Sir Garfield Sobers, born in Bridgetown in July 1936, was the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1970, achieving 8,032 runs and 235 wickets in 93 Test matches.
Austin Ardinel Chesterfield Clarke, born in St James,
Barbados, in July 1934, won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize with his tenth published novel, The Polished Hoe.
Barbados, the most easterly of the Caribbean islands, lies south of St Lucia, east of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and north of Trinidad and Tobago.
Bridgetown (capital and only seaport, pop. 94,200 in 2010), Speightstown (2,400), Bathsheba (1,600), Holetown (1,500) and Oistins (1,500); extensive spread of hotels and apartments along the coast.
A good road network of 1,600km (virtually all paved) covers the entire island, with a trans-insular highway from Bridgetown to the east coast.
Bridgetown is a deep-water port with a cruiseship terminal and yacht harbour.
Grantley Adams International Airport is 13km east of Bridgetown.
Barbados is a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, Association of Caribbean States, Caribbean Community, Non-Aligned Movement, Organization of American States, United Nations and World Trade Organization.
Barbados is a comparatively flat island, rising in a series of terraced tablelands to Mount Hillaby at 336m. The northeast (Scotland area) is broken, eroded and rocky. The rest of the island is coral limestone crossed with deep river-bed gullies which fill with water during heavy rain. There are no permanent rivers. On the east coast, much of the shoreline is rocky, pounded by a strong surf; elsewhere, natural coral reefs surround turquoise seas and beaches of white sand.
Mild subtropical. In the December-June dry season cooling north-east trade winds blow steadily; the wet season is humid and hotter, but the climate is generally pleasant even then, thanks to sea-breezes. The island is on the southern edge of the West Indian hurricane zone.
The most significant environmental issues are pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; and the threatened contamination of the underground water supply by illegal disposal of solid waste.
Vestiges of indigenous forest cover 19 per cent of the land area and there was no significant loss of forest cover during 1990–2011. Sugar cane and food crops predominate in rural areas. There is a rich diversity of tropical flowers and flowering trees.
Natural wildlife has largely been displaced by sugar cane but the Barbados Wildlife Reserve was established in 1985 in the Scotland district, its 1.6 hectares of mature mahogany trees being the home of the Barbados green monkey and the red-footed Barbados tortoise.