Caribbean literature includes all those literary productions that arise in the region known as the Caribbean, from the sixteenth century to the present.
Something to highlight from the Caribbean literature is that there are so many humerous books about barbados and also the fact that literature, in the Caribbean, reflects the struggle suffered by its inhabitants, that is, the representation of the home of the hybrid and enclosure of mestizaje, of the culture of transit and the transgression of all kinds of barriers.
Barbados is synonymous with what the Caribbean always has to offer: dream beaches. But here also adds the importance they give to tourism and the good energy of its people. The positive vibes seem to be tinged with certain English sobriety, as seen in Saxon’s punctuality and an inalienable spirit of service.
In any case, there is an authentic vocation to take care of the tourist, which is the most precious asset since the island of Barbados -located in the Lesser Antilles- devoted itself to the industry without chimneys, which exceeds in income telecommunications, sugar cane and cotton.
This island of about 300,000 inhabitants and 431 square kilometers (which in practical terms would occupy around half the surface of New York City) is located to the north of Venezuela and is the easternmost of a string of small islands such as Santa Lucía, Martinique or Guadeloupe, which overlook the Atlantic Ocean.
Barbados declared its independence in 1966, becoming part of the Commonwealth. Until the end of November of last year, they maintained the figure of the Governor General, who represents the British monarchy. In other words, Queen Elizabeth continued to rule.
But now Barbados is officially an independent republic. On November 30, 2021, coinciding with the 55th anniversary of its independence, the Caribbean Island ceased to have Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, a role that now corresponds to Sandra Mason, who assumed as president. On that day, at the same ceremony, pop star Rihanna was named a national hero.
Its flag has two vertical blue bands and one yellow with a trident in the middle, symbolizing independence and marine influence. Barbados was very important because it was the eastern gateway to the Caribbean, the first place to come from England, and thus used to be the first country slaves entered. It was a transshipment point where information and wealth passed.
But it was not the English, but the Portuguese, who approached it for the first time in 1536, although they gave up occupying it because they believed that there was not enough water. Of course, they left the name; the Portuguese explorer Pedro Campos named it ‘Os Barbudos’ because of the large number of fig trees from which foliage hangs like long beards. The English settlers would arrive in 1627 and never let her go again.
Rihanna was born and raised in the heat of the streets of Bridgetown, the capital. Today, the street where she lived was renamed Rihanna Drive, and her birthplace is one of the most visited places on the island.
La casita is a typical chattel house, made of wood and mobile, whose origin dates back to the years of the cane plantations when houses designed to move from one place to another were built. It is painted green, orange and burgundy, and has a plaque on the sidewalk decorated with the colors of the island’s flag and the name of the singer along with a trident that symbolizes the independence of Barbados.
There are two little-known landmarks that Barbados can boast of, beyond its heavenly beaches and prodigal daughter. One is just a couple of blocks from the pop star’s home: it’s the world’s first rum distillery, and it’s called Mount Gay.
Of course, the distillery can be visited. It has a room museum with information panels and historical elements used for the production of rum. The visit is quick and lasts just over half an hour. Towards the end comes the most awaited moment: the tasting, in which the guide explains the five varieties of rum that can be tasted in the very place where the story that led sugar cane to the category of world elixir began.
Barbados is the only country that George Washington visited outside of the United States. Washington, who would be the first president of the northern country, between 1789 and 1797, arrived here in 1752 when he was 19 years old and had no political motivation. He traveled with his brother, who had tuberculosis because it was believed that the island’s climate and herbs could cure him, although he would die months later at his home in Virginia.
The colonial mansion where they lived is located in the Garrison area, which in those days was a rural area. Years later it would become the most important fortress on the island. In 2011, its architecture was essential for the UNESCO declaration as a cultural heritage.
Today it is a turf track where the flag of the bearded nation flies high; the house is painted yellow and has two floors, where the rooms of the Washington brothers are recreated with a series of objects that are not the originals because, as the guide says, they were not kept, since at that time no one imagined that the young man would become president.
In Barbados, Washington contracted smallpox which was almost fatal. Years later, during the Civil War, it was his antidote —many soldiers died on the front lines from this disease and he was immunized.
Somehow, the land of rum determined the events that marked the history of humanity in the last two hundred years.
The biggest difference between some beaches and others is from east to west. To the east, the waves of the Atlantic break furiously, making this portion of the island a favorite spot for surfers, with Bathsheba Beach leading the way.
They say that Kelly Slater, one of the best surfers today, considers her among the best on the planet. To get to Bathsheba from Bridgetown you have to cross the island from one end to the other along a serene route that runs on this continuous plain, whose highest peak reaches 300 meters in height. A road with few and small towns, distributed in the eleven parishes, as they call the provinces.
Each parish has a church. Bathsheba is a rocky beach, and a bit dangerous, that’s why nobody bathes in its waters. But it is here where the international surfing competitions are held. For others, the beach village breathes peacefully, like everything on this island.
Downtown Bridgetown beaches, such as Accra and Carlisle, are some of the busiest, mostly by locals. The water here is turquoise, especially if we observe it on a day with a lot of sun and few clouds. Or golden, like in the evenings when the kids run around and splash around, and the grown-ups play ‘palette ball’.
The Crop Over is the festival in which from June to August the end of the sugar cane harvest is celebrated, a vernacular and out-of-season carnival that complies with all carnival precepts: subvert the established order, take a break from work, dance, sing, celebrate.
The slaves used to celebrate it during the colony, and now it has been resignified in this massive celebration. A celebration that has its preamble in endless parties throughout these three months, which intensify in the week prior to the culminating day of Kadooment Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday in August.
It is an extensive day in which twenty groups parade to the beat of soca, a Caribbean rhythm derived from calypso, but more accelerated. The soundtrack plays all the time, everywhere, and that is danced in the style of work up, the signature dance of the locals – a high-voltage erotic wiggle, a sexual pantomime that reveals Caribbean enjoyment for the dance.
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