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Barbados Independence Day – November 30, 2023

Barbados Independence Day is celebrated on November 30 every year. The day commemorates the island country’s independence from Britain after over 360 years as a British colony. Barbados Independence Day is marked by the lighting of the Parliament buildings and office buildings throughout Bridgetown. Roundabouts on the highways of Barbados are also lit up, creating a spectacular view at night. Celebrations run throughout November and include highlights such as Community Independence Celebrations, art and sports competitions, social events, and religious services. The national day is a public holiday when schools, businesses, and offices are closed, but if November 30 falls on a weekend, the next Monday will be a public holiday.

History of Barbados Independence Day

Barbados Independence Day is the National Day of Barbados marking the independence of the island country from the United Kingdom in 1966. Barbados has been a British colony since 1627 when Britons landed in Holetown. The colonial masters created sugar plantations and brought slaves from Africa to work on the farms. This continued right until 1834 when slavery was abolished. In 1937, following protests caused by poor economic conditions on the island, politician and lawyer Grantley Adams created the Barbados Labor Party (B.L.P.) as an agent for social change and national emancipation. Adams became Barbados’s first Premier who led the colony into the 10-member West Indian Federation from 1958 to 1962. Barbados returned to its former status as self-governing following the termination of the Federation in 1962.

Despite the B.L.P’s agenda, the island’s unemployment rate continued unabated, spurring air navigator Errol Walton Barrow to form the Democratic League (later becoming the Democratic Labor Party (D.L.P.)) in 1955. Errol Barrow and D.L.P. began to push for the independence and sovereignty of Barbados.

On November 30, 1966, Barbados became an independent state with the passing of the Barbados Independence Act 1966 by the United Kingdom’s Parliament. Errol Barrow became the first Prime Minister of independent Barbados and devoted his tenure to expanding the country’s tourism sector as a means of reducing the island’s sole dependence on sugar exports. He also extended the free education initiative to all levels and introduced national health insurance and social security policies. Despite Barbados’s independence from Britain, the island retained the British monarch as Head of State represented by the Governor-General until 2021. On November 30, 2021, Barbados became a republic and replaced Queen Elizabeth II with President Sandra Mason.

Barbados Independence Day timeline

1627
A New British Colony

Britons settle in Holetown and create a colony.

1937
For Social Change and National Emancipation

Politician Grantley Adams creates the Barbados Labor Party (B.L.P.).

1966
Independence Day!

Premier Errol Walton Barrow of the Democratic Labor Party leads Barbados to independence from Great Britain.

2021
Barbados Becomes a Republic

Barbados becomes a republic and replaces Queen Elizabeth II with President Sandra Mason.

Barbados Independence Day FAQs

What is Barbados famous for?

Barbados is known for having some of the most alluring beaches in the world, and the island country welcomes thousands of tourists every year. In terms of economy, sugarcane is the country’s largest export.

What are Barbadians also called?

Native Barbadians also refer to themselves as ‘Bajans’.

What is Barbados’s real name?

Descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands claimed the original name for Barbados was ‘Ichirouganaim’.

How long has Barbados been independent in 2021?

Barbados celebrated its 55th independence anniversary in 2021, and the government announced on September 15, 2020, that it intended to become a republic by November 30, 2021.

What happens on Independence Day in Barbados?

Independence celebrations run throughout November and include sports competitions, fairs, community events, and religious services. On Independence Day a grand parade is held, usually at the Garrison Savannah, the site of the original Independence ceremony in 1966.

Barbados Independence Day Activities

  1. Visit Barbados

    A great tourist destination full of warm and hospitable natives, the country invites everyone from all parts of the world to its Independence Day celebrations. Hotels, resorts, and guesthouses also offer special deals for tourists visiting for the national event.

  2. Remember the national heroes

    Take a moment to reflect on the selfless sacrifice made by various individuals who risked their lives for the freedom and liberation of Barbados. These people are the real heroes deserving national recognition.

  3. Grace the Independence Day celebrations

    If you’re ever in Barbados in November, you can grace the various social events that run throughout the month. A grand parade is held on Independence Day at the Garrison Savannah, the site of the original Independence ceremony in 1966.

5 Interesting Facts About Barbados

  1. What’s in the name?

    The name ‘Barbados’ is derived from the Bearded Fig Trees once found in abundance on the island.

  2. It’s Rihanna’s home country

    Pop star Rihanna was born in Barbados, and she frequently visits the island.

  3. Tiger Woods got married there

    Tiger Woods got married on the beautiful island in 2004, hosting lots of celebrity guests, including Michael Jordan.

  4. Home to the world’s oldest rum

    Barbados not only produces the world’s oldest rum, but it’s also home to over 1,500 rum shops located all over the island.

  5. Barbadians are huge cricket fans

    The national sport of Barbados is cricket, and you can watch an exciting match at the Kensington Oval, their local stadium.

Why We Love Barbados Independence Day

  1. The doggedness of the national leaders

    Nationalists like Sir Grantley Adams and Rt. Hon. Errol Walton Barrow led initiatives to see that Barbados became a free state. It was their bravery, determination, and leadership that resulted in the country’s independence.

  2. The nightly picturesque view

    Barbados Independence Day is a national event known for the decorative lighting of the Parliament buildings, Independence Square, and the Independence Arch with blue and gold bulbs. You can also see the national colors adorning offices and highways throughout the capital city of Bridgetown. All of these create a mind-blowing view at night throughout the capital city.

  3. The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA)

    The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) is another highlight of the Barbados Independence Day celebrations. Running throughout November, the festival showcases the artistic talents of Barbadians through music, dance, drama, writing, photography, and arts and crafts.

Barbados Independence Day dates

YearDateDay
2023November 30Thursday
2024November 30Saturday
2025November 30Sunday
2026November 30Monday
2027November 30Tuesday

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