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A Brief History of Barbados

The first indigenous people on the island were the Amerindians (Arawaks) from Venezuela who were later conquered by the more warlike Caribs.

These indigenous tribes, however, proved no match for the colonising march of Europeans, firstly the Portuguese, followed by the Spanish and then the English in the 17th century.

Tobacco, cotton and later sugar were the mainstays of the economy and the cultivation of the latter, led to the introduction of slave labour from Africa in the 1640s.

Slavery was abolished in 1834 but Barbados remained an English colony until it gained full independence in 1966. Nevertheless, it still maintains ties with the UK and is a member of the Commonwealth.

Today, Barbados' fifth Prime Minister is The Rt. Hon. Owen Seymour Arthur, but believe it or not, its Chief of State is none other than Elizabeth R, a.k.a. HM Queen Elizabeth II.

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