Political Status: Independent member of the Commonwealth since November 30, 1966.

Area: 166 sq. mi. (431 sq. km.).

Population: 250,010 (2000C); 275,000 (2008E). The 2000 figure does not include an adjustment for underenumeration.

Major Urban Center (2005E): BRIDGETOWN (urban area, 142,000).

Official Language: English.

Monetary Unit: Barbados Dollar (official rate December 1, 2009: 2.00 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Sir Clifford HUSBANDS; succeeded Dame Ruth Nita BARROW, who died December 19, 1995.

Prime Minister: David THOMPSON (Democratic Labour Party); sworn in January 16, 2008, following election of January 15, succeeding Owen Seymour ARTHUR (Barbados Labour Party).

The Country

Geographically part of the Lesser Antilles, Barbados also is the most easterly of the Caribbean nations. The island enjoys an equable climate and fertile soil, approximately 85 percent of the land being ...

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