Of course, when you think of Barbados, crystal blue waters, stunning beaches, Carnival, and of course Rihanna probably come to mind.  But here are 10 facts about this Caribbean island that make its history and culture even more fascinating.

1. The original inhabitants of Barbados were a peaceful tribe of Indians called Arawaks. It is believed that they eventually settled in Barbados due to its coral reefs, lack of dense rain forests, fertile soil, and abundance of clay and conch shells.

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2. After 300 years as a British colony, Barbados gained independence on November 30, 1967.

3. Barbados has a special dialect of English called Bajan. Its origin dates back to the times when slaves were brought to Barbados and forced to speak English. This language then became a way of communication among enslaved Africans, much to the disadvantage of their slave masters who had difficulty understanding what was being communicated.

4. Barbados has over 3000 hours of sunshine a year and has high daytime temperatures averaging 86 degrees most of the year.

5. Coucou and flying fish is the national dish of Barbados. Coucou is a cornmeal product made with ocra. Flying fish don’t actually fly but propel themselves very quickly with their fins.

6.  Mauby is one of the local drinks found in Barbados. It is made from sugar and the barks of certain trees. But Barbados is also well known for its Rum Punch.

7. Barbados is home to a lot of Green Monkeys, a species of monkey that originates from Senegal and neighboring countries. These monkeys came to Barbados on slave ships.

8. With 56 miles of coral reefs along its coastline, Barbados is a sought-after destination for divers.

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9. Although Barbados is 3000 miles away from West Africa, it often experiences high amounts of dust coming from the Sahara.

10. Barbados derives its name from Portuguese and Spanish for “The Bearded Ones”. The term is most likely in reference to the hanging roots of the indigenous bearded fig trees.

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