The secret on how to properly live life can be found in the calypso rhythm and island time of Barbados. A place that mixes an air of British civility with equal parts quintessential Bajan style. Brightly painted rum shops neighbor lavish real estate developments. In the interior parishes, traditional chattel houses surround historic sugar plantations. A beach fish fry next door to a toney restaurant. Why not? To each their own – just as long as you’re not in a hurry. With this type of setting, there’s never really a reason. Rolling limestone hills, lush scenery and white-sandy beaches border the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea on the west, and the turbulent Atlantic Ocean on the east.
As for the secret – the 430 square kilometer life-lesson that is Barbados. It’s simple: avoid the rush. Enjoy the moment. And have a rum punch or two.
Though given the name “Los Barbados” by Portuguese sailors in the 1500’s, Europeans were not the first to inhabit this easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles. This distinction goes to the Amerindians who arrived from Venezuela, followed by the Arawak Indians, who is turn were dismissed by the Carib Indians in the 13th century. But when the first English settlers arrived in 1627, they found an island that was largely uninhabited, and set about establishing a colony that would remain a part of the British Empire for 334 years.
Relatively flat, with a favorable climate, Barbados offered ideal conditions in which to grow sugar cane. This gave rise to the establishment of sugar plantations, and with them, indentured servitude and slave labor. The success of the sugar, rum and molasses trade brought great wealth to the island in addition to thousands more African slaves. But in 1834, with abolitionist sentiments growing, Barbados became the first country in the world to abolish the slave trade. Finally, in 1966, Barbados won independence from the United Kingdom. And has since become the envy of the entire region.
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