Barbados is one of the more populous and prosperous Caribbean islands. Political, economic and social stability have given it a relatively high standard of living.
Known for its beaches and cricket – its national sport – the former British colony has a dual heritage: English – evident in its stone-built Anglican churches and Saturday race meetings – and African, reflected in its music and dance.
Barbados was in the past heavily dependent on the export of sugar as its main revenue earner, but in recent decades the economy has diversified into tourism and finance. It also has offshore reserves of oil and natural gas.
- Capital: Bridgetown
- Population 275,000
- Area 430 sq km (166 sq miles)
- Major language English (Bajan, an English-African dialect, is widely used)
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 74 years (men), 80 years (women)
- Currency Barbadian dollar