Historiography of Barbados, the Windward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana
Barbados, despite occasional contact with Europeans from the early sixteenth century, was not colonized until 1627. Successful English settlement occurred then as a consequence of the search by English and Anglo-Dutch entrepreneurs for territory, unoccupied by the Spaniards, in which to establish tobacco and cotton plantations. Within two or three decades, the island had become both the model plantation colony and ‘one of the richest spots of ground in the world’1 on the basis of a sugar/slave plantation economy. It was perceived up to the end of the seventeenth century as the brightest jewel in the English crown of trade, and it functioned for a while as the regional centre for English activity in settlement, defence and commerce. Barbados became less of a nerve centre and more of a ‘porter’s lodge’2 for the English in the Caribbean during and after the eighteenth century, but exploited its dense population and intensive monoculture in the fashioning of a cushion of survival during the turbulent times of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Unlike most of the other Caribbean colonies, Barbados never changed hands. It was a member of the short-lived Federation of the West Indies in 1958–62, and became an independent country in 1966.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.