Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook
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This easternmost of all Caribbean isles is heir to a long British Colonial heritage and is popular with English tourists. Barbados boasts soft, sandy beaches to the west, rugged Atlantic surf to the east, a chance to explore bygone plantation life, and enough natural wonders to fill several days.
Sugar plantations, rum distilleries, and modern, beachfront resorts all reflect a rich history and a prosperous present. With the tourist economy responsible for 75% of the island’s income, you’ll find pleasant shopping opportunities right at the pier, but the island really begins to shine when you head out of town to visit the rolling hills of “Scotland,” the tropical ravines, and the beautiful coastline.
Named Barbados (“bearded ones”) by the Portuguese, presumably for the abundant “bearded” fig trees, the only Spanish cultural contribution was the disease that annihilated the native Carib Indians. This coral island, lifted from the seabed by plate tectonics, is underlain by subterranean freshwater lakes and caverns, and its soil has been enriched by volcanic ash fall from islands to the northwest. The English arrived in 1627 to raise cotton and tobacco, but soon switched to sugar cane. Slavery was key to the island economy, and a brief slave revolt in 1816 preceded emancipation in 1834. If someone tells you, “George Washington slept here,” believe it. He brought his brother here for the tuberculosis “cure” (which didn’t succeed), and the president-to-be caught his famous case of smallpox here. Washington swore off all foreign travel after that ill-fated visit, ensuring that he was home when his country called. Sugar (and rum) remained the principal business well into the late 20th century. Home to the world’s third-oldest parliamentary government, Barbados was ruled by the British until independence in 1966.
Top Photo Slice: Barbados Beach (℗ 53362) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx
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