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Ragged Point Lighthouse

Landmarks and Festivals of Barbados

Written by Julie Greiner

Barbados has the third oldest parliament in the world. The island of Barbados is the only vacation destination in this hemisphere with a scheduled Concord service. It was the first Caribbean Island to have piped water, 39% of all visitors return again and this tiny island was ranked third in quality of life among developing countries by the United Nations Development Index in 1996. There are approximately 254,000 people living in Barbados - approximately 80% of which are of African descent.

British sailors first landed on Barbados in the 1620's and Barbados was under British control until their independence in 1966. Barbados has transformed itself from a low-income economy dependent upon sugar production to a middle-income economy based upon tourism. From colorful houses dotting the sugar-cane fields to now Bajan villages. There is a 90% literacy rate and free education at all government secondary school levels. The atmosphere of the Bajan population is noted for their friendliness and relaxed lifestyle. The whole island of Barbados gives the visitor the impression of a happy life. Recreational and relaxing times are filled with children riding bicycles and Local Sponge Fishing the men gather outdoors for games of cards, checkers or just chatting. The local Rum Shops are places of congregating and socializing.

Festivals

Almost every date of remembered celebration is immortalized with a festival. The Holetown Festival is in February and it celebrates the European settlers arriving in 1627. The Youth Jazz Festival hopes to attract school bands from the UK, North America and Latin America along with the Caribbean. The Celtic Festival will feature a Rigby Tournament along with performances at local churches, hotels and halls. The International Festival and Fair's proceeds benefit the betterment of the life of children and young people in Barbados. The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts celebrates the creative arts of the island. Holders Season is one of the premiere international festivals in the Caribbean. This festival features opera, classical, jazz and Caribbean music along with celebrity golf and cricket.

Landmarks and Treasures

The Gun Hill Signal Station is located in the parish of St. George and provides a magnificent view of the entire island. There were a series of signal stations built in 1818. From these stations one could see ships approaching Barbados and signal each other in warning of the approaching ships. Gun Hill was restored by the Barbados National Trust and now houses a collection of military memorabilia. An officer stationed at Gun Hill in 1868 carved a magnificent lion out of a single piece of rock - which still Gun Hill Station stands guard to the station. There is a small souvenir shop and a restaurant on the grounds and the view is magnificent!


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