Geography of Barbados
Barbados island nation in the Caribbean, is situated about 100 miles
(160 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands. Roughly triangular in
shape, it measures 21 miles from northwest to southeast and about 14
miles from east to west, with a total area of 166 square miles (430
square kilometers). Its capital is Bridgetown, the only seaport.
Barbados is not part of the Lesser Antilles, although it is sometimes
grouped with this archipelago. The island is of different geologic
formation; it is less mountainous and has less variety in plant and
animal life. The geographic position of Barbados has profoundly
influenced the island's history, culture, and aspects of its economic
life. In the era of sailing ships, access to the island was difficult
because of the prevailing winds from the northeast. Outward-bound
ships from Europe had to gain the island while heading west, for it
was difficult for them to turn and reach its shores by sailing
eastward against the wind.
The island remained a British possession without interruption from its
settlement in the 17th century to 1966, when it attained independence.
As the first Caribbean landfall from Europe, Barbados has functioned
since the late 17th century as a major link between western Europe
(mainly Britain), eastern Caribbean territories, and parts of the
South American mainland. Because of its long association with Britain,
the culture of Barbados is probably more British than that of any
other Caribbean island. Since independence, however, cultural
nationalism and regional awareness have tended to increase.
The climate is generally pleasant. The temperature does not usually
rise above 86 F (30 C) or fall below 72 F (22 C). There are two
seasons: the dry season, from early December to May, and the wet
season, which lasts for the rest of the year. Average rainfall is
about 60 inches (1,525 millimeters) a year, but, despite the small
size of the island, rainfall...