I went to Barbados in February 2014 and in this post are photos and information about what I found most interesting there. It´s part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea.
George Washington House is a museum in Bridgetown. George and his brother Lawrence resided in this plantation house, also known as Bush Hill House, for two months in 1751. The reason was that Lawrence fell victim to tuberculosis and doctors in Virginia recommended a change of climate. Lawrence found the oppressive heat miserable and the venture failed to improve his condition.
According to the museum, Barbados was the only country ever visited by George. He wrote about the beauty of the island and the delicious fruits that he enjoyed of which pineapple was his favorite. He explored the economics of sugar cane, the role of Barbados in the Atlantic economy, the British forts and military structures of the island.
While in Barbados, George became sick of smallpox which can be fatal. He survived and got immunity for life from this disease. This was very important because during the Revolutionary War the colonial army was ravaged by smallpox. But because he was immune he avoided suffering from this illness like his troops. He also saved the lives of countless numbers of his troops by ordering mass inoculations against the disease.
Dripstones at the Barbados Museum. Made of porous coral limestone used to filter water for drinking and cooking purposes in the days before the piped water system. Dripstones took out the solid impurities but the water still could contained bacteria which led to water borne diseases like dysentery, polio and cholera.
In the 17th century, about 300 Sephardic Jews where driven from the Dutch Brazil by the Portuguese inquisition and settled in Barbados. They brought with them their expertise in windmill technology and in growing sugar cane. With their help, Barbados went on to become one of the world’s major sugar producers and one of the richest European territories in the West Indies. The Jews who came to Barbados after 1931 were Ashkenazi, from central Europe.
The Nidḥe Israel Synagogue (Synagogue of the Scattered of Israel) in Bridgetown is one of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere. The original house was built in 1654, destroyed in an 1831 hurricane and later rebuild.
Barbados was a British colony 1625-1966 and is now an independent country and member of the British Commonwealth. It has a Parliament modelled on the British Westminster system and is the third oldest in the Commonwealth, after England and Bermuda.
The 53 flags of the Commonwealth countries and the Commonwealth flag were carried by a detachment of 54 mixed rank cadets who then broke the flags inside the Parliament´s gates. Other participants in the parade were the Sea Cadets, the Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Pathfinders, the mounted troop of the Royal Barbados Police Force, the police band and others.
There were many VIPs there e.g. the Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
The Barbados Defence Force Band in the Zouave Uniform. The origin of the uniform can be traced to North Africa where it was part of the attire of an Algerian ethnic group known as the Zouaoua. This group and their uniform were recruited into the French army in the 1830s during the imperial expansion of France into North Africa. At that time the Zouave uniform was adopted by French European troops.
It is believed that Queen Victoria made several sketches of the uniform during her visit to Paris in 1855 and expressed her desire to see one the regiments in British Army outfitted in a similar uniform. Her desire came to past as the Zouave uniform was adopted by the Gold Coast Regiment. Shortly afterwards the British West India Regiment, in existence since 1796, created to fight Revolutionary and later Napoleonic France and its allies in the Caribbean, were ordered to adopt the Zouave Uniform as its official uniform.