53rd richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita, has a well-developed mixed economy, and a moderately high standard of living.
Barbados is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the other West Indies Islands. Barbados is the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles. It is flat in comparison to its island neighbours to the west, the Windward Islands.
The island rises gently to the central highland region, with the high point of the nation being Mount Hillaby in the geological Scotland District 340 m (1,120 ft) above sea level. In the parish of Saint Michael lies Barbados' capital and main city, Bridgetown. Other major towns scattered across the island include Holetown, in the parish of Saint James; Oistins, in the parish of Christ Church; and Speightstown, in the parish of Saint Peter.
Tourism in Barbados
Tourism is Barbados's crucial economic activity and has been since the 1960s. At least 10 percent of the working population are employed in this sector, which offers a range of tourist accommodations from luxury hotels to modest self-catering establishments.
Due to their colonial history and connection to the United Kingdom, even after independence, sometimes it is referred to as Little England. Despite being classified as an Atlantic island, Barbados is considered a part of the Caribbean, where it is ranked as a leading tourist destination. Forty percent of the tourists come from the UK, with the US and Canada making up the next large groups of visitors to the island.
Barbados has numerous internationally known hotels. Time-shares are available, and many of the smaller local hotels and private villas which dot the island have space available if booked in advance.
The southern and western coasts of Barbados are popular, with the calm light-blue Caribbean Sea and their white and pinkish sandy beaches. Along the island's east coast, which faces the Atlantic Ocean, there are tumbling waves that are perfect for light surfing. Some areas remain risky to swimmers due to under-tow currents.
Shopping Districts are popular in Barbados, with ample duty-free shopping. There is also a festive night-life in mainly tourist areas such as the Saint Lawrence Gap. Other attractions include wildlife reserves (Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary), jewellery stores, scuba diving, helicopter rides, golf, festivals (the largest being the annual Crop Over festival July/Aug), sightseeing, cave exploration (Harrison's Cave), exotic drinks and fine clothes shopping.
Retailing is an important economic activity, especially in Bridgetown where there are large department stores and supermarkets. In the countryside, most stores are small and family-run.
Barbados has three commercial rum distilleries: West Indies Rum Distillers Ltd, Mount Gay Rum and Four Square. Mount Gay Eclipse Silver is one of the most recent Rums created back in 2008. There is also St. Nicholas Abbey, a smaller boutique operation.
Barbados is host to four species of nesting turtles (green turtles, loggerheads, hawksbill turtles, and leatherbacks) and has the second-largest hawksbill turtle breeding population in the Caribbean.
Barbados is also the host to the green monkey. The green monkey is found in West Africa from Senegal to the Volta River. It has been introduced to the Cape Verde islands off north-western Africa, and the West Indian islands of Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saint Martin, and Barbados. It was introduced to the West Indies in the late 17th century when slave trade ships traveled to the Caribbean from West Africa.
Barbados's Main Attractions, Landmarks and Places of Interest
Tourism accounts for almost one half of the economy. Name / Parish Location:
- Christ Church:Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Saint Lawrence Gap, Grantley Adams International Airport, Chancery Lane Swamp, Christ Church Foundation School (1809) and the Ocean Park.
- St. Andrew: Chalky Mount Potteries, Cherry Tree Hill, Morgan Lewis Windmill, Barclays Park.
St. George: Francia Great House, Gun Hill Signal Station, Orchid World.
St. James: St. James Parish Church, Folkestone Marine Park, Lancaster Great House Gallery and Gardens, Queen's College.
- St. John: Codrington College: Conset Bay, St. John Parish Church & Church Yard, Massiah Street.
- St. Joseph: Andromeda Gardens, Flower Forest, Hackleton's Cliff, Bathsheba.
- St. Lucy: Animal Flower Cave, Little Bay, Shamarra's House.
- St. Michael: Barbados Historical Museum, Bridgetown Synagogue and Cemetery, Bussa Emancipation Statue, Ilaro Court, Garrison Savannah, Kensington Oval, Mount Gay Rum, Barbados National Museum, George Washington House, The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters.
- St. Peter: Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Farley Hill National Park, St Nicholas Abbey.
- St. Philip: Crane Beach, Sunbury Plantation, Bayley's Plantation.
- St. Thomas: Clifton Hill Moravian Church, Harrison's Cave, Sharon Moravian Church, Welchman Hall Gully.
Main Cities, Towns and Villages in Barbados
Bridgetown, Holetown, Oistins, Six Cross Roads, Speightstown, Saint Lawrence Gap, Warrens, Black Rock, Barbados, Bank Hall.
Map of Babados