BARBADOS or BARBADOES, an island in the British West Indies. It lies 78m. E. of St. Vincent, in 13° 4' N. and 59° 37' W., is 2Im. long, 141m. at its broadest and i66sq.m. (106,470 ac.) in extent (roughly equalling the Isle of Wight). Its coasts are encircled with coral reefs, extending in some places three miles seaward. The island is elevated, with Mt. Hillaby (I,Iooft.) near the centre, from which the land falls gently on all sides to the sea. The only natural harbour is Carlisle bay on the south western coast, little better than a shallow roadstead, only ac cessible to light draught vessels.
The oldest rocks, the Scotland series, are of shallow water origin, coarse grits, brown sandstones and sandy clays, in places saturated with petroleum and traversed by veins of manjak (glance-pitch) . They have been folded and denuded, and form the foundation on which rest the later beds of the island. Upon the denuded edges of the Scotland beds lies the Oceanic series, chalky limestones, siliceous earths, red clay, and, at the top, a layer of mudstone composed mainly of volcanic dust. The limestones contain Globigerina and other Foraminifera, the siliceous beds are made of Radiolaria, sponge spicules and diatoms, while the red clay closely resembles that of the deepest parts of the oceans. The whole series was laid down in deep water. The Oceanic series is generally overlaid directly, and unconformably, by coral lime stones which lie indifferently upon the older beds. Although of no great thickness, they cover six-sevenths of the island, rising in a series of terraces to a height of nearly 1,looft. The Scotland series probably belongs to the Tertiary system, but the want of characteristic fossils makes determination difficult. Sandstone, and clays suitable for brick-making, are found in the district of Scotland, so called from a fancied resemblance to the Highlands of Scotland. The only other mineral product is manjak, which is a species of asphalt, also found in this district and to some extent exported.
The climate of Barbados is pleasant. The seasons are divided into wet and dry, the latter (extending from December to the end of May) being also the cold season. The temperature ranges from 70° to 86°, rarely, even on the coldest days, falling below 65°. The average annual rainfall is about 6oin., September being the wettest month. For eight months the invigorating north-east trade winds temper the tropical heat. The absence of swamps, the porous nature of the soil, and the extent of culti vation account for the freedom of the island from malaria. The climate is beneficial for pulmonary diseases, especially in their earlier stages, and is remarkable in arresting the decay of vital power consequent upon old age. Leprosy occurs amongst the negroes, and elephantiasis is so frequent as to be known as "Barbados leg." Industries.—Cultivation of sugar was introduced in the mid dle of the 17th century, and cheapness of labour, extreme fertility of the soil and care bestowed on cultivation made it the staple product of the island. Cotton growing has recently become of importance. The few other industries include rum distilleries and factories for chemicals, ice and tobacco. A railway 28m. long runs from Bridgetown partly round the coast. The island is a place of call for almost all the steamships plying to and from the West Indies, and is a great centre of distribution. There is direct com munication with Great Britain, the United States, Canada and the other West Indian islands.
The island is also the see of a bishop, who, with the clergy of all denominations, is paid by the Government. Codrington college, founded by Col. Chris topher Codrington, who in 1710 bequeathed two estates to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, trains young men for holy orders and is affiliated to the University of Durham. Har rison college and The Lodge are secondary schools for boys, Queen's college for girls. There are several second grade and a large number of primary schools. The colony has an elected House of Assembly and a nominated legislative council. The Crown has a veto on legislation and the Colonial Office appoints the public officials, except the treasurer. Barbados was till 1922 the headquarters of the Imperial Agricultural Department of the West Indies, now amalgamated with the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (see TRINIDAD), to which the island owes the development of cotton growing, etc. The majority of the population consists of negroes, passionately attached to the island, who have a well-marked physiognomy and dialect of their own. They outnumber the whites by nine to one. Barbados is densely populated. In 1933 the population was (estimated) 180,055, or 1,084 to the square mile. There are no Crown lands or forests.
Bridgetown (pop. 15,200), the capital, situated on the south-west coast, is a pretty town on the lower spurs of easy hills. The cathedral, St. Michael's, serves as a parish church. Trafalgar square has the earliest monument to Nelson. There are many good buildings, shops and gardens, a handsome military parade ground and fine beaches. Fontabelle and Hastings are popular suburban watering-places with good sea-bathing. Speights town is the only other town of any size.
The name of the island may be derived from the Spanish word for the hanging branches of a vine which strike root in the ground, or alternatively from a species of bearded fig-tree. In the 16th-century maps the name is variously rendered St. Ber nardo, Bernados, Barbudoso, Barnodos and Barnodo. There are more numerous traces of the Carib Indians here than in any other of the Antilles. Barbados is thought to have been first visited by the Portuguese. Its history illustrates the process of peaceful colonization, for the island, acquired without conquest, has never been out of the possession of the British. It was touched in 1605 by the British ship "Olive Blossom," whose crew took possession in the name of James I. ; but the first settlement was made in 1625, at the direction of Sir William Courteen under the patent of Lord Leigh, afterwards Earl of Marlborough, to whom the island had been granted by the king. Two years later a grant of the island was obtained by the Earl of Carlisle, whose claim was based on a grant, from the king, of all the Caribbean islands in 1624; and in 1628 Charles Wolferstone, a native of Bermuda, was appointed governor. In the same year 64 settlers arrived at Carlisle Bay and the present capital was founded. During the Civil War in England many Royalists sought refuge in Barbados, where, under Lord Willoughby (who had leased the island from the Earl of Carlisle), they offered stout resistance to the forces of the Commonwealth. Willoughby, however, was ultimately defeated and exiled. After the Restoration, to appease the planters, doubtful of their title to their valuable estates, the proprietary or patent interest was abolished, and the Crown took over the government of the island; a duty of 41% on all exports being imposed to satisfy the claims of the patentees. In 1684, under the governorship of Sir Richard Dutton, a census was taken, according to which the population then consisted of 20,000 whites and 46,000 slaves. The European wars of the i8th century caused much suffering, as the West Indies were the scene of numerous battles between the British and the French. In the course of the American War of Independence Barbados again experienced great hardships owing to the restrictions placed upon the importation of provisions from the American colonies. For three years after the peace of Amiens in
the colony enjoyed uninterrupted calm, but in 1805 it was only saved from falling into the hands of the French by the timely arrival of Admiral Cochrane. Since that date it has remained unthreatened in the possession of the British. The rupture between Great Britain and the United States in 1812 caused privateering to be resumed, the trade of the colony being thereby almost destroyed. This led to an agitation for the repeal of the 41% duty, but it was not till 1838 that the efforts to secure this were successful. On the abolition of slavery in 1834 the slaves continued to work for their masters as hired servants, and a period of great pros perity succeeded. The proposed confederation of the Windward Islands in 1876, however, provoked riots, which occasioned con siderable loss of life and property, but secured for the people their existence as a separate colony. Hurricanes are the scourge of Barbados, those of 1780, 1831, and 1898 being so disastrous as to necessitate relief measures by the home government.
See Ligon, History of Barbados (1657) ; Oldmixon, British Empire in America 0741); A Short History of Barbados (1768); Poyer, History of Barbados (18°8); Capt. Thom. Southey, Croon. Hist. of W. Indies (1827) ; Schomburgk, History of Barbados (1848) ; N. D. Davis, The Cavaliers and Roundheads of Barbados (1887) ; A. Mac millan, The Red Book of the West Indies (5922); vol. "British America" in Nations of Today, edited by John Buchan (1923).