Why Barbados is Called “Little England”

Why Barbados is Called “Little England”

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.

Jane Shattuck Greg Hoyos Barbados

Greg and me (right) with our British friends Annie and David in West Sussex two weeks ago.

–  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

Another similarity: Polo (as well as cricket) is a beloved sport

Another similarity: Polo (as well as cricket) is a beloved sport

– 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.

Green and lush, like England. This is outside of Bathsheba on Barbados' east coast.

Green and lush, like England. I took this photo outside of Bathsheba overlooking the east coast; that's the Atlantic Ocean. Minus the sea and palm trees, this could be England.

The environs of the charming 16th-century Griffin Inn in West Sussex, England.

The green and lush environs of the charming 16th-century Griffin Inn in West Sussex, England. (Brits were kicking back pints at Griffin Inn 100 years before they got in a boat and discovered the paradise of "Little England.")

The massive coral that is the island of Barbados

The massive coral that is the island of Barbados

A bit of Leeds Castle, West Sussex, England

The massive stonework that built Leeds Castle in Kent, England

The St George Valley, northern Barbados' St George and St Thomas parishes

The verdant St George Valley in northern Barbados' St George and St Thomas parishes

View from Leeds Castle, Kent, England

View of a verdant valley from Leeds Castle, Kent, England

55 Responses to “Why Barbados is Called “Little England””

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