Here is an arresting fact for all dieters reading this profile: the grapefruit originates from Barbados.
Lying northeast of Venezuela, Barbados is the easternmost of all the Caribbean islands, and as such is often subject to hurricanes. The west coast of the island, facing the Caribbean Sea, has white sandy beaches and warm, calm water. The east coast, facing the North Atlantic Ocean, is subject to turbulent water and weather.
The island was not inhabited when first colonized by the British beginning in 1627. Slaves were brought in from West Africa to work the sugar plantations—until slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834. Barbados attained complete independence from the UK in 1966, but still retains a very strong English “flavor” with cricket being its national sport and its countryside dotted with stone-built Anglican churches. As well, it retains much of its African heritage by way of its music and dance forms.
With a population of over 278,000, Barbados is one of the world’s most densely populated countries.
The people of Barbados today refer to themselves and their language as Bajan—a shortened form of ‘Barbadian’ pronounced locally as ‘bar-bay-junn.’ Depending on one’s ancestors, a person may be referred to as ‘Afro-bajan’ or ‘Anglo-bajan’, etc. The spoken dialect is unique, retaining some of the features of English cockney. While English is the official language, Bajan (Barbadian Creole English) is the common speech of the country.
Most of the population adhere to Protestant Christianity; the greatest portion are of the Anglican tradition. There is a small minority of Roman Catholics. Approximately 29% of the population do not claim to be Christians, or claim no faith in particular.