In the 1600s the British arrived to Barbados as indentured servants also immigrated
to gain lands they were unable to obtain in Great Britain. Because most of this
early labor force arrived from the United Kingdom, and not Africa like most of the
Caribbean, the culture was almost wholly British at this time.
This British-based culture was short-lived; after sugarcane was introduced to the
island, many land owners came to the realization it was cheaper to work African
slaves than British indentured servants, increasing the African population as this
group of people soon became the dominant people on the island. Despite this, the
British culture was strongly engrained in the people by this point and many of these
cultural aspects were passed on to the slaves.
Over time the African population had taken over the majority on the island and there
are aspects of African roots in the culture, but the island remains distinctly British
in many ways. From an organizational level, and in the way of social projects and
programs, the British influence is impossible to miss. The foods, dress, and manners
are also distinctly British as is the language. However, African roots are also
seen, particularly in music and many foods.
Despite the many similarities with both the United Kingdom and Africa, Barbados
maintains its own lifestyle, foods, and traditions which take aspects of both of
these cultures. These unique aspects of Barbados primarily come from their location,
their weather, and their people, who are rooted in Africa, but heavily influenced