Barbados

Welcome back, fanatics! Another 14 days, another post. I am on a roll, here! This post will be the third in The Flag Review series. Take a look at my other two posts if you have the time.

This review will be focusing on the flag of Barbados. Let’s get started!

Barbados is an island nation situated in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. The country has a long colonial history, dating back to the 16th century, when the first Portuguese explorers discovered the island. The English laid claim to the island in 1625, establishing the island’s first European colony. Before the colonists arrived, Barbados was inhabited by the native Arawaks and Caribs. By the time the European colonists arrived, however, very few natives still resided on the island. Most interactions between the English and the native population came from conflicts with the indegenous people who lived on the neighboring islands of St. Vincent and St. Lucia.

A map of the Caribbean. Barbados is circled in red.
Original Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The introduction of sugar cane in Barbados dramatically altered the English farming colony. Originally, the agriculture was mostly tobacco and cotton, both of which did not fare well on the island. Sugar cane, however, proved to be successful, and many of the farms began growing the crop. With the high demand for cheap labor (sugar cane required a large number of workers to grow), the colonists shifted from using European indentured servants to slaves from Africa. Sugar would continue to be the most important crop for the colony well into the 20th century. 

It wasn’t until 1966 that Barbados officially declared its independence from the United Kingdom. With a new nation came the need for a new flag to represent it. A contest was held to design the new country’s flag. Of the over 1000 submissions in the contest, the commission selected the design by Grantley Prescod and on November 30, 1966, the design was officially adopted as the flag of Barbados.

On to the flag’s design!

The flag of Barbados is made up of three vertical bands of equal length. The hoist and fly bands are a dark blue, representing the seas of the Caribbean, and the center band is a gold/yellow, for the golden sands of the Barbadian beaches. In the center of the flag is a trident head in black. The trident’s shaft is purposely missing to represent the nation’s break from its colonial ties. The flag’s ratio is two to three, a personal favorite of mine.

The flag of Barbados. The broken trident symbolizes the country’s separation from the United Kingdom in 1966.

Already three posts into my blog and I am repeating myself, but the message is important: simple is almost always better. Mr. Prescod clearly understood this when he designed his country’s flag. Three vertical bands is a common design seen on many national flags. But where Barbados really shines is in the usage of an emblem. Like Canada, it features a plain, but unique symbol as the focus. It isn’t some national seal or messy image slapped in last-minute. It doesn’t require a magnifying glass to discern a shape or figure. Its meaning is clear without using more words than necessary. The flag of Barbados is proof that quality is better than quantity.

Thanks for reading!


Sources

Barbados Government. (n.d.). Archeological History. Barbados Government. Retrieved 2 27, 2021, from https://www.gov.bb/Visit-Barbados/history

Barbados Government. (n.d.). Flag Etiquette. Barbados Government. Retrieved 2 27, 2021, from https://www.gov.bb/Visit-Barbados/flag-etiquette#

Central Intelligence Agency. (2021). Barbados. The World Factbook 2021. https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/nepal/flag

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade of Barbados. (2011). The Flag of Barbados. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Retrieved 2 27, 2021, from https://web.archive.org/web/20111113032824/http://foreign.gov.bb/pageselect.cfm?page=27

Poyer, J. (1808). The history of Barbados. J Mawman. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_history_of_Barbados/4xYUAwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0

Prescod, Grantley. (n.d.). The Caribbean Memory Project. Retrieved 2 27, 2021, from https://www.caribbeanmemoryproject.com/prescod-grantley.html