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History & Culture

Drawing on its English, African and West Indian roots, Barbados has established its own distinctive identity, evidenced in its customs, traditions and values, and passionately expressed through the rich history, exceptional cuisine and artistic talents of its people.

Though given the name “Los Barbados” by Portuguese sailors in the 1500’s, Europeans were not the first to inhabit this easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles. This distinction goes to the Amerindians who arrived from Venezuela, followed by the Arawak Indians, who in turn were dismissed by the Carib Indians in the 13th century. But when the first English settlers arrived in 1627, they found an island that was largely uninhabited, and set about establishing a colony that would remain a part of the British Empire for 334 years.