The Commonwealth of Barbados
Barbadian Dollar (BDS$)
Barbados is located in the Lesser Antilles, and is the furthest east in the Caribbean island chain, positioned in the Atlantic Ocean. Barbados was briefly claimed by Portugal and Spain before being settled by the English in 1627, and becoming independent in 1966. Barbados has retained the British Monarch as Head of State, with a Governor General being appointed to represent the Monarch locally. Barbados is a member of the Commonwealth.
In 2016, the population of Barbados was estimated to be around 285,675. Bridgetown is the capital city of Barbados, with other large towns including Holetown, Speightstown and Oistins. The island is 166 square miles, and is divided into 11 administrative divisions, termed parishes. Persons from Barbados are officially known as ‘Barbadians’, and colloquially known as ‘Bajans’. The official language of Barbados is English, although an English-based creole language is commonly used, which is also referred to as ‘Bajan’.
Barbados operates as a Parliamentary Democracy and a Constitutional Monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State, and the Prime Minister is the Head of Government. The Queen is represented locally by a Governor General. The Constitution is the supreme law of Barbados, and establishes the executive, legislature and judiciary. Parliament is comprised of two chambers, the House of Assembly and the Senate. Members of the House of Assembly are elected, whilst members of the Senate are appointed. Barbados is a member of CARICOM, and ceased using the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in favour of the Caribbean Court of Justice as the highest court of appeal in 2005. The Currency of Barbados is the Barbadian dollar (BDS$), and it is pegged with the US dollar at $1 US - $2 BDS.