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Introduction - Barbados:
BackgroundThe 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.
Location - Barbados:
LocationCaribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates13 10 N, 59 32 W
Map referencesCentral America and the Caribbean
Areatotal: 431 sq km
land: 431 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparative2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries0 km
Coastline97 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; rainy season (June to October)
Terrainrelatively flat; rises gently to central highland region
Elevation extremeslowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, fish, natural gas
Land usearable land: 37.21%
permanent crops: 2.33%
other: 60.46% (2005)
Irrigated land50 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsinfrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides
Environment current issuespollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers
Environment international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography noteeasternmost Caribbean island
People - Barbados:
Population280,946 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 19.7% (male 27,659/female 27,573)
15-64 years: 71.4% (male 98,633/female 102,020)
65 years and over: 8.9% (male 9,662/female 15,399) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 35 years
male: 33.8 years
female: 36 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate0.369% (2007 est.)
Birth rate12.61 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate8.61 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate-0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.003 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.967 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.627 male(s)/female
total population: 0.938 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 11.55 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.88 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 73 years
male: 71.02 years
female: 75.01 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate1.65 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate1.5%; (2003 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids2,500 (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deathsless than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)
adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)
Ethnic groupsblack 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%
ReligionsProtestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12%
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.7% (2002 est.)
Government - Barbados:
Country nameconventional long form: none
conventional short form: Barbados
Government typeparliamentary democracy
Capitalname: Bridgetown
geographic coordinates: 13 06 N, 59 37 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions11 parishes and 1 city*; Bridgetown*, Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas
Independence30 November 1966 (from UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 30 November (1966)
Constitution30 November 1966
Legal systemEnglish common law; no judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Clifford Straughn HUSBANDS (since 1 June 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Owen Seymour ARTHUR (since 7 September 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Mia MOTTLEY (since 26 May 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Legislative branchbicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21 seats; members appointed by the governor general) and the House of Assembly (30 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held 21 May 2003 (next to be held by May 2008)
election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - BLP 23, DLP 7
Judicial branchSupreme Court of Judicature (judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services); Caribbean Court of Justice is the highest court of appeal
Political parties and leadersBarbados Labor Party or BLP [Owen ARTHUR]; Democratic Labor Party or DLP [David THOMPSON]; Peoples Empowerment Party or PEP [David COMISSIONG]
Political pressure groups and leadersBarbados Secondary Teachers Union or BSTU [Patrick FROST]; Barbados Union of Teachers or BUT [Herbert GITTENS]; Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados or CTUSAB, which includes the BWU, NUPW, BUT, and BSTU [Leroy TROTMAN]; Barbados Workers Union or BWU [Leroy TROTMAN]; Clement Payne Labor Union [David COMISSIONG]; National Union of Public Workers [Joseph GODDARD]
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Michael Ian KING
chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200
FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
consulate(s): Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Mary M. OURISMAN
embassy: U.S. Embassy, Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael
mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown; CMR 1014, APO AA 34055
telephone: [1] (246) 436-4950
FAX: [1] (246) 429-5246, 429-3379
Flag descriptionthree equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold, and blue with the head of a black trident centered on the gold band; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident)
Economy - Barbados:
Economy overviewHistorically, the Barbadian economy had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but production in recent years has diversified into light industry and tourism. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, to encourage direct foreign investment, and to privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. The economy contracted in 2002-03 mainly due to a decline in tourism. Growth was positive in 2005-06, as economic conditions in the US and Europe moderately improved.
Gdp purchasing power parity $5.146 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $3.142 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate3.5% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $18,400 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 6%
industry: 16%
services: 78% (2000 est.)
Labor force128,500 (2001 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 10%
industry: 15%
services: 75% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate10.7% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate consumer prices -0.5% (2003 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $847 million (including grants)
expenditures: $886 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Agriculture productssugarcane, vegetables, cotton
Industriestourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export
Industrial production growth rate-3.2% (2000 est.)
Electricity production896 million kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption833.3 million kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production1,000 bbl/day (2004)
Oil consumption11,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exportsNA bbl/day
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves2.509 million bbl (1 January 2005)
Natural gas production29.17 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption29.17 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas exports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas imports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves141.6 million cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Exports$209 million (2004 est.)
Exports commoditiessugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components
Exports partnersTrinidad and Tobago 16.3%, UK 11.1%, US 10.9%, Saint Lucia 9.2%, Jamaica 8.7%, Grenada 5.1%, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 5%, Saint Kitts & Nevis 4.3%, Canada 4% (2006)
Imports$1.476 billion (2004 est.)
Imports commoditiesconsumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
Imports partnersUS 29.5%, Trinidad and Tobago 26.4%, UK 5.8%, China 5% (2006)
Debt external$668 million (2003)
Economic aid recipient$9.1 million (1995)
Currency code Barbadian dollar (BBD)
Exchange ratesBarbadian dollars per US dollar - 2 (2006), 2 (2005), 2 (2004), 2 (2003), 2 (2002)
Communications - Barbados:
Fiscal year1 April - 31 March
Telephones main lines in use134,900 (2005)
Telephones mobile cellular206,200 (2005)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: NA
domestic: island-wide automatic telephone system
international: country code - 1-246; satellite earth stations - 1 (Intelsat -Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia
Radio broadcast stationsAM 2, FM 6, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations1 (plus 2 cable channels) (2004)
Internet country
Internet hosts282 (2006)
Internet users160,000 (2005)
Transportation - Barbados:
Airports1 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 1,600 km
paved: 1,600 km (2004)
Merchant marinetotal: 58 ships (1000 GRT or over) 433,390 GRT/664,998 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 11, cargo 32, chemical tanker 7, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 2, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 57 (Bahamas, The 1, Canada 8, Greece 11, Lebanon 1, Monaco 1, Norway 29, UAE 1, UK 5)
registered in other countries: 1 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2006)
Ports and terminalsBridgetown
Military - Barbados:
Military branchesRoyal Barbados Defense Force: Troops Command, Barbados Coast Guard (2007)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service; volunteers at earlier age with parental consent; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 71,524
females age 18-49: 72,302 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 54,510
females age 18-49: 54,889 (2005 est.)
Military notethe Royal Barbados Defense Force includes a land-based Troop Command and a small Coast Guard; the primary role of the land element is to defend the island against external aggression; the Command consists of a single, part-time battalion with a small regular cadre that is deployed throughout the island; it increasingly supports the police in patrolling the coastline to prevent smuggling and other illicit activities (2005)
Military expenditures percent of gdp0.5% (2006 est.)
Disputes internationalin April 2006, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a decision that delimited a maritime boundary with Trinidad and Tobago and compelled Barbados to enter a fishing agreement limiting Barbadian fishermens catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobagos exclusive economic zone; in 2005, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago agreed to compulsory international arbitration under UNCLOS challenging whether the northern limit of Trinidad and Tobagos and Venezuelas maritime boundary extends into Barbadian waters; joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuelas claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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