Top 10 Unbelievable Facts You May Not Know About Rihanna’s Barbados – Lesser Antilles 2, Caribbean Sea

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Port of Bridgetown, Barbados

Officially known as Drop Water Harbour, Port of Bridgetown is a seaport on the west coast of Barbados and is situated at the north-western end of Carlisle Bay. It handles all of the international bulk ship-trade and commerce of the country. In addition to international shipping industry, Bridgetown Port (or Deep Water Harbour) is also the port of entry for southern-Caribbean cruise ships.

An Overview on Barbados:

The first recorded inhabitants of Barbados were the Arawak Amerindians before Portuguese and Spanish explorers came in the late 15th century. These first set of Europeans did not establish settlements though, however they used the island as a point for food and water supply as they sail further to other destinations in the Caribbeans. In 1625, English immigrants (British prisoners) arrived in Barbados of which the island was uninhabited during that time and they established a settlement at Holetown.

By 1640 sugarcane farming industry was introduced in the island which made Barbados as one of the biggest sugarcane producers in the world, the whole area was divided into large sugarcane plantation estates. Since these plantations required a great deal of hard work, West African slaves were brought in between the period from 1661-1688 as most of the white “slaves” (the prisoners) left Barbados, leaving the island under the control of a very few wealthy European landowners and suppressed black servants. Towards the end of the 18th century, the black slaves outnumbered their white British masters and tensions arose as anti-slavery campaigners fought to abolish this practice.

The British government past the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833 and slaves across the whole empire were granted emancipation and on August 01, 1838 it was finally agreed that all slaves were to be set free. Barbados would become a British colony for the next 300 years and was granted full independence from the United Kingdom on November 30, 1966 but the island maintained its ties with the Crown by becoming a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Barbadian parliament has remained a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state and represented in Barbados by a governor-general and a Prime Minister, keeping the link between the island and of that in the UK active up to the present.

Map showing the location of Barbados at the southeast Caribbean Sea.

An island located in the southeast of the Caribbean Sea, we docked aboard M/T Knock Dun at the Port of Bridgetown here in Barbados for oil discharging on February 1997. This island is famous for a lot of things but if you ask from any resident here, he will likely tell you that his country is well known for Rihanna and its yearly carnival, Crop Over (marks the end of sugarcane harvest). However, there are more of Barbados than meets every sailor’s eye for that matter like this island was first known as “Los Barbados” (bearded one) by the Portuguese because of the presence of bearded fig trees in the area, or the islanders are passionate about cricket sports and here are other top 10 unbelievable facts about Barbados.

From Indian Bridge to Bridgetown

The historic Barbados Garrison in Bridgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and where the 19-year-old George Washington has lived with his sick step-brother in 1751.

Bridgetown, the capital city was once called “Indian Bridge” due to the rough bridge built by the Indians over Careenage River. It was changed into “Bridgetown” after a new one was constructed in 1654 to replace the old Indian bridge, a top unbelievable fact about Barbados.

“To be Barbadoed” Is Not Nice

The phrase “to be Barbadoed” is not nice to hear because it’s a term for punishment. The first slaves were actually white who are called “indentured servants” and were considered enemies (prisoners) of the British Crown, a top unbelievable fact about Barbados. This practice was frequent between the periods of 1640s-’50s and that’s where the term “to be Barbadoed” was coined.

When Holetown Was First Known As Jamestown

Holetown, the first settlement was originally known as Jamestown in honor of King James I of England. But the area was the off-loading and cleaning site of ships at a small channel nearby which left the town with a stinky air and therefore alluded to as “the hole” which later evolved into Holetown. A top unbelievable fact about Barbados, however the channel is no longer used for such purposes at modern times and Holetown is now the hub of luxury beach front properties.

The Healing Sands of Cattlewash

Landscape of Cattlewash with a rock formation at the background called the “sleeping giant”.

Sometime in the past, people from all over the world travel to Barbados to immersed their bodies in the sands of Cattlewash in the northern district of St. Andrew which were believed to have healing powers. A top unbelievable fact about Barbados, this treatment was assumed to cure many ailments but this tradition only lasted for some years until it just stopped. And Cattlewash derived its name from the time when local farmers brought their cattle to be washed in the sea to get rid of parasites.


Barbados’ Crop Over festival.

To put simply, Barbadians call themselves as “Bajans”, a top unbelievable fact about Barbados. They speak Bajan Creole, an English-based Creole language with some touches of African influence and Bajans friendliness is the best thing about this beautiful island. “Wa gine on?” (What’s going on? a general question after greeting someone in Barbados.)

Mount Gay, “The Rum That Invented Rum”

Rum plays a huge part in Bajan culture and this former British colony is the birthplace of the said drink, it is also the home of the oldest rum brand in the world, the Mount Gay, a top unbelievable fact about Barbados. Founded in 1703 by an English businessman, Sir John Gay, a visit to its distillery is a top tourist destination, sharing or offering some of the drink is seen as an act of friendship in this island.

Concorde’s “Resting Place”

Remember when the supersonic jet Concorde used to fly elite passengers for twice the speed of sound over the Atlantic in the ’80s? Well, its 18 surviving planes can still be found at Gantley Adams International Airport, which was its only holiday destination back then, a top unbelievable fact about Barbados. Concorde stopped flying to Barbados in 2003 but in its heyday it made 7000 flights to this island and carried famous celebrities like Sir Elton John, Pierce Brosnan, Mick Jagger and Prince Albert of Monaco, among others.

Cricket Rules In Barbados

The very British sport, cricket is huge in this island, in fact Bajans are so obsessed with it, a top unbelievable fact about Barbados. Albeit it is such a tiny island, it has produced some of the world’s legends in this kind of pastime.

Land of the Flying Fish

Barbados“cou cou with lying fish,” national dish of the island.

It is the home of the flying fish, a top unbelievable fact about Barbados and there’s plenty of this type of fish in the country which earned its title as the “land of the flying fish.” But pollution brought by ships anchoring at the island has caused these fishes to move out, yet Barbados still consider “cou cou (cornmeal with okra) with flying fish” as its national dish and is served to tourists.

Barbados’ “Diamonds”

Riri as she is fondly called, often goes back to Barbados for its Crop Over carnival celebrations.

R & B sensation Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988 at St. Michael Parish, southwest of the island, a top unbelievable fact about Barbados. She grew up in Bridgetown and went to the US when she was 16 years old. She is a cultural ambassador of her country and there’s even a street named in her honor, the Rihanna Drive, formerly Westbury New Road where she had lived.

From the world’s oldest rhum, to the home of mega-star Rihanna.…the island of Barbados offers so much more. It is a go-destination for many travelers, returning every year for its beauty and friendly atmosphere. This is the location you want to imagine when you close your eyes and want to see in a happy place – powdery sands, azure waters and “los barbados” fig trees.

Reference: Wikipedia