THE HISTORY OF BARBADOS (We sheep pronounce it Baarbaados)
OK Everyone, I am going to tell you a little about the history of Barbados as it was told to me by my Grandbaabaa and was told to him by his Grandbaarbaa.
It is said that about 2000years ago, there was a tribe of indians called the Saladoid/Barrancoid who were the first people on the island. They came here all the way from Venezuela in canoes that they had made by hand. It was very hard for them to get here because of the fast currents in the ocean but somehow by using a lot of skill, they paddled for many, many miles until they reached Barbados.
They survived in Barbados by farming and fishing for many years until....well no one actually knows what happened to them they just disappeared.
So when another tribe of amerindians also paddled their way to Barbados they claimed it all for themselves. They lived near to the beach and grew a lot of vegetables for food. They didn't have any tractors or animals to help them so their farms were very small and they used shells as tools to dig the earth.
I have heard that they did not look anything like Barbadian humans look like today. They had olive coloured skin and as babies their mothers would tie their heads to a piece of wood so that when they grew up their foreheads would have a pointy shape.
The Arawaks lived in Barbados until 1200 when the Carib amerindians arrived here in their canoes. The Caribs were not peaceful like the Arawaks and so they won battles with them quickly and took over the island for themselves. Actually, they conquered many Caribbean islands and so the Caribbean is named after them.
Many think that they were cannibals and ate humans but I am not sure, I wasn't there.
According to the history books, the Caribs lived in Barbados for about 300years. They were there when my Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandbaarbaa, Captain Black Wool discovered Barbados and claimed it for Sheepdom. They were actually very kind to him and his band of pirates so Captain Black Wool decided to settle and they all lived here peacefully together.
That is until the Spanish and Portuguese came in the early 1500s. Rumor has it that they captured many of the Caribs and took them away to work on their plantations. The ones that were left behind died of the diseases these Europeans brought to the island. One of the only things left in Barbados to show that the Caribs were here is the bridge the Caribs originally made in Bridgetown.
The next visitors to Barbados came from England in 1627. When they got here, the island was completely empty except for us sheep and a few of our other animal friends. They came on a ship called the "Olive" captained by John Powell.
He didn’t stay long before returning to England. After him came a bunch of settlers from England on the ship "William and John", which arrived in Holetown on Feb 17, 1627.
These settlers claimed Baarbaados for their employer, Sir William Courteen and began to grow crops for export. That was until "The Great Barbados Robery" when another Englishman, the Earl of Carlisle, stole Barbados from Courteen and claimed it for himself in 1629.
This was not very nice at all. It caused constant arguing between the Earl and Sir Courteen, meanwhile, the farms did not do well so many humans and sheep had very little to eat at that time.
A few years later, in 1639 the Parliament of Barbados was created in order to make decision about what would go on in Baarbaados and probably to stop the arguments. Actually, Barbados has the third oldest Parliament in the Caribbean.
A year later many other people came from England to live in Barbados. They cut down many of the beautiful trees and cleared away bushes in order to plant cotton and tobbaco. You don't see a lot of tobacco here anymore but when you drive around you will find cotton bushes near the coast. These two industries didn't last long because of competition by bigger countries. So after some thought and experimenting the farmers decided to grow sugar cane.
Since sugar was going to be big business for Barbados and would make the plantation owners lots of money, they cut down most of the original forests in Barbados and planted the sugar cane. We sheep protested against the cutting down of the forests but they didn't listen to us.
Then they needed people to harvest the canes.
The people that the plantation owners got to work the sugar fields did not get paid for their work like they do today. They were indentured servants who had spoken out against a man named Cromwell whilst in England, and were sent to Baarbaados to work.
The English plantation owners went to Guyana to ask the Arawaks for help as they were good in Agriculture but when the Arawaks got to Baarbaados, they were tricked, captured and made into slaves.
However, these slaves were not enough. So a little later some people from across the Atlantic ocean captured some Africans in their villages, sailed to the Caribbean with them and sold them to the plantation owners to work as slaves.
And so, with all of these workers and good soil, the sugar crop thrived and Barbados became the richest and most successful British colony.
There were some revolts against slavery but all failed. In 1816 there was a big uprising where many slaves burnt some of the sugar fields but even that didn’t work.
It wasn't until after slavery was abolished in England that the slaves in Barbados also got to be free. In 1834 slavery was abolished in Barbados. The former slaves still had to be trained, which meant that they worked a whole week without pay in exchange for housing for 4 years before their slavery was finally over. In 1838 the people celebrated their freedom by walking the streets singing the song:
"Lick an Lock-up Done Wid, Hurray fuh Jin-Jin (Queen Victoria).
De Queen come from England to set we free
Now Lick an Lock-up Done Wid, Hurray fuh Jin-Jin "
During the following years, Barbados remained under the rule of Britain even though it had its own parliament. In 1966, the queen decided to give the island to its people and so on November 30, 1966 Barbados became an independent nation. Our first ever human Prime Minister was Sir Errol Barrow.
Today, Barbados still has its independence and votes on a leader every 4 years.