Barbadoes, Or Barbados, a British island of the West Indies, the most easterly of the Caribbean group, in lat. 13° 10' N., lon. 59° 32' W. It is of an oval form, 22 m. long and 14 broad; area, 166 sq. m.; pop. in 1861,152,727, being 920 to the square mile. The population of Barbadoes is denser than that of any other country in the world except Malta. In 1861 there were 16,594 white, 36,118 of mixed race, and 100,005 black. The island is divided by a deep valley into two parts. Near the centre of the northern and larger part is Mount Hillaby, 1,147 ft. high. From the W. coast the ground rises in successive terraces, broken by ravines to the central ridge, from which hills of a conical form radiate in a N. E. direction to the seashore. The N. W. and S. parts of the island consist of rocks of coralline limestone with beds of calcareous marl; the E. part is composed of strata of silicious sandstone, intermixed with ferruginous matter, clay, marl, minute fragments of pumice, strata of volcanic ashes, seams of bitumen, and springs of petroleum. There are several chalybeate springs, containing chiefly iron, carbonic acid, and fixed alkali, in different proportions. The island is encircled by coral reefs, which in some parts extend seaward for three miles, and are dangerous to navigation.
Carlisle bay, the port and harbor of Barbadoes, is a spacious open roadstead, capable of containing 500 vessels; but it is exposed to S. and S. W. winds. The climate, though warm, is salubrious. The island is greatly exposed to hurricanes. One of these, in October, 1780, destroyed almost every building, and 3,000 or 4,000 lives. During another in August, 1831, the loss of life is stated to have been from 2,000 to 5,000, and the destruction of property £1,602,800. The principal articles of export are sugar, cotton, aloes, and arrowroot; the imports are chiefly fish, beef, flour, cutlery, and cloths. In 1850 the imports were £734,358, exports £831,534; in 1860, imports £976,300, exports £1,345.-400; in 1870, imports £1,026,221, exports £935,425. There are only four towns, of which Bridgetown, the capital, has about 25,000 inhabitants. The government consists of a governor, council, and house of assembly. The governor, appointed by the crown, is also governor general (since 1871) of the neighboring islands of Grenada, St. Vincent, Tobago, and St. Lucia. The council consists of 12 members, appointed by the crown, who hold office during the royal pleasure.
The assembly consists of 24 delegates, elected annually by the people. - Barbadoes was probably discovered early in the 16th century by the Portuguese. When it was first visited by the English in 1605, it was uninhabited and covered with dense forests. The first English colony, consisting of 40 whites and 7 negroes, was founded in 1625. In 1665 the Dutch made a fruitless attempt to seize the island. In 1676, 1692, 1816, and 1825, plots were formed among the negroes to take possession. In 1788 the population was 16,127 whites, 2,229 free colored, and 64,405 negroes. There appears to have been no increase in the white population for 75 years, while the colored or mixed portion has multiplied 15 fold. The abolition of slavery in 1834 was effected without disorder.