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Barbados is a small island nation with an area of
431 km². The island is located in the Atlantic Ocean
as the easternmost of the Lesser Antilles and represents
an over-sea summit of the Barbados ridge, which extends
from the South American mainland north through Trinidad
to Barbados. The island consists of limestone and
sandstone banks on which a layer of coral lime is up to
90 m thick.
From the west, the country gradually rises to a
maximum of 337 m (Mount Hillaby) in the central
highlands. In the north east the country drops steeply
(Hackleton's Cliff, 300 m) to the hilly country Scotland
District. The south east coast of the country is flat,
especially in the west and south there are wide, white
sandy beaches with offshore coral reefs. The capital of
Barbados, Bridgetown, is on the west coast of the
Barbados has an alternating humid tropical climate
with relatively low temperature fluctuations throughout
the year (January 24 ˇăC, July 27 ˇăC average temperature
in Bridgetown). The temperatures rarely drop below 18
ˇăC, the maximum values are just over 30 ˇăC. In the
rainy season from July to November, a large part of the
abundant precipitation falls, the highest annual amounts
are measured in the central highlands (approx. 2,200
mm), while in Bridgetown on the west coast it is approx.
1,200 to 1,300 mm. The rainwater seeps away quickly in
the permeable soil, so that there are no constantly
flowing waters. Cyclones can occur in the summer and
Flora and fauna
Extensive sugar cane plantations and cultivated land
have long displaced the original rainforest, which once
covered almost the entire island. In Turner's Hall Wood
there is a remaining stock of the tropical forest on an
area of approx. 18 ha.
The animal world has only a few species. There are
various species of monkeys, mongooses (mongoose),
rabbits and lizards. In April and May, leatherback
turtles lay their eggs on the beaches. In addition to
hummingbirds, there are numerous water birds such as
seagulls and herons. The areas around the island include
dolphins, barracudas, parrotfish and flying fish.
About 290,000 people live in Barbados, over 100,000
of them in the Bridgetown area. The country is very
densely populated with about 650 people per square
kilometer. The majority of the population of Barbados
(around 80%) are black, the descendants of the slaves
imported from Africa from the 17th century. Just under
4% are whites, the rest are mulattos and Asian
immigrants. The official language is English, the
colloquial language is Bajan, a regional dialect.
According to COUNTRYAAH,
the majority of the population of Barbados are
Christians, here the Anglicans are the largest religious
community (approx. 30% of the total population). Further
Protestant groups as well as Catholics, Jews and
followers of Islam follow.
The standard of living in Barbados is relatively high
compared to other Caribbean countries, and the social
and health services are well developed. The average life
expectancy is 73 years. Literacy is almost complete. A
large income gap and the lack of jobs mean that many
young men in particular migrate abroad, so that despite
a birth surplus, the population has fallen in recent
The island state of Barbados is a parliamentary
monarchy in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The
constitution dates from 1966. The head of state is the
British monarch Elizabeth II (since 1952), who is
represented on the island by a governor general (Elliot
Belgrave, since June 2012). The country's head of
government is the prime minister, representing the
strongest party (Freundel Stuart, DLP, since November
2008), upon whose recommendations the governor general
appoints the cabinet.
The legislature lies with the Parliament, which
consists of two chambers: the Senate with 21 members
appointed by the Governor General for five years and the
Chamber of Deputies, whose 30 members are directly
elected by the people for five years. Based on the
British model, there are two relevant political parties
in Barbados: the "Barbados Labor Party" (BLP) and the
"Democratic Labor Party" (DLP). The case law is also
based on the British model.
Barbados is divided into eleven boroughs.
With a median per capita income of around $ 15,000,
Barbados is relatively wealthy compared to other
Caribbean countries, with a large income gap. The
Barbados economy has traditionally focused on growing,
processing and trading sugar cane. Tourism and financial
services have been the most important economic factors
since the late 1960s. Around 40% of the workforce is
employed in tourism. Financial services generate around
half of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), and
the service sector as a whole (including tourism and
retail) generates four fifths of GDP.
The cultivation of sugar cane today takes up around
two thirds of the agricultural area. For their own
needs, sweet potatoes, tubers and legumes, corn, fruits
and vegetables are grown. The government is promoting
agricultural and fisheries production diversification.
The industry is focused on processing sugar cane into
sugar, rum, molasses and syrup. Companies in the
chemical industry, textile manufacturing, electronics
and mechanical engineering are also important. The
country's energy requirements are partly met from
existing crude oil and natural gas reserves.
The most important trading partners for exports
(chemicals, rum, sugar) are the USA, Great Britain and
Trinidad and Tobago. Imports (especially consumer goods,
machinery, food and fuel) are mainly sourced from the
Barbados has a well-developed road network (around
1,700 km, mostly paved) and an international airport.
The currency is the Barbados dollar.