Barbados: An Island Stands Apart. This is true in a geographical and geological sense as we will soon explore. It is also true in human terms. The island is different in its history, heritage, and people.

Unique People, Culture and Character

There is a reason why visitors return to Barbados again and again. Over 40% of visitors return and many return often, This is the highest level of returning visitors of any of the Caribbean islands. Every poll I have witnessed confirms that one of the main reasons people return so often is because of the People.

The captain of the AIDAperla cruise liner put it this way “from the Prime Mister and Senators to the port workers, airport workers, taxi drivers and all the Bajans who helped and supported all aboard the AIDAperla in these critical stages.”

Of course, it’s not only the Barbados people that attract visitors to Barbados shores. But people are the common thread, travelers say they are fun, charming, respectful, and obliging. They are welcoming hosts, inventive storytellers, and emotionally intelligent people.

leo the cosmic pioneer and one of the outstanding bajan personalities

Leo the Cosmic Pioneer invented stargazing with a Bajan flavor- one of the Extraordinary People of Barbados included in the book, Rogues in Paradise

Bajans are inventive entrepreneurs, who have developed a million ways to explore, and experience the island by air, land, sea, underwater, underground, and up into the cosmos with Leo the stargazer.

Forbes magazine has called Barbados the Surf capital of the Caribbean (ii). That is entirely due to Brian Talma, born in the shadow of big surf, he set the standard for windsurfing and jumping waves.

 

Brian Talma De Action Man

Born in the shadow of the waves Brian is one of Barbados’ leading sports entrepreneurs and another of the Extraordinary People of Barbados

Culture and Events

The culture of Barbados extends from elegance to rustic and everything in between. There are fine dining restaurants, gourmet cuisine, beach shacks, and rum shops. Music is everywhere from waterfront jazz bars to live soca and reggae, with virtuosos like Alison Hinds and Sonny Meraki. Every so often Rihanna appears as a spectator and to jump Carnival.

culture, entertainment and events

Geologically Unique

Barbados also has a curios location standing alone and apart from the chain of the Lesser Antilles island it belongs to. It sits in isolation far to the east of the other islands. All the islands in the chain are derived from volcanic rock. Barbados, by contrast, is made of sedimentary rock. It is layers of sediment from the top of the tectonic plate below. This is a very rare occurrence. Similar formations do exist in subduction zones around the world, but they are usually submerged.

“Barbados is one of a few places on the planet where enough material has piled up to push the accreted sediments above sea level. These unusual circumstances make Barbados one of the best places in the world to determine the history of sea-level rise and fall during the last 700,000 years.” (i)

This geological anomaly has practical advantages that translate to exotic gullies, caves, coral structures, and spectacular geological features. Most notable are the fine coral sand beaches, and clear Caribbean seas. There is also a rich diversity of tropical vegetation and the massive bearded fig trees from which Barbados got its name.

The island is a rare geological phenomenon and, as Earth Magazine says, locals and visitors can enjoy exploring the island’s these exceptional features. For example: “The island provides the rare opportunities to stand on an active accretionary wedge and to visit uplifted coral reefs that have played a pivotal role in reconstructing climate and sea-level records of the recent geological past.” (i)

 

Nature Plays its Part

It was the Portugees captain Pedro a Campos who named the island Los Barbados which means the Bearded one. The name stuck and seemed to suit the occasion then and now.  The Tree is found all across Barbados, mostly in Barbados natural gullies. They are not as prolific as they were when Portuguese visited our shores centuries ago. This specimen photographed by Ian R. Clayton is at the Andromeda Botanical Gardens. Its latin name is Ficus citrifolia, and it is the national tree of Barbados.

barbados named barded fig tree by Pedro a Campos

The bearded Fig tree after which Pedro a Campos named Barbados. Photo at Andromeda Gardens created by award-winning horticulturist Iris Bannochie – a Brilliant Barbadian Personality

There are also giant mahogany trees and plants as delicate as the orchids growing naturally in the gullies and throughout the island.  Migrating birds stop off on their flight north and south to escape the weather, just as travelers do. Gardens proliferate in the private homes, public gardens, estates, and features like the enchanted gardens by Anthony Hunt who build one of the island’s most popular attractions in a gully.

enchatnted garden of the peoples island

Anthony Hunt Barbados Gardener created the enchanted Garden in a gully. Another exceptional Barbados personality

Being an island set apart has its advantages. The saying  “Barbados stands alone” was coined to refer to its geological isolation. But it has come to mean much more. Tourism marketers have used it to enhance the mystery of the island. At one time the campaign ran- An island stand-alone, a little harder to get to and so much harder to leave.

The King of England got very confused about the location of Barbados ceding it to Sir William Courteen when he had in fact already ceded the larger Caribbean to the Earl of Carlisle. A fatal mistake that ruin Sir William, but it is a logical error to think that Barbados was far to the east and not part of the Caribbean Chain.

It is all rather intriguing and Barbados has something of a mystic feel. All is part of the Real Story of Barbados in the Book Rogues in Paradise.

Video Rogue Island Stands Apart

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ROGUES IN PARADISE, the Real Story of Barbados, blends history and character in a vibrant portrait of people, culture, and heritage, giving voice to everyday unsung heroes. Their wit and wisdom and the authors experienced insight reveal the unique character of the First Slave Society, which became a thriving democratic republic and a remarkable self-assured people. It is today a leading tourism destination and a regional financial center

Related Links

Rogues in Paradise features many of the People of Barbados noted above:
See selected videos of the  Extraordinary People of Barbados

The Cosmic Pioneer  in rogues in Paradise- Leo Stargazers 
A Night with the Stars – Details of a Cosmic  Leo Event

Surfing People Brian Talma De Action Man

Gullies and Caves of Barbados – Anthony Hunt Gardens

Wonder what is a Rogue in Paradise – See What Does Rogue Mean 

Rogues History of Barbados – Books’ History Section

Get Your Free Sample Chapters of Rogues in Paradise –
The Real Story of Barbados People, History and Heritage

Sources

i. Source: https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/travels-geology-barbados-ascending-sea-level-staircase/

ii. The Surf Capital Of The Caribbean By Forbes