Barbados

Barbados was never properly colonized but there were potentially African slave laborers since the 16th or 17th century.

Barbados on World Map

 

  • Geography and Climate

 

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Map of Barbados

 

 

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Beach Near Bridgeport

 

Barbados is the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles. It is flat in comparison to its island neighbours to the west, the Windward Islands. The island rises gently to the central highland region, with the highpoint of the nation being Mount Hillaby, in the geological Scotland District, 340 metres (1,120 ft) above sea level. The island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the otherWest Indies Islands.

In the parish of Saint Michael lies Barbados’ capital and main city, Bridgetown. Other major towns scattered across the island include Holetown, in the parish of Saint James; Oistins, in the parish ofChrist Church; and Speightstown, in the parish of Saint Peter.

 

  • Geology

Barbados lies on the boundary of the South American and the Caribbean Plates.[35] The shift of the South American plate beneath the Caribbean plate scrapes sediment from the South American plate and deposits it above the subduction zone forming an accretionary prism. The rate of this depositing of material allows Barbados to rise at a rate of about 25 millimetres (0.98 in) per 1,000 years.[36] This subduction means geologically the island is composed of coral roughly (90 m or 300 ft thick), where reefs formed above the sediment. The land slopes in a series of “terraces” in the west and goes into an incline in the east. A large proportion of the island is circled by coral reefs.

The erosion of limestone rock in the North East of the island, in the Scotland District, has resulted in the formation of various caves and gullys, some of which have become popular tourist attractions such as Harrison’s Cave and Welchman Hall Gully. On the Atlantic East coast of the island coastal landforms, including stacks, have been created due to the limestone composition of the area.

 

  • Climate

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Bathsheba on east coast of the island.

 

The country generally experiences two seasons, one of which includes noticeably higher rainfall. Known as the “wet season“, this period runs from June to November. By contrast, the “dry season” runs from December to May. The annual precipitation ranges between 40 inches (1,000 mm) and 90 inches (2,300 mm). From December to May the average temperatures range from 21 to 31 °C (70 to 88 °F), while between June and November, they range from 23 to 31 °C (73 to 88 °F).[37]

On the Köppen climate classification scale, much of Barbados is regarded as a Tropical monsoon climate (Am). However, gentle breezes of 12–16 kilometres per hour (8–10 mph) abound throughout the year and give Barbados a civilized climate which is moderately tropical.

Infrequent natural hazards include earthquakes, landslips, and hurricanes. Barbados is often spared the worst effects of the region’stropical storms and hurricanes during the rainy season. The far eastern location in the Atlantic Ocean puts the country just outside the principal hurricane strike zone. On average, a major hurricane strikes about once every 26 years. The last significant hit from a hurricane to cause severe damage to Barbados was Hurricane Janet in 1955, and more recently in 2010 the island was struck by Hurricane Tomas, but this caused only minor damage across the country.[38]

 

  • Environmental Issues

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Barbados seen from the International Space Station

 

The island is susceptible to environmental pressures. As one of the world’s most densely populated isles, the government worked during the 1990s[39] to aggressively integrate the growing south coast of the island into the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment Plant to reduce contamination of offshore coral reefs.[40][41] As of the 2000s, a second treatment plant has been proposed along the islands’ west coast. With such a dense populace, Barbados has placed large efforts on protecting its underground aquifers. As a coral-limestone island, Barbados is highly permeable to seepage of surface water into the earth. As such, a major emphasis by the government has been placed on protecting the catchment areas (in specific surface areas known as buffer zones) that lead directly into the huge network of underground aquifers and streams.[42] On occasion illegal squatters have breached these areas, and the government has removed squatters to preserve the cleanliness of the underground springs which provide the island’s drinking water.[43]

The government has placed a huge emphasis on keeping Barbados clean with the aim of protecting the environment and preserving offshore coral reefs which surround the island. Many initiatives to mitigate human pressures on the coastal regions of Barbados and seas is the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU).[44] Barbados has nearly 90 km of coral reefs just offshore and two protected marine parks have been established off the west coast.[45] Overfishing is another threat which faces Barbados.[46]

Barbados is host to four species of nesting turtles (green turtles, loggerheads, and leatherbacks) and has the second largest hawksbill turtle breeding population in the Caribbean.[47] The driving of vehicles on beaches can crush nests buried in the sand and such activity should be avoided in nesting areas.[48]

Though on the opposite side of the Atlantic, and some 3000 miles west of Africa, Barbados is one of many places in the American continent which experiences heightened levels of mineral dust from the Sahara Desert.[49] Some particularly intense dust episodes have been blamed partly for the impacts on the health of coral reefs[50] surrounding Barbados or asthmatic episodes,[51] but evidence has not wholly supported the former such claim.[52]

 

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