Barbados: Background & Geography

Introduction Barbados
The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.
Geography Barbados
Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates:
13 10 N, 59 32 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 431 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 431 sq km
Area - comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
97 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical; rainy season (June to October)
relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, fish, natural gas
Land use:
arable land: 37.21%
permanent crops: 2.33%
other: 60.46% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
10 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides
Environment - current issues:
pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
easternmost Caribbean island

See Also: