10 Facts About Barbados You Should Know


Ideal weather. Beautiful beaches. A tourist magnet in the Atlantic, right near the eastern edge of the Caribbean. Oh yeah, and people live on the island too. Here are 10 facts about Barbados to help you impress the trivia geek you’re friends with for some reason.



The population of Barbados is approximately 281,000, with the capital and largest city Bridgetown having a metropolitan population of about 110,000.



Barbados covers an area of around 167 square miles, comparable to the city of New Orleans. The piece of real estate is relatively flat, volcano-free, and just outside the major Atlantic hurricane belt. Here’s a map.



In its most bare-bones form, the history of the island involves native groups, the Spanish, the Portuguese, and then the British, who introduced African slave labor to work on plantations.

The country gained independence from the Brits in 1966, though it remained in the Commonwealth of Nations with the British monarch as the head of state. In 2021, Barbados became a republic, thereby giving the monarchy the boot (while staying in the Commonwealth).



Over 90 percent of Barbadians have African ancestry, with the rest of the island hailing from all over the world. Yes, even India.



Barbados has the 50th-highest nominal GDP per capita in the world, just behind Uruguay and ahead of Poland and Hungary. While sugar cane cultivation and the related rum industry were a large part of the traditional economy, a move has been made towards tourism, manufacturing, and, of course, the whole tax haven thing.



The official language of Barbados is English, though an English-based creole called Bajan is used in day-to-day verbal communication.



The literacy rate in the country is close to 100 percent. And speaking of 100, one of the more quirky facts about Barbados is that it is home to the second most centenarians per capita in the world.



The national dish is cou-cou (cornmeal and okra) and flying fish, served in a spicy gravy that is somewhat—actually, not at all—reminiscent of the meat sauce used to top a Garbage Plate.



Cricket is probably the most popular sport in Barbados, which plays internationally alongside nearby countries and territories as the West Indies. The 2007 Cricket World Cup final was hosted at Bridgetown’s famed Kensington Oval.



At this point, the most famous Barbadian has to be Rihanna, who grew up in Bridgetown and made the move to the US at age 16 after demo tracks and auditions caught the attention of the likes of Jay-Z, landing her a contract with Def Jam Recordings. Her debut single “Pon de Replay” introduced her to the world.


Just in case Rihanna ever does the Super Bowl halftime show, consider yourself prepared.


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