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General History of Barbados page1

  Snippets of History

How did Barbados get it's name?

It seems more than likely that it was named by  Portuguese sailors, led by the explorer Pedro a Campos in 1536, who thought that  the hundreds of bearded fig trees that fringed the coast looked from a distance like giants with beards so they named the island Los Barbados meaning “bearded-ones”.

It's also probable that he introduced pigs to Barbados with the intention of using them as a food source on return voyages

Barbados Parliament

Over 350 years old,  surpassed only by Bermuda and Britain, these buildings contain the history of the Barbadian system of Government which is the third oldest political system within the Commonwealth. 

Completed in 1874, a masterpiece of Gothic Architecture, built of local coral limestone, strategically placed in the heart of our Capital, Bridgetown, these buildings house the House of Assembly and the Senate.



A tower was erected in the East Wing to accommodate a clock and a peal of bells.   The clock and bells were made by an English firm, B. R. and T. Moore.  They were installed by Messrs. Bayley, Findlay and Chaderton, a local firm.  In 1884, the clock tower was taken down from the East Wing where it had sunk in silted sand because the sub-soil beneath it was not firm enough to support the weight of the structure.
The cast iron railings which enclose the courtyard of the Parliament Buildings were made by Messrs. Andrew Handyside & Co. Ltd., a British firm.

During late 1885 into early 1886, the clock and bells were relocated to their present position in the West Wing.
The clock is designed to run for eight days.  The pendulum is 14 feet long and dials are made of copper and are 7 feet in diameter.   The hour bell weighs 20 hundred-weight, which is also the aggregate weight of the four bells which ring the quarter hours.  All the wheels are made of very hard gunmetal.  The striking and quarter main wheels are 16 inches in diameter and 1¼ inches thick.  The going main wheel is 15 inches in diameter and 1¼ inches thick.   The clock is constructed in such a manner as to permit it to keep going while it is being wound.
At the ‘top’ of Broad Street the first prominent sight is the statue of Lord Nelson, who stands at the bottom of Trafalgar Square. This statue was erected in 1813, nearly 30 years before London’s Lord Nelson column. Trafalgar Square was officially renamed National Heroes Square in April 1999, in honour of the national heroes of Barbados



Very soon after his victory and subsequent death at Cape Trafalgar in 1805, plans began to honour Nelson’s memory. Locals proudly believed they were the first to put up such a monument, however they were in fact the third, after Montreal and Birmingham. Sculpted from bronze by Sir Richard Westmacott, who is called, "the first castor of bronze in the Kingdom", it is considered an excellent likeness of the British Admiral.   Lord Nelson faces into Trafalgar Square. 

The fountain, known as the Fountain (or Dolphin) Garden, was erected in 1865 to commemorate the advent of piped water in Bridgetown. The garden itself and the enclosure came slightly later, the earliest work beginning in 1882.

Landship Girls in the Square
Said to have been founded around 1863 by Moses Wood, a Bajan sailor who had served in the British Navy, and wanted to recreate the camaraderie and discipline he had enjoyed.
It was a men only organisation up until the 1st World War when women were allowed to join. The men wear a naval type uniform and the women are dressed like nurses. Although their manoeuvres imitate the movement of a ship and its crew at sea, they do so through dance movements that are based on African dance traditions, the most popular of which is the Maypole, when the members perform an intricate dance plaiting long coloured ribbons around a pole, and then reversing the process.



Sir Frank Hutson Sugar Museum and Factory
Discover the history of the sweetest product in the world! An intrinsic part of Barbadian history, producing sweets, sugar, molasses and of course rum, the story of sugar will spring to life before your eyes. 
The museum houses a fine collection of original machinery, inside a converted sugar boiling house, and at the end of the tour, you can sample fine sugar delicacies.  
During the grinding season (February to May) you can also take a tour of the modern factory and see how sugar is processed today.
Open Mon to Sat, 9am to 5pm

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