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You are in:  Nations > Caribbean > Barbados
Barbados*Barbados flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Bridgetown
Area: 430 sq km; 166 sq miles
Population: 275,330 (July 2001 estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 49 per cent; Rural 51 per cent


Exports: Sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components, clothing

Industry: Tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export

Agriculture: Major cash crop is sugar cane; other crops: vegetables, sweet potatoes, cassava, cotton

Currency: 1 Barbados dollar (Bds$), consisting of 100 cents

Natural resources: Petroleum, fishing, natural gas


The people

Ethnic: African 90 per cent, Mixed 4 per cent, European and other 6 per cent

Language: English (official). The official language is English, but a Bajan dialect is also spoken. German, Spanish, French and Italian are taught in the schools and in classes offered by the Board of Tourism.

Religion: Protestant (including Anglicans) 67 per cent, Roman Catholic 4 per cent, None 17 per cent, Unknown 3 per cent, Other 9 per cent. About two-thirds of Barbadians are Protestant: 40 per cent are Anglican, 8 per cent are Pentecostal and 7 per cent are Methodist. Of the remainder of the population, 4 per cent is Roman Catholic and there are small communities of Hindus, Muslims and Jews (a Jewish synagogue was first built on the island in 1654). Religion plays an important role in the lives of many of the people.


The history

Independence: 30 November 1966 (from the United Kingdom)

Government: Type of Government-Parliamentary democracy. As a sovereign member of the Commonwealth, Barbados recognises Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. A governor-general represents the queen. The Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in the House of Assembly, whose 28 members are directly elected for terms of up to five years. The 21 members of parliament's upper house, the Senate, are appointed. Barbados is divided into 11 parishes, all of them administered by the central Government. The voting age is 18.

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