Barbados Government and Politics

State and politics

Barbados Country Flag

Reference: Barbados Flag Meaning

According to, Barbados is an independent state within the British Commonwealth.  The British monarch is head of state and is represented on the spot by a general governor. He appoints the person who holds a majority in the National Assembly as prime minister and, on the proposal of the prime minister, also other ministers. Parliament consists of two chambers: a Senate with 21 members, appointed by the Governor-General, and a National Assembly with 30 members, elected in general elections for a maximum of five years. The voting age is 18 years.

In the January 2008 parliamentary elections, the Leftist Democratic Labor Party (DLP) won back the government power it lost in 1994, and the moderate Social Democratic Party Barbados Labor Party (BLP) went into opposition. DLP leader David Thompson became prime minister. Contributing causes of BLP’s loss were price increases and allegations of corruption. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of BB and its meanings of Barbados.

David Thompson died of cancer in 2010 and was succeeded by Deputy Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. He succeeded somewhat unexpectedly in retaining the Prime Minister post after the 2013 election, which was won by DLP despite many expecting a change of power. See also History.


The material right is largely English-inspired. The judiciary consists of magistrates ‘courts, the Justices’ Appeal Court and the Supreme Court. The highest court is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. The death penalty can be punished for some serious crimes.

History and Politics

The first residents of Barbados

Barbados was first settled by saladoids from South America around 350 AD. A second wave of immigration came to the island with the Arawak tribe around 800. These Arawak were displaced in the 13th century by the island Caribs, which were called Kalinago.

Portuguese and Spaniards

In 1536 the Portuguese Pedro Campos arrived in Barbados and gave the island its name, probably because the aerial roots of the fig trees reminded him of beards. Soon afterwards the Spaniards advanced. They deported the local population to other islands, where they had to work as slaves on the plantations. The rest fled. Barbados remains orphaned.

English settlers

In 1625 the British came to the island and in 1627 the settlement began. Plantations for tobacco, cotton and ginger were created. Slaves from other British colonial areas were brought in to work there. Sugar cane was grown from the 1640s and became the main crop. The number of black slaves increased over the next few years and in 1700 far exceeded the number of white settlers. Barbados remained a British colony until 1966.

Abolition of slavery

In 1807, Britain banned the slave trade, but not slavery itself. In 1816 there was a major revolt, i.e. an uprising of 20,000 slaves. It was led by Bussa. But the uprising failed. The plantation owners executed many slaves and other rebels were taken away from the island. In 1834 slavery was also abolished. The slaves were released.

The way to independence

In 1938 the Barbados Labor Party was founded by a man named Grantley Adams. He became Prime Minister of Barbados in 1958. In 1966 the country was given independence, but remained a member of the Commonwealth. The British Queen is still the head of state, represented by a governor. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has been since 2018.

Barbados Head of Government

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