Tuesday , September 26 2017
Home / The Good Life / The Island where Rihanna was born – Barbados

The Island where Rihanna was born – Barbados

Wandering bustling Bridgetown, Barbados – with its many sights and old colonial buildings can easily occupy a day. There is good shopping, especially along Broad St and on pedestrian-only Swan St, which buzzes with the rhythms of local culture. bannerThe entire downtown area and south to the Garrison was recognized by Unesco in 2012 for its historical significance.

Bridgetown (metropolitan pop. 110,000 (2014)) is the capital and largest city of the nation of Barbados. Formerly the Town of Saint Michael, the Greater Bridgetown area is located within the parish of Saint Michael. Bridgetown is sometimes locally referred to as “The City”, but the most common reference is simply “Town”. The Bridgetown port, found along Carlisle Bay (at 13.106°N 59.632°W) lies on the southwestern coast of the island.

StMikesBarbados

Parts of the Greater Bridgetown area (as roughly defined by the Ring Road Bypass or more commonly known as the ABC Highway), sit close to the borders of the neighbouring parishes Christ Church and St. James. The Grantley Adams International Airport for Barbados, is located 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) southeast of Bridgetown city centre, and has daily flights to major cities in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and the Caribbean. While there is no longer local municipal government, it is governed as apolitical constituency within the national Parliament. During the short-lived 1950s-1960s Federation of the British West Indian Territories, Bridgetown was one of three capital cities within the region being considered to be the Federal capital of region. The present day location of the city was established by English settlers in 1628 following a prior settlement under the authority of Sir William Courten at St. James Town. Bridgetown is a major West Indies tourist destination, and the city acts as an important financial, informatics, convention centre, and cruise ship port of call in the Caribbean region.

Bridgetown, Barbados 044

Although the island was totally abandoned or uninhabited when the British landed there, one of the few traces of indigenous pre-existence on the island was a primitive bridge constructed over the Careenage area’s swamp at the centre of Bridgetown. It was thought that this bridge was created by a people indigenous to the Caribbean known as the Arawak. Upon finding the structure, the British settlers began to call what is now the Bridgetown area Indian Bridge. Scholars widely believe that the Arawak were driven from Barbados to the neighbouring island of Saint Lucia, during an invasion by the Kalinagos, another indigenous people of the region. Eventually after 1654 when a new bridge was constructed over the Careenage by the British, the area became known as The Town of Saint Michael and later as Bridgetown.

Bridgetown, Barbados 010

Bridgetown is the only city outside the present United States that George Washington visited. (George Washington House, the house where he stayed, is included within the boundaries of the Garrison Historic Area.) Two of Washington’s ancestors, Jonathon and Gerrard Hawtaine, were early planters on the island. Their grandmother was Mary Washington of Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, England. In 2011, historic buildings in Bridgetown were designated as a protected area by UNESCO

Early settlement

English settlement of Bridgetown began on 5 July 1628 under Charles Wolverstone, who brought with him 64 settlers to these lands formally claimed by James Hay, the Earl of Carlisle. Wolverstone, had been dispatched by a group of London Merchants, headed by Sir Marmaduke Rawdon. The group had been granted a lease to 10,000 acres (40 km2) of land area by the Earl of Carlisle in settlement of debts. Each of the settlers with Wolverstone were granted by him 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land, lying on the northern side of the Careenage waterway for the purpose of general settlement.

Bridgetown, Barbados 009

The southern shore on Needham’s Point, were claimed by Carlisle’s agents that coming October, and in 1631, many acres of land directly facing Carlisle Bay were passed to Henry Hawley, the new Governor. Reports of dishonest behaviour about this Governor led to his arrest and rendition to England in 1639. After investigation by Commission in 1640, it was found that much of Hawley’s land transactions were legitimate and properly showed these lands (including the town site), as being attributed to the Earl of Carlisle. Bridgetown was built upon a street layout resembling early English Medieval or market towns with its narrow serpentine street and alley configuration.

From town to city

In 1824, Barbados became the seat of the Anglican ‘Diocese of Barbados and the Leeward Islands’. Due to this the Saint Michael’s Parish Church became raised to the status of Cathedral, in so doing the elevation meant that thereafter Bridgetown would be conferred with city status. In 1842, Royal Letters Patent under which Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, Saint Vincent, and Saint Lucia were split into separate diocese decreed that henceforth the Town of Bridgetown should be called the City of Bridgetown.

Bridgetown, Barbados 037

From 1800 until 1885, Bridgetown served as the main seat of Government for the former British colonies of the Windward Islands. During this period, the resident Governor of Barbados also served as the Colonial head of the Windward Islands. After the Government of Barbados officially exited from the Windward Island union in 1885, the seat was moved from Bridgetown to St. George’s on the neighbouring island of Grenada.

The Coat of Arms of Bridgetown

In December 1925, a committee sought to petition the King for a Royal Charter of Incorporation to devise local government in the city. The plan stated the desire for Bridgetown to be run by a mayor, 8 aldermen, 12 common councillors, a town clerk, a head-borough or chief constable, and such other officers as would be deemed necessary. It was proposed that the island’s House of Assembly should seek to Incorporate the city instead of utilising Royal Charter.

It was not until 1958 when the Local Government Act was passed in Barbados. Within the act, called for separate administration for the city. The act called for a mayor, 6 city aldermen, and 12 city councillors — of which four serve each of the three wards in the city.

On 20 September 1960, a grant of arms was conferred upon the city by the Royal College of Arms in London. The armorial bearings for the City of Bridgetown were designed by the late Neville Connell, the then director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society along with H.W. Ince the Honorary Secretary of the Society.

Local government in Barbados was established but not for long. In April 1967, the system of Local Government Councils was dissolved and replaced by an Interim Commissioner for Local Government. The Corporation of Bridgetown thus ceased to exist, and its records and paraphernalia were deposited in both the Government Department of Archives and Barbados Museum and Historical Society. Today, Bridgetown and surrounding constituencies are administered by members of Barbadian parliament.

Bridgetown, Barbados 039

Bridgetown, Barbados 044

Bridgetown, Barbados 042

The city of Bridgetown, and the wider Greater Bridgetown area occupy most of the parish of Saint Michael, an area which covers around 39 km² (15 sq. mi). Bridgetown’s centre was originally composed of a swamp, which was quickly drained and filled-in to make way for the city’s early development.

Bridgetown, Barbados 064

At the heart of Bridgetown is the Careenage and Constitution River. This body of water provides the city with direct access from medium-sized yachts or small craft boats. Although moderately shallow, the Careenage slices Bridgetown into two parts. During the rainy season the Constitution River flows into the Careenage area and acts as an outflow for water from the islands interior storm drainage network. Flowing into the Carlisle Bay on the southwest coast of the island, the Careenage can be observed as a marina for boaters entering or exiting the inner basin located directly in front of the Parliament buildings of Barbados.

Bridgetown features a tropical wet and dry climate, with relatively constant temperatures throughout the course of the year.

Bridgetown, Barbados 087

While fairly hot, Bridgetown is cooled somewhat by the trade winds that affect weather in Barbados in general. Bridgetown’s record high of 35 °C (95.0 °F) and record low of 16 °C (60.8 °F). Bridgetown features distinct wet and dry seasons, with a relatively lengthy wet season and a shorter dry season. Its wet season is from June through January, while the dry season covers the remaining months.

Climate data for Bridgetown (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31
(88)
31
(88)
32
(90)
32
(90)
33
(91)
32
(90)
32
(90)
35
(95)
33
(91)
33
(91)
32
(90)
31
(88)
35
(95)
Average high °C (°F) 28.8
(83.8)
29.0
(84.2)
29.5
(85.1)
30.0
(86)
30.5
(86.9)
30.5
(86.9)
30.4
(86.7)
30.6
(87.1)
30.6
(87.1)
30.4
(86.7)
30.0
(86)
29.3
(84.7)
30.0
(86)
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.8
(78.4)
25.7
(78.3)
26.2
(79.2)
26.8
(80.2)
27.6
(81.7)
27.7
(81.9)
27.6
(81.7)
27.8
(82)
27.7
(81.9)
27.5
(81.5)
27.0
(80.6)
26.4
(79.5)
27.0
(80.6)
Average low °C (°F) 22.9
(73.2)
22.8
(73)
23.2
(73.8)
24.1
(75.4)
24.9
(76.8)
25.1
(77.2)
24.9
(76.8)
24.7
(76.5)
24.6
(76.3)
24.5
(76.1)
24.2
(75.6)
23.6
(74.5)
24.1
(75.4)
Record low °C (°F) 16
(61)
16
(61)
17
(63)
18
(64)
19
(66)
19
(66)
20
(68)
21
(70)
19
(66)
19
(66)
19
(66)
19
(66)
16
(61)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 70.1
(2.76)
41.3
(1.626)
37.4
(1.472)
60.8
(2.394)
79.0
(3.11)
103.0
(4.055)
132.9
(5.232)
141.9
(5.587)
157.6
(6.205)
185.1
(7.287)
171.6
(6.756)
89.6
(3.528)
1,270.3
(50.012)
Average rainy days 11 8 8 8 8 11 15 15 14 16 14 12 140
Average relative humidity (%) 77 77 75 77 78 80 81 81 81 82 83 79 79
Mean monthly sunshine hours 258.85 249.45 272.80 259.80 262.88 225.00 251.41 263.19 230.40 233.74 228.00 257.92 2,993.44
Source #1: Barbados Meteorological Services
Source #2: BBC Weather (record highs and lows)

The city

In the centre lies the main street of Bridgetown which is Broad Street which runs directly through the centre of the city. Broad Street passes the Parliament Buildings and serves as the centre of city’s shopping area.

Barbados-Map

Bridgetown, Barbados 047

Bridgetown, Barbados 050

Bridgetown, Barbados 051

Bridgetown, Barbados 052

Bridgetown, Barbados 070

Bridgetown, Barbados 075

Bridgetown, Barbados 076

map of caribbean

Another major traffic artery into the city is Bay Street (which turns into Highway 7) and leads toward the South Coast of Barbados and the Parish of Christ Church. There are also other notable streets in Bridgetown, including:

  • Swan Street – which is parallel to Broad Street, to the north.
  • Roebuck Street – which leads towards Queens Park to the North, and East of Swan Street.

-and-

map_bridgetown

  • Tudor Street – which comes from the north, intersects Swan Street and runs perpendicular to Broad Street.
  • The Spring Garden Highway, which lies to the west of the city, plays host to over 85,000 bystanders and participants in the annual Grand Kadooment Carnival Parade.

Bridgetown, Barbados 085

Harbour
The Bridgetown Port (or “Deep Water Harbour” as it is also known) is the major port of entry for cruise and cargo ships docking in Barbados. The Deep Water Harbour lies a short distance across Carlisle Bay northwest of the Careenage Canal. Found along the Princess Alice Highway, and west of the city’s centre around Fontabelle.

The Harbour port acts as one of the major shipping and transhipment hubs from international locations for the entire Eastern Caribbean. Recently, the Bridgetown Port was dredged to allow safe access and berthing for the new league of “super cruise ships”. The dredging project was completed in 2002 and the city can now host many of the largest cruise ships in the world.

The port of Bridgetown also handles goods for the domestic needs of the island. The island’s main exports of mainly agricultural products also make use of the harbour facilities.

Bridgetown, Barbados 082

Bridgetown also has a smaller canal in the centre of the city, named the Careenage, a.k.a. “Constitution River”. The Constitution River should not be confused with the Deep Water Harbour. The smaller Constitution River feeding into the west coast lies about a half kilometre south of the large harbour. The Careenage is just large enough for pleasure craft or fishing boats and has two main bridges near the city center which span the shallow Careenage.

Bridgetown serves as a principal centre of commercial activity in Barbados, as well as a central hub for the island’s public transport system. Many of the ministries and departments of the island’s government are located within the Greater Bridgetown area.

Bridgetown, Barbados 086

The Public Buildings or parliament, which stand at the heart of the city directly north of Heroes Square, house the third oldest continuous parliament in the British Commonwealth. Indeed, at one point in the city’s early history, Bridgetown was the most important city of all British possessions in the New World due to the city’s easterly location in the Caribbean region. The headquarters of the National Library Service of Barbados is located in Bridgetown. The main branch is found on Coleridge Street, in a coral-stone building, built in the style of the English Renaissance.

For a city of its size, the Greater Bridgetown area is home to several prestigious educational institutions. The city serves as the seat of one of the three campuses of the University of the West Indies in the northern suburb of Cave Hill.

Bridgetown, Barbados 078

The campus sits on a bluff offering a spectacular view of Bridgetown and its port. The Barbados Community College is located three miles (5 km) east of the Central Business District in a suburb known as “The Ivy”, while the sprawling campus of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic is located just beyond the eastern limits of the city in a suburb known as “The Pine”. In addition, the city houses such distinguished secondary schools as Harrison College, Combermere and The St. Michael School.

Bridgetown, Barbados 079

The City of Bridgetown also played host to the 1994 United Nations Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Islands States. Bridgetown has branches of some of the largest banks in the world and English-speaking Caribbean and is internationally recognised as an emerging financial domicile. The city underwent considerable redevelopment in preparation for the 2007 World Cricket Cup Finals held at the historic Kensington Oval . The stadium was renovated to a state-of-the-art sports facility accommodating 30,000 spectators. Live viewership for the 2007 event was estimated to be over 100 million people worldwide.

A little more about Barbados

Barbados is a sovereign island country in the Lesser Antilles, in the Americas. It is 34 kilometres (21 mi) in length and up to 23 kilometres (14 mi) in width, covering an area of 432 square kilometres (167 sq mi). It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about 168 kilometres (104 mi) east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and 400 kilometres (250 mi) north-east ofTrinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt.

Bridgetown06

Inhabited by Kalingo people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other Amerindians, Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century and claimed for the Spanish Crown. It first appears on a Spanish map from 1511. 

Bridgetown, Barbados 083

The Portuguese visited the island in 1536, but they left it unclaimed, with their only remnants being an introduction of wild hogs for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. An English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1625; its men took possession of it in the name of King James I. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and it became an English and later British colony.

Bridgetown, Barbados 052In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm with the British Monarch (presently Queen Elizabeth II) as hereditary head of state. It has a population of 277,821 people, mostly of African descent.Despite being classified as an Atlantic island, Barbados is considered to be a part of the Caribbean, where it is ranked as a leading tourist destination. In 2014, Barbados ranked second in the Americas (after Canada) and 17th globally (after Belgium and Japan) on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.

My very own video I shot when I was strolling down downtown Bridgetown.

The origin of the name Barbados is either the Portuguese word Barbados or the Spanish equivalent los Barbados, both meaning “the bearded ones”. It is unclear whether “bearded” refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree (Ficus citrifolia), indigenous to the island; or to the allegedly bearded Caribs once inhabiting the island; or, more fancifully, to a visual impression of a beard formed by the sea foam that sprays over the outlying reefs. In 1519, a map produced by the Genoese mapmaker Visconte Maggiolo showed and named Barbados in its correct position. Furthermore, the island of Barbuda in the Leewards is very similar in name and was once named Las Barbudas by the Spanish.

Bridgetown, Barbados 001

It is uncertain which European nation arrived first in Barbados. According to some sources it was the Spanish. Others believe the Portuguese, en route to Brazil, were the first Europeans to come upon the island.

The original name for Barbados in the Pre-Columbian era was Ichirouganaim according to accounts by descendants of the indigenous Arawakan-speaking tribes in other regional areas, with possible translations including “Red land with white teeth”,”Redstone island with teeth outside (reefs)”, or simply “Teeth”.

Other names or nicknames associated with Barbados include “Bim” and “Bimshire”. The origin is uncertain but several theories exist. The National Cultural Foundation of Barbados says that “Bim” was a word commonly used by slaves and that it derives from the Igbo term bém from bé mụ́ meaning ‘my home, kindred, kind’, the Igbo phoneme /e/ in the Igbo orthography is very close to. The name could have arisen due to the relatively large percentage of enslaved Igbo people from modern-day southeastern Nigeria arriving in Barbados in the 18th century.

The words ‘Bim’ and ‘Bimshire’ are recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary and Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionaries. Another possible source for ‘Bim’ is reported to be in the Agricultural Reporter of 25 April 1868, where the Rev. N. Greenidge (father of one of the island’s most famous scholars, Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge) suggested the listing of Bimshire as a county of England. Expressly named were “Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire and Bimshire”. Bridgetown, Barbados 077

Lastly, in the Daily Argosy (of Demerara, i.e. Guyana) of 1652 there is a reference to Bim as a possible corruption of ‘Byam’, the name of a Royalist leader against the Parliamentarians. That source suggested the followers of Byam became known as ‘Bims’ and that this became a word for all Barbadians.

Im not too sure what time debarked the cruiseship to follow the others into town but it was indeed a hoard getting off because the good weather, clear skies and the hope that we would all have a glorious day full of breeze and sunshine, and it didnt disappoint. Plenty made their way down towards downtown and it is quite a walk from the cruise terminal to the centre or the town or city if you like.

Bridgetown, Barbados 074

Bridgetown, Barbados 065

Bridgetown, Barbados 069

Bridgetown, Barbados 058

Bridgetown, Barbados 053

Bridgetown, Barbados 054

Bridgetown, Barbados 047

Bridgetown, Barbados 046

We walked like it seems forever and some even had to find a long bench to rest their legs. Most are senoir citizens from all over the world in particular from the United States and Western Europe. For me, no problem at all. I can walk for miles if needed be as it turned out to be quite a exercise what with the sun shining over you. Luckily there was plenty of wind/breeze on that morning.

Bridgetown, Barbados 045

Bridgetown, Barbados 039

Bridgetown, Barbados 040

Bridgetown, Barbados 028

Bridgetown, Barbados 017

Bridgetown, Barbados 003

Bridgetown, Barbados 002

Bridgetown, Barbados 004

Bridgetown, Barbados 009

Climate

Barbados is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the other West Indies Islands. Barbados is the easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles. It is flat in comparison to its island neighbours to the west, the Windward Islands. The island rises gently to the central highland region, with the high point of the nation being Mount Hillaby in the geological Scotland District 340 metres (1,120 ft) above sea level.

Bridgetown, Barbados 026

Bridgetown, Barbados 029

Bridgetown, Barbados 037

In the parish of Saint Michael lies Barbados’ capital and main city, Bridgetown. Other major towns scattered across the island include Holetown, in the parish of Saint James; Oistins, in the parish of Christ Church; and Speightstown, in the parish of Saint Peter.

Music

In music, Eight-time Grammy Award winner Rihanna (born in Saint Michael) is one of Barbados’ best-known artists. In 2009 she was appointed as an Honorary Ambassador of youth and culture for Barbados by the late Prime Minister, David Thompson. Rihanna has however faced some criticism from her homeland for her performance.

o-RIHANNA-facebook

In 2011, Bishop Marlon Husbands targeted Rihanna’s provocative performance, specifically one in Northern Ireland, as proof of her “always doing foolishness” as he attacked the island as a whole for an increase in “level of indiscipline, immorality and homosexuality.” Husbands also added that Rihanna should not be looked at as a model for the youth in Barbados and should not be seen as a cultural ambassador.

Singer-songwriter Shontelle, the band Cover Drive, musician Rupee and Mark Morrison, singer of Top 10 hit Return of the Mack also originate from Barbados. Grandmaster Flash (born Joseph Saddler in Bridgetown in 1958) is a hugely influential musician of Barbadian origin, pioneering hip-hop DJing, cutting, and mixing in 1970s New York. The Merrymen are a well known Calypso band based in Barbados, performing from the 1960s into the 2010s.

Now I bet you didnt know that Grammy Award Winning Artiste Rihanna was born in Barbados? If you’re ever on a summer cruise to the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, better you drop by this beautiful island paradise – Barbados and of course Bridgetown, where it all happens!

 

 

Check Also

Kluang in a Jiffy: Street Art, Beef Balls, Flying Deer and a Wishing Well

  Sorry about the flying deer. The deer didn’t fly, we flew. It was to …