When the Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos first found Barbados
in the 17th century, he named it Barbados, which in Portuguese means
the bearded ones.
The Amerindian Arawaks were believed to be living on the island
before the English first settled in 1627. Soon, thousands of African
and European slaves were shipped over to Barbados to maintain the
sugarcane industry which was flourishing.
Barbados was the only island in the Caribbean to remain under British
rule for more than three centuries without any interruptions. The
island finally achieved its independence within the Commonwealth
The British influence from its first settlement in 1627 has greatly
affected the Barbados' culture. However, the more flamboyant African
presence is strong as well.
African influence is readily seen in the art, craft and literary
works produced on the island, as well as the range of food and figures
of speech. The blend of these two cultures is evident in the island's
daily live, from the food to the music to the infrastructure of