Best Bitcoin Card for Barbados
Barbados is a small island state with an area of 431 km². The island lies in the Atlantic Ocean as the easternmost of the Lesser Antilles and represents an over-sea summit of the Barbados Ridge, which stretches from the South American mainland to the north via Trinidad to Barbados. The island consists of limestone and sandstone banks on which lies a coral limestone layer up to 90 m thick.
From the west, the land gradually rises up to a maximum height of 337 m (Mount Hillaby) in the central highlands. In the northeast, the land drops steeply (Hackleton’s Cliff, 300 m) to the hilly Scotland District. The southeast coast of the country is flat, especially in the west and south there are wide, white sandy beaches with offshore coral reefs. The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, is located on the west coast of the island.
Barbados has an alternating tropical climate with relatively low temperature fluctuations throughout the year (January 24 °C, July 27 °C average temperature in Bridgetown). Temperatures rarely drop below 18°C, with peaks just over 30°C. In the rainy season from July to November a large part of the abundant precipitation falls, the highest annual quantities are measured in the central highlands (approx. 2,200 mm), while in Bridgetown on the west coast it is approx. 1,200 to 1,300 mm. The rainwater seeps away quickly into the permeable soil, so that there are no constantly flowing waters. Cyclones can occur in the summer and autumn months.
Flora and Fauna
Extensive sugar cane plantations and cultivated land have long replaced the original rainforest that once covered almost the entire island. In the Turner’s Hall Wood there is a remainder of the tropical forest on an area of approx. 18 ha.
The animal world has only a few species. There are different kinds of monkeys, mongooses, hares and lizards. In the months of April and May, leatherback turtles lay their eggs on the beaches. Besides hummingbirds there are numerous water birds such as seagulls and herons. In the areas around the island there are dolphins, barracudas, parrotfish and flying fish.
About 290 000 people live in Barbados, over 100 000 of them in the Bridgetown area. The country is very densely populated with about 650 people per square kilometre. The majority of the population of Barbados (about 80%) are black, the descendants of slaves imported from Africa from the 17th century onwards. Almost 4 % are white, the rest are mulattos and Asian immigrants. The official language is English, colloquial language is Bajan, a regional dialect.
The majority of the population of Barbados are Christians, here the Anglicans are the largest faith community (approx. 30 % of the total population). Other Protestant groups follow as well as Catholics, Jews and followers of Islam.
The standard of living in Barbados is relatively high compared to other Caribbean states, and the social and health services are well developed. The average life expectancy is 73 years. Literacy is almost complete. A large income gap and a lack of jobs mean that many young men in particular are migrating abroad, so that despite a birth surplus the population has fallen in recent years.
The island state of Barbados is a parliamentary monarchy in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The constitution dates back to 1966 and is headed by the British monarch Elizabeth II (since 1952), who is represented on the island by a governor general (Elliot Belgrave, since June 2012). The country’s head of government is the Prime Minister, representing the strongest party (Freundel Stuart, DLP, since November 2008), on whose recommendations the Governor General appoints the cabinet.
The legislative power lies with the Parliament, which consists of two chambers: the Senate with 21 members appointed by the Governor General for five years and the Chamber of Deputies, whose 30 members are directly elected by the people for five years. Following the British model, Barbados has two relevant political parties: the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). The case law is also based on the British model. Barbados is divided into eleven districts.
With an average per capita income of around US$15,000, Barbados is relatively wealthy compared to other Caribbean countries, with a large income gap. The economy of Barbados has traditionally focused on the cultivation, processing and trade of sugar cane. Since the late 1960s, tourism and financial services have been the most important economic factors. About 40% of the working population is employed in tourism. Financial services account for about half of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the services sector as a whole (including tourism and retail trade) accounts for four-fifths of GDP.
Today, sugar cane cultivation accounts for about two thirds of agricultural land. For own consumption, sweet potatoes, tubers and pulses, maize, fruit and vegetables are grown. The government is promoting a diversification of production in agriculture and fisheries.
The industry is focused on processing sugar cane into sugar, rum, molasses and syrup. The chemical industry, textile production, electronics and mechanical engineering are also important. The country’s energy needs are partly covered by existing crude oil and natural gas deposits.
The most important trading partners for exports (chemicals, rum, sugar) are the USA, Great Britain as well as Trinidad and Tobago. Imports (mainly consumer goods, machinery, food and fuels) are predominantly sourced from the same countries. Barbados has a well-developed road network (around 1,700 km, mostly asphalted) and an international airport.