Timeline of Barbadian history

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This is a timeline of Barbadian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Barbados and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Barbados and History of the Caribbean. See also the list of governors and prime ministers of Barbados.


16th century

151123 DecemberBarbados first appears on Spanish maps and is referred to by King Ferdinand of Spain as Los Barbudos (Barbados), along with Cobaco (Tobago), and Mayo (unknown).
15123 JulyKing Ferdinand mentions that on the islands of Los Barbudos, Dominica, Martino (Martinique), Santa Lucia, San Vincente, La Asunción (Grenada), and Tavaco (Tobago), certain Indians called Caribs be captured due to their resistance towards Christianity.
1518The Spanish crown ordered Judge Rodrigo de Figueroa to determine which areas of the region were populated by Caribs. He reported 'Indians have been taken from Los Barbudos, the Gigantes (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) and elsewhere who are not Caribs nor proper to be slaves. Thereafter, the isles deemed to be non-Carib were: Trinidad, the Lucayas (Bahamas), Barbados, Gigantes and Margarita.
c. 1532-1536Portuguese explorer Pedro A. Campos discovers Barbados completely uninhabited, the island is claimed for the Portuguese.
1541Spanish commentator Alonza de Santa Cruz speaks of inhabitants of Barbados in the past-tense.

17th century

1620English Captain Simon Gordon may have first made a brief landing on Barbados. The Portuguese abandon Barbados.
1625Courteen dispatched Captain John Powell for the purpose of establishing a permanent settlement on the island, but the ship returned to England having not been able to locate the island. (to 1627)
Courteen dispatched a second envoy from England, led by Captain Henry Powell (brother of John Powell), on the ship known as the William and John.
JulyThe passing trade ship, "Olive Blossom" owned by English merchant William Courteen (and led by Chief Captain John Powell), landed at St. James Town and erect a cross with the inscription "for James K. of E. and this island", other personal items are left behind prior to departing for England.
162717 FebruaryEighty English settlers, with ten African slaves (captured-at-sea) aboard the ship William and John land at St. James Town. (to 20 February)
25 February English king Charles I gave Courten by Royal Letters Patent the proprietary ownership and title to various lands in the Southern Americas (which Courten applies towards claim of Barbados).
2 July Charles gave James Hay, the 1st Earl of Carlisle by Royal Letters Patent the proprietary ownership to Caribbee islands lying between ten and twenty degrees of latitude.
16285 JulyLord Carlisle as represented by Governor Charles Wolferstone (of Bermuda) establishes a settlement and the capital moves from Courteen's settlement at St. James Town to present location of Bridgetown. Under the authority of the Wolverstone the Governor appoints a Council composed of the main landowners to assist him in the governance of the island.
1629Forces of Carlisle's employ arrived in Barbados and arrested Courten's governor.
The colony became divided into six original parishes. A vestry framework for local government is devised, and parishes are administered by elected landowners who had the powers to tax and carry out basic municipal functions, such as road maintenance.
1639The parliament, (the House of Assembly then known as the House of Burgesses), held its first meeting. It was composed of sixteen landowners chosen by the Governor.
1640Sugar cultivation begins on the island.
1642 English Civil War: Large influx of both English Parliamentarians, and Royalists to island. (to 1651)
The British Parliament sends a fleet to blockade ports of Barbados, the island surrenders in December and agrees to recognise Charles II as King. (to 1651)
1645The colony became re subdivided into eleven parishes, each sending two representatives to the House of Assembly.
165211 JanuaryThe Barbados Charter (Treaty of Oistins) is signed between locals and The Crown, of which articles of agreement confirm the Assembly, and liberty of conscience.
The House and the Legislative Council (executive arm of government) began to hold separate sessions.
166818 AprilThe Bridgetown Magazine explodes, 80 Percent of Bridgetown (800 homes), are razed in a great fire.
16713 OctoberQuaker leader George Fox visits island.
1675MayFirst slave rebellion.
1660Charles II knights eleven gentlemen of Barbados. White indentured labourers (small-holders) are largely replaced by black slaves from West Africa (many from today's Ghana). (to 1680)
1680White labourers mostly leave, to Carolinas, (Charleston, South Carolina); and to other West Indian islands, especially Jamaica.
1682The sugar-producing planter class becomes dominant. They inter-marry with British aristocracy, and buy seats in the Parliament.

18th century

1733 Harrison College (formerly Harrison's Free School), is established by Bridgetown-merchant Thomas Harrison.
1745The Codrington College (grammar school), named after the late Christopher Codrington is established by the Anglican Church.
1750The Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi), then known as the "Forbidden Fruit Tree" is (for the first time), recorded through illustration in The Natural History of Barbados by Welshman, The Reverend Griffith Hughes.
1751November George Washington visits, making his only journey outside the American mainland. (to December)
1795British government establishes a permanent land force in the eastern Caribbean, based in Barbados.

19th century

181614–16 April Bussa's Rebellion, the largest slave revolt in Barbadian history.
1831Free coloured men who meet the property requirements, are given the right to vote for members of Parliament.
1833The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 is passed, ending the practice of slavery throughout the British Empire.
1834Slavery itself is abolished, and the descendants of enslaved and liberated Africans, which form the bulk of Barbados population begin a process of making inroads in society. Samuel Jackman Prescod becomes the first person of (partial) African descent to be elected to Parliament.
1835The Police Force is established.
186129 MarchThe introduction of piped water in Bridgetown.
1867The Harbour Police Force is established.
1875Uprisings (now known as the "Confederation riots") occurred due to efforts by the Imperial Crown to establish a Crown Colony government consisting of Barbados and the Windward Islands. (to 1876)
1881The Executive Council is created separate of the Upper House by an Act of local Parliament.
1882The Harbour Police Force is merged into the land-based Police Force.
1885Moves to Confederate isle with the Windward Islands is abandoned, the capital of the Windward Islands shifts to St. George, Grenada; and the island restores self-government as before.

20th century

1928MayThe introduction of The St. Michael Girls School.
1934 Grantley Adams is elected to the House of Assembly.
1937July Riots occur in Bridgetown.
1938MarchThe formation of the Barbados Progressive League-BPL. (The precursor of the Barbados Labour Party.)
1944Women secure the right to vote.
1946Election: The Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Grantley Adams becomes majority leader.
1951Election: The first election with universal adult suffrage.
1954Establishment of the "ministerial" system, with a cabinet, and the office of the Premier. Grantley Adams was appointed as the colony's first Premier.
1955The Democratic Labour Party-DLP (led by Errol Barrow), was formed as a breakaway element from the Barbados Labour Party.
1956Election: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Grantley Adams.
19583 JanuaryBarbados joined ten other British West Indian territories to form the West Indies Federation, led by Grantley Adams as the Prime Minister.
1961Election: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Errol Barrow who becomes Premier.
Barbados achieves full internal self-government.
10 MarchThe EC$28,000,000 Deep Water Harbour in Bridgetown is completed and officially opened. Construction commenced in 1956.
196231 MayThe West Indies Federation government collapses due to internal conflicts, Barbados reverts to internal self-governance.
1963The University of the West Indies opens a local campus at the Deep Water Harbour before moving to Cave Hill.
1964The Legislative Council is replaced by the Senate.
Voting age was reduced to 18.
1965Barbados ends its usage of the British West Indies dollar ("WID$"), it is replaced by the Eastern Caribbean Dollar ("XCD$") at par.
19663 NovemberElection: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Errol Barrow and is the last election before independence.
30 NovemberBarbados, (led by Errol Barrow as Prime Minister) received its independence from the United Kingdom
7 DecemberBarbados via United Nations Security Council Resolution 230 , is admitted to the United Nations.
1969 Barbados Community College (BCC) is established by the government of Barbados.
April 1. ANGLICAN CHURCH is disestablished by the ANGLICAN CHURCH (DATE OF DISESTABLISHMENT) ORDER, 1969, by the Minister under section 2 of the Anglican Church Act, Cap. 375.
1971House of Assembly changes to 24 single member constituencies.
9 SeptemberElection: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Errol Barrow
19722 MayThe local Central Bank was established by Act of parliament.
19734 JulyThe Treaty of Chaguaramas is signed by Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana to form CARICOM.
DecemberThe initial Barbados dollar ("BBD$") notes are issued for circulation by the Central Bank of Barbados ending the relationship with the Eastern Caribbean dollar.
19762 SeptemberElection: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by J.M.G.M "Tom" Adams
6 October Cubana Flight 455 is bombed shortly after taking off from the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport.
19772 NovemberAt the end of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, Concorde (G-BOAE) made its maiden voyage to Barbados; with Queen Elizabeth II experiencing her first supersonic flight to the United Kingdom. [1] [2]
197931 MarchThe United States Naval Facility (NAVFAC) officially closes at Harrison's Point, St. Lucy after being commissioned on 1 October 1957.
1981House of Assembly changes to 27 single member constituencies.
18 JuneElection: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP led by J.M.G.M "Tom" Adams
198325 OctoberOperation Urgent Fury begins. The United States, along with Barbados and other Caribbean nations forming the Caribbean Peace Force, invade Grenada removing the communist regime in power in mere days.
198511 MarchOn the death of J.M.G.M. "Tom" Adams, Harold Bernard St. John becomes 3rd Prime Minister.
198628 MayElection: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Errol Barrow
19871 JuneOn the death of Errol Barrow, Erskine Sandiford becomes 4th Prime Minister.
19898 MarchThe Queen marked the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Barbados Parliament. (to 11 March)
1991Elections: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Erskine Sandiford
House of Assembly changes to 28 single member constituencies.
1994Election: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Owen Arthur
1999Election: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Owen Arthur

21st century

2003House of Assembly changes to 30 single member constituencies.
21 MayElection: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Owen Arthur
30 AugustThe British Airways Concorde makes last commercial flight from Barbados to London.
200529 MarchA riot and fire breaks out at HM Glendairy Prison causing military personnel to be drawn from surrounding islands to put down the uprising. (to 30 March)
20061 JanuaryThe Caribbean Single Market and Economy comes into being and is implemented.
16 MarchThe Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) renders its first judgement, covering a libel case from Barbados Rediffusion Service Ltd v. Asha Mirchandani Ram Mirchandani (McDonald Farms Ltd). The case is a formal end of Barbados' 170+ year long relationship with the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC).
20074 MarchThe Cricket World Cup is held in the West Indies region. Barbados hosts several of the Warm Up and Super 8 matches along with the Final. (to 28 April)
200815 JanuaryElection: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by David Thompson
201031 JanuaryUK's Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho hosted the Sentebale Charity Polo Event in Barbados.
30 AprilSeveral nations in the region, host the ICC World Twenty20 event, this included the finals held in Barbados. (to 16 May)
3 SeptemberThe Tudor Street store, Campus Trendz is razed in a brazen robbery. Leading to a national day of mourning on 10 September. [3] [4]
23 OctoberOn the death of David Thompson, Freundel Stuart becomes 7th Prime Minister.
201125 JuneHistoric Bridgetown and its Garrison were added as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
SeptemberThe introduction of Sixth Form into The St. Michael School and The Christ Church Foundation School.
2013FebruaryElection: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Freundel Stuart
20175 DecemberThe EU publishes a blacklist of 17 Non-EU jurisdictions, Barbados included, who are accused of offering tax avoidance schemes. Barbados would be later removed.
201824 MayElection: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Mia Mottley, party won all 30 seats of Parliament. Mottley becomes the first female Prime Minister of Barbados.
202017 MarchThe SARS-CoV2 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Barbados with the announcement of the first two cases.
15 SeptemberGovernor General Sandra Mason announces Barbados's intent to remove the Monarchy of Barbados and to become a republic.
20219 April La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent begins erupting, leading to two weeks of ash fall over Barbados followed by gov't led national cleanup.
20 October Sandra Mason is elected by both houses of parliament to become the first President of Barbados.
30 NovemberBarbados transitions from a Commonwealth realm to a Commonwealth republic after abolishing the Monarchy of Barbados.The position of Governor-General is replaced by the President.
202219 JanuaryElection: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Mia Mottley, party won all 30 seats of Parliament for a consecutive time.
26 January Santia Bradshaw is made the first deputy prime minister after a 12-year vacancy of the position.
20 JuneA review commission is formed and sworn in by the acting President Jeffrey Gibson to begin the process of drafting a new constitution and is to be completed by the end of 2024.

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  1. Queen Elizabeth II (January 2010). "Queen and Barbados: Royal visits" . Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  2. Burleigh, Craig (2008). "Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee in Barbados ends with her first flight on Concorde on a record setting flight back to London Heathrow" . Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  3. "Six dead in arson attack in Bridgetown, Barbados". Wikinews. 6 September 2010.
  4. BBC Caribbean News in Brief: Mourning for fire deaths, 08/09/2010, BBC News