Barbados was settled by the British in the early-1600s; it achieved independence in the mid-1960s. The island was never governed by another country and remains, in many ways, quite British.
In what ways? I’m glad you asked.
- Barbados’ judicial system is British
- Barbados’ (excellent) school system is British
- More Bajans are Anglican than Catholic
- Bajans are reserved in demeanor (I’m not reserved but then I’m an American expat. Whether I will some day, by living here, become reserved remains to be seen.)
- Barbadians drive on the left side of the road (I do my best to follow suit)
- Like the English, Bajans insert that silly “u” into words such as neighbour, parlour, and harbour. My husband refers to this as “the Queen’s English.” Grumble-grumble, it’s actually just a waste of a letter. Also, Bajans pronounce the word “scone” not with a long “o” but with a short one, as though there’s no “e” at the end of the word … ouch, hurts my ears!
- The grocery stores in Barbados sell Waitrose
- Names of both people and places in Barbados are British: Christ Church, Hastings, Worthing, Braithwaite, Fontabelle, Holborn, Clapham, Kensington, and so on
- The Barbados accent is faintly reminiscent of a British accent; either one, spoken quickly, is intelligible only to their fellow countrymen
- The Brits adore visiting Barbados and when I visit England I’m amazed how well even less-sophisticated travelers seems to know Barbados: shop-girls who’ve never left their villages have asked me if I’ve seen Prince Harry or William here or ask what Sandy Lane is like.
- Above all else, it’s the scenery that, to me, is the most startling similarity between the two countries. When I’m out driving in the countryside (usually on the left side of the road), I am struck by similarities of narrow roads and countryside. Of course, a photo can’t capture temperature and that is markedly different. However, even with the chill, I adore the lush beauty of England’s countryside, the Brits’ wonderful sense of humor (um, humour), and the very fine friends Greg and I have there.