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Barbados History: Top Attractions to Discover the Past of the World's Newest Republic

Although Barbados is the newest Republic in the world, the History of Barbados is rich and dates back thousands of years. Originally inhabited by the native Caribbean Arawak people, the territory was colonized by the English in the 17th century, after it was first occupied by these people. At the time of the colonial era, the island of Barbados was marked by the presence of African slavery as well as the production of sugar, a crop that at the time made the country one of the largest exporters of the product in the world.

It is evident in Barbadian culture that its roots are deeply rooted in the country’s past, revealing themselves as a result of African and English influences, yet even the country’s official language, English with an accent and pidgin expressions, is a result of the influence of the past.

Having gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, and breaking with the English monarchy just last year, the country has left behind a multitude of memories and legacies that tell its story in different parts of the island. In order to enrich your trip with the history of Barbados, here are a few of the best attractions.

St. John Parish Church St. John

The Parish Church is a historic site that is full of charm and character. There are panoramic views of the east coast of Barbados from its location, which is known as Church Lookout. It is estimated that the church was first built in 1645, making it the oldest church in St. John’s and one of the oldest in Barbados, and making it one of the oldest churches in the world. There are beautiful stained-glass windows, carvings, and a sundial in the church we see today that were added forty years later when it was completed in 1836.

The church’s denomination is Anglican, and this beautiful Gothic-inspired building has become one of the most popular attractions both for locals and tourists visiting the island as a result. It is no secret that St. John Parish Church holds intriguing finds, so the next time you happen to be in beautiful St. John Parish, make sure you stop by this church and take a look at its rich history and stunning views of the east coast of the island.

George Washington’s

It is commonly known as Bush Hill House and it is situated within the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Barbados in the capital city of St. Michael. It was in the year 1751 that George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, visited the residence. It has been turned into a museum that shows details about the structure of the property and the assets that were present during Washington’s time. Furthermore, there is also a cafeteria on the property, where you can enjoy a meal after your tour is over.

As a result of sheer chance, tunnels were found and revealed to have been built between the 1820s and 1830s in June 2011. There are at least nine tunnels in the Savannah area that are connected to others only by the George Washington Home and Museum, which is the only place where the tunnels can be accessed. There was a story that the tunnels were built to provide drainage for the area in which they were located. The history of the area indicates that the purpose of these tunnels may have been to enable military troops to escape if the area was invaded by enemies.

Abbey of St. Nicolás

In addition to being a parish, the Abbey of St. Nicholas is also a farm, a museum, and a rum distillery in addition to being a parish. As one of the most important historical sites in Barbados with a history that spans over 350 years and has undergone countless owners over the centuries, this building was built in 1658 on Benjamin Berringer’s St. Michael. There are over 400 acres of sugar cane fields, tropical ravines, mahogany forests, and formal gardens on this site – an excellent place to learn about spices and admire Barbadian history while also admiring the beauty of the place.

Gun Hill Signal Station

Located on a hillside in St. George Parish, Barbados. This building has a long history and it is one of six signal stations that were erected in Barbados following the slave rebellion of 1816. The stations have been positioned so that they are able to offer the best views of the entire island from every angle. There is a collection of military memorabilia housed in this museum, which is known for its intrusion warning alarms.

Tyrol Cot Heritage Village

A late 19th century building located on Green Hill in St. Michael, Barbados, the home of the first Prime Minister of Barbados, Sir Grantley Adams, was built at the end of the 19th century. The four-acre property has been transformed into a charming Barbadian Village setting that reflects the spirit of the island today. It has been maintained by the Barbados National Trust in certain areas, demonstrating the era of Sir Grantley Adams and Tom Adams. The setting for this event is a Bajan rum shop that provides a casual setting for local bites and rum punch in a casual setting.

The Screw

The Dock, as it is popularly known, is located in Bridgetown, St. Michael and is the only dry dock in the world that has been constructed over the period of four years, between 1889 and 1893.

Today you are able to take a walk through the history of Barbados at the Maritime Historical Center, where there are artifacts, exhibits and photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries on display as well as enjoying a refreshing drink in the Blackwood’s Tavern bar, local dishes such as fish empanadas and the traditional Bajan flying fish (typically fried fish of the local cuisine), and even refreshing salads that accompany the local food.

As a result, these historic sites are great places for visitors to visit and discover more about the island’s rich heritage, revealing much about Barbados’ authentic past. It is the culture, people, traditions and past events of Barbados that have made it such a wonderful place to spend time with your family and friends.


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Hi my name’s Jessica Anderson, blogger, gardener, mom and wife. Discover my world and the love and passion I have for life. Find out what I have discovered and maybe it might just help enrich your life somehow.

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