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Independence Day

Barbados has a rich tradition of trading sugar. Throughout the history of Barbados many different merchants had visited the island in order to trade for sugar which was highly valuable. However, during the turn of the 20th century, the sugar industry was having an adverse effect on the islands economy. Hurt by competition from European sugar beet and disease, workers had to cut costs. As 90% of the of the land was owned by the planters, many different workers were forced to emigrate.

Many different residents had moved to islands such as Brazil, Trinidad, and Panama to name but a few. Many different residents were forced to move further a field as the situation in Barbados worsened. For the first time labourers were allowed to buy land from planters as debts rose dramatically. Between the years 1900 and 1920, the number of estates had dropped form 437 to 305 and more than 60 estates were converted into free villages. Many of the different labourers in Barbados were submitted to starvation and the country was in a state of panic. Many of the plantation owner desperately tried to modernise their debt ridden industry. The keys to the resurgence of the sugar trade and the economy was the development of new fertilisers, and the introduction of a new kind of sugar cane. This gave profitable results and by 1900 the old “Bourbon”type of sugar cane was replaced by the new “White transparent” cane. Britain noticed the struggle in Barbados with Sir Henry Norman looking into the problems. Britain invested large sums of money into Barbados’s sugar industry, with £80,000 being granted to the nation in 1903. With the increase in capital Barbados set up the Sugar Industry Agriculture Bank, to grant loans to planters so the sugar trade could grow again. Another £50,000 was given for plantation repairs after the 1898 hurricane. Barbados started feeling the benefit of the easy access into the British market. Although the island’s economy was in better financial standing, the majority of the public was still in trouble as the cruel forces of nations squashed any positivity about the economy. The natural forces began in 1898 as a Hurricane hit the island. 80 people were killed and 18,000 ramshackle houses were destroyed. This was terrible for the nation as the chances of dysentery and typhoid increasing among the poor. In 1902, an epidemic of smallpox struck, followed by yellow fever. It is quite clear to see that this was an extremely hard time for Barbados with nearly everything going wrong. Even with all of the troubles, the Barbadian government did nothing to improve health, sanitation, or improve the standard of living. Poverty really took its toll on the locals, as children were dragged to school until they were old enough to work. Meanwhile the richer children didn’t experience this torrid time and enjoyed education in glamorous schools such as Queens college, Codrington high, and Harrison college. During the start of the 20th century local Barbadians had an extraordinary time with wage freezes taking place for 100 years, with workers being paid one shilling (five pence) a day. This sparked rage throughout the people of Barbados. Emancipation had occurred 100 years earlier but the equality had not followed. Riots in the streets followed with Clement Payne lead the riots which later resulted in him being deported. Crowds gathered to protest his deportation. This lead to massive changed in politics with Barbaods’s first general election taking place in 1951. However, it was during the year 1966 when Barbados was pronounced as a free nation inside the commonwealth. This lead to upturns amongst the Bajan people with times changing for the better. Today Barbados’s economy is looking bright with Barbados being announced as one of the top ten developing countries in the world.

Independence day is celebrated on November 30th and like all tradition Bajan celebrations it takes place during the whole month of November. One of the most scenic sites is during independence day. The streets of Bridgetown is lit with bulbs during the event. This is a truly fluorescent occasion with the whole nation getting together to celebrate their independence. Other events that take place during Independence day include: Religious gatherings,hikes, competitions, and community events.

Independence day is extremely important for all residents of Barbados. The locals are passionate about their country which is shown by the variety of different events that take place. You definitely wont be disappointed as the island comes alive. You will be able to join in with the celebrations as you experience the wonders of Barbados whether it be experiencing the food, weather, or intoxication atmosphere.

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