• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Barbados is a 166-square-mile North Atlantic island off the South American coast, commonly included with the Caribbean islands to the west. Barbados became the first major sugar colony in the Americas.

The earliest indigenous inhabitants arrived after the fourth century ce from South America, with two subsequent waves of Amerindians arriving in the ninth (the Arawak) and mid-13th centuries (the Kalinago, called “Caribs” by the Spanish). As historian Hilary Beckles notes, the Kalinago likely came to conquer because the Arawak located their villages on defensible cliff tops; the openness of the terrain landward meant that attackers lost the potential for surprise while the cliffs and breakers below prevented approach from the sea.

The Spanish and the Portuguese visited Barbados early in the 16th century, but neither ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles