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Fun Facts and things you might not know about Barbados


Barbados produced the worlds oldest rum under the Mount Gay label

The whistling frogs that you hear at night give birth to live young, not tadpoles as with normal frogs.

It was the only holiday destination in the world with a scheduled Concord service up to four flights a week in the winter season

 

 

The furry little creatures that run out in front of your hire car as you travel the country roads of Barbados are mongooses. 

Originally they were brought to the island from India to control the rat population in the cane fields. 

Being nocturnal, the rats never came into contact with the mongooses   instead they demolished the snake population who actually did eat the rats.

It is well known that the Mongoose in Barbados never crosses the road unless someone is watching.


Did you also know that BARBADOS.......
  • Has always flown only the British Flag, until achieving it's independence in 1966.
  • Has never been successfully invaded by a Foreign power.
  • When first settled in 1625, was found to be almost totally covered in dense jungle, with a very large population of wild pigs.
  • First and second Governors, Captain William Deane, and John Powell, respectively, were each arrested during their terms as Governor, and returned to England in irons.
  • Has experienced 12 Hurricanes and 15 Gales of sufficient force to cause extensive damage, recorded from Settlement in 1625 until now.
  • Has a 98% literacy rate, a sign of the island's sophistication.
   

The first settlement in Barbados, Holetown, was originally named Jamestown, after it's benefactor, King James I of England. It acquired the name "Holetown" due to the off loading and cleaning of ships in the very small channel located within the immediate vicinity of the town. These tasks left the area in an untidy and smelly condition....thus the Jamestown area became referred to as "the Hole", which evolved into "Holetown", as it known today. (This channel is no longer in use for such purposes).

Commander-in-Chief from 21 December 1629 to 16 July 1630, Sir William Tufton, was executed by firing squad in May 1632, for high treason.

One of the Judges in Sir William Tufton's case, Captain William Kitterich, was executed by firing squad for the murder of a Captain William Birch.

The Capital city, Bridgetown was originally named "Indian Bridge" for the rude bridge which had been constructed over the river (now known as the Careenage) by the Indians. It was later called the "town of St. Michael" in official documents, before finally being named Bridgetown when a new bridge was built in place of the Indian Bridge, sometime after 1654.

Most of what is now the Southern part of Bridgetown (the lower Bay Street environs) was once a huge swamp.

 

The House of Assembly, in 1666, by special Act, ordered that all buildings under construction of wood be halted, and that all buildings in Bridgetown, including homes, must be built of stone, due to the fire which totally destroyed Bridgetown in that year. The Capital has since been devastated by fire several times.

The first slaves in Barbados were white (called Indentured Servants); people who, for various reasons, had been deemed enemies of the Crown. This practice was so prevalent during the period 1640 to 1650, that a phrase for punishment was coined "to be Barbadoed".

It was written of the great Hurricane of 16 October 1780 "Whites and Blacks together, it is imagined (the deaths) to exceed some thousands, but fortunately few people of consequence were among the number".

In 1736 boasted 22 Forts and 26 Batteries, mounting a total of 463 Cannon, along it's 21 miles of Western shoreline.

During the terrible landslip of 11 October 1786, a home in the area of Walcotts Plantation, in that part of the Parish of St. Joseph called Crab-Hole, in which a Christening was to take place, sank entirely underground. "The next morning no vestige of it was to be seen. Some time afterwards, it was discovered through a fissure in the soil, which was enlarged, an opening made in the roof, and to the great astonishment of the persons who descended into it, the internal arrangements were found in the same order as before the accident took place; even the christening Cake was found unimpaired in appearance and taste."

During this same landslip of 1786, several buildings on the Walcott estate were swallowed up, including the windmill, "which was carried some hundred yards from it's original location and swallowed up, no part remaining visible but the extremity of the upper arm".

Foster Hall Plantation suffered precisely the same fate during the landslip of 1819, during which time the woods under Hackelton's Cliff slid down in it's entirety to cover the area where the Fosterhall buildings had previously stood.

The Lord Nelson Statue, erected on Bridgetown's Trafalgar Square on 22 Mar 1813, is older than the statue and square of the same name and fame in London. Trafalgar Square was renamed National Heroes Square in April 1999, in honour of the national heroes of Barbados.

 

During the period 1841 - 1845, Barbados was considered the healthiest place in the world to live, having 1 death per 66 people, compared to world averages of approximately 1 death per 35 people.

People, in times past, travelled from all over the world to Barbados for it's Healing Qualities. These were to be immersed totally, with the exception of the head, in the sands of the beaches of Cattlewash in St. Andrew. This treatment was believed to cure many ills. This practice lasted for some years before waning.

In 1846, Barbados had 491 active Sugar Plantations, with 506 windmills.

South Carolina, in the USA, was originally settled by Barbadians, and it's first Governor was a Barbadian

   

Bill Clinton is not the first American President to visit Barbados. President Reagan also visited here and George Washington stayed here for six weeks, visiting in 1751 to accompany his half-brother Lawrence who had made the six week voyage from the Potomac for health reasons. Nineteen at the time, it was Washington's only trip abroad. "Hired from Captain Crofton his house for fifteen pounds ($75.00) a month exclusive of liquors and washing which we are to provide", wrote Washington in his diary shortly after landing on the island, adding: "We stand a mile from town and the view is extensive by land and pleasant by sea as we command the view of Carlisle Bay and all the shipping and such manner that none can come or go without being open to our view".

The house still stands and can be found on the side of the historic Garrison Savannah which was formerly the parade ground for West Indies Regiments stationed here in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today it has been converted into offices but is easily identified by the ruin of the Coralstone sugar windmill in the parking lot.

Did Washington enjoy his visit to Barbados? His words say it all .... "In the cool of the evening we rode in the country and were perfectly enraptured with the beautiful scenery which every side presented our view. The fields of cane, corn, fruit trees in a delightful green.."

The American Declaration of Independence has a familiar ring to Barbadians as it is a direct crib of the Barbadian Declaration of Independence drafted 150 years earlier when the island tried to gain its own Independence (they had to wait until 1966 for this to happen). Much discussion took place between the founding fathers and Barbadians over this matter. How did they know about it? One reason might have been because one of the signatories was a Bajan, as was the printer.


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