Discover Our Island History & Culture

After the first English settlement at Holetown in 1627, Barbados remained a British colony until achieving independence from Britain more than 50 years ago on November 30th 1966.

Grantley Adams (later Knighted to 'Sir') was the first Premier who led Barbados in the West Indies Federation from 1958 until 1962 - you may recognise his name from our international airport.

Termination of the Federation caused Barbados to return to self-government, but on November 30th 1966, the island was led to Independence by Premier Errol Walton Barrow who became our first Prime Minister. 

That first independence ceremony was accompanied by the raising of the Barbados national flag, and playing of the national anthem for the first time. 


Designed by school master and Education Officer Grantley Prescod, the national flag of Barbados comprises of three vertical panels - the centre panel is gold and the outer panels are ultramarine. A broken trident in black is located in the centre of the flag.

Blue represents the sea and sky of Barbados, gold the sand of the island's beaches, and the Trident symbolises the mythical sea god, Neptune; the trident's broken shaft signifies Barbados' break from Britain.


Irving Louis Burgie, sometimes known professionally as Lord Burgess, was an American musician and songwriter, regarded as one of the greatest composers of Caribbean music. He composed 34 songs for Harry Belafonte, including eight of the 11 songs on the Belafonte album Calypso (1956), the first album of any kind to sell one million copies.

The chorus of our anthem expresses the pride and optimism with which the Barbadian people approached Independence then, as well as now:

"We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate."

Independence celebrations run throughout the month of November and include sports competitions, fairs, community events and religious services.

On Independence Day a grand parade is held, usually at the Garrison Savannah, site of the original Independence ceremony in 1966.

As a proud, Bajan, family-owned company, at Ocean Hotels Barbados on November 30, 2022, we'll be celebrating our staff and guests as Barbados marks 56 years of Independence and our first year as a Republic.