(Taken from The Book of Knowledge, edited by Harold F.B. Wheeler)

Although the self-governing British island colony of Barbados, the easternmost of the West Indies, is only 166 square miles in area, its early 160,000 inhabitants make it one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Its palm-shaded roads are lined almost continuously with pink-tinted cottages or huts with roofs of ragged thatch. Many of the negro men emigrate because of the pressure of the population, and so three-fifths of the inhabitants are females, who are to be seen everywhere skilfully carrying on their heads the goods they have for sale.

Negroes have equal rights in the schools, in the churches, and in politics, and hold many important posts. Civility and good humour seem to be universal, and law and order always prevail. The natives outnumber the whites by about thirteen to one.

England obtained the island by settlement about 1625. The colony is administered by a Governor, an Executive Council, and a Legislative Council, all appointed by the British Government, and a House of Assembly elected by the people. The capital is Bridgetown.

Coral reefs fringe the coasts of Barbados. The surface, broken by a few forests and streams, is elevated in the interior, where Mount Hillaby rises to 1,104 feet. Most of the island is under cultivation, chiefly for sugar-cane, but also for cotton, coffee, and tobacco. It enjoys a healthful climate, which is especially beneficial for those with lung diseases, and many invalids have prolonged their lives by going to the island.

Barbados (the Spanish word for “bearded”) probably takes its name from the bearded fig-tree which grows there.

Unfortunately, Barbados has two enemies in hurricanes and earthquakes. Properly a hurricane is a windstorm – often covering a wide area and lasting several days – in which the winds blow spirally about a central area. In the Southern Hemisphere the winds revolve in the direction of the hands of a clock, and in the Northern Hemisphere they blow the reverse way. In popular usage, the term is used to designate a tornado or any violent or destructive windstorm.

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