Barbados Celebrates 50 Years of Freedom from British Rule | African-American News and Black History

Barbadian National Heroes, Birthplace of Iconic Pop Star Rihanna, Caribbean, Errol Barrow, Happy 50th Birthday Barbados, News, World -

Barbados Celebrates 50 Years of Freedom from British Rule

Barbadian National Heroes, Birthplace of Iconic Pop Star Rihanna, Caribbean, Errol Barrow, Happy 50th Birthday Barbados, News, World -

Barbados Celebrates 50 Years of Freedom from British Rule

The Independence Arch on Chamberlain Bridge in Bridgetown bears the country's coat of arms, Broken Trident, national flower and pledge, as well as a dolphin and pelican
The Independence Arch on Chamberlain Bridge in Bridgetown bears the country’s coat of arms, Broken Trident, national flower and pledge, as well as a dolphin and pelican

The Caribbean island of Barbados turned 50 years old on Nov. 30. More precisely, it’s been 50 years since it gained independence from the United Kingdom.

There are a few things you may already know about this island of a little more than 280,000 people: It was a center of sugar production, it has produced numerous world-class cricketers, and it is the birthplace of iconic pop star Rihanna.

But as Barbados celebrates its golden year of independence, here are some facts you may NOT know about the island.

Due to its past colonial ties with the UK, Barbados is often referred to as Little England. And, hot climate aside, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were wandering around England, especially with place names like Hastings, Worthing and Dover.
But it’s not just place names that are left over from British colonial rule. Barbados also has kept the British judicial and education systems.
The predominant faith is Anglican, and Bajans, as Barbadians are colloquially known, drive on the left side of the road.

A political hero (and others who’ve done their bit in the U.S.)

bara-minErrol Barrow became Barbados’ first prime minister in 1966 and is known as the Father of Independence. His birthday, Jan. 21, is a public holiday in Barbados, and he is one of 10 Barbadian National Heroes.
(Another little-known fact: Barrow shares a birthday with the first African-American U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, whose father was born in Barbados. Holder also narrates a new documentary film about Barrow’s life.)
U.S. politician Shirley Chisholm, who was of Barbadian descent, was the first Black woman to run for president of the United States in 1972.

The commemorative Broken Trident has been touring the island during the 50th anniversary year of independence
The commemorative Broken Trident has been touring the island during the 50th anniversary year of independence

Flying the flag
Bridgetown and its garrison is a Unesco World Heritage site, dating back to the 17th century. The garrison served as the Eastern Caribbean headquarters of the British Army and Navy.
On Independence Day in 1966, the garrison was the site chosen for the ceremony of the lowering of the British flag and the raising of the new Barbados flag that has, at its center, the Broken Trident that signifies the break from British rule.

Ri-Ri (and that golden, green-fingered touch)

Barbadian singer Rihanna poses before the Christian Dior 2017 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show, on September 30, 2016 in ParisImage copyrightPATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES Image caption Robyn Fenty, better known by her middle name of Rihanna, or Ri-Ri for short, was born and bred on the island
Barbadian singer Rihanna poses before the Christian Dior 2017 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show, on September 30, 2016 in ParisImage copyrightPATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image caption
Robyn Fenty, better known by her middle name of Rihanna, or Ri-Ri for short, was born and bred on the island

Popular sounds that can be heard on the island are calypso and soca. Some of the best-known artists paid tribute to their country in the 50th anniversary song “Our Home Barbados (Legends to Legacy).”

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