History of Barbados

Do you need a peek back into the history of Barbados? Are you interested in Barbados history? Well, a visit to the Barbados museum is a must-do activity for both visitors and locals alike… At the Museum and Historical Society, you can journey into Barbados History by viewing the many exhibits on display. Even the museum’s location is the taste of bygone Barbados.

Situated in what used to be a beautiful nineteenth-century military prison the museum is the heart of what is known as the Garrison Historic Area. This popular attraction area comprises George Washington House, St. Ann’s Fort, The National Cannon Collection, and the Military Cemetery.

The Barbados museum is home to the important history of Barbados… you will find interesting exhibitions of natural history, Barbadian social history, military history, African artifacts, prints, and paintings.

History of Barbados Frequently Asked Questions


Barbados has a rich and complex history that dates back to prehistoric times. The island was initially inhabited by Amerindian tribes, who lived off the land and left behind archaeological evidence of their presence. In the 17th century, Barbados became a British colony and developed a booming sugar industry, fueled by enslaved Africans who were forcibly brought to the island. This dark chapter in its history eventually led to the abolition of slavery in 1834, and Barbados gained its independence from Britain in 1966. Today, it is known for its vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, and thriving tourism industry.

Barbados became a republic on November 30, 2021. This marked a significant milestone in the country's history as it ended its status as a constitutional monarchy and became a fully sovereign and independent nation. The decision to become a republic was made to further assert Barbados' national identity and strengthen its democracy.

Barbados Museum

The History of Barbados

Barbados history revealed… that’s how we describe a trip around the island. You see the island’s rich cultural heritage can be seen all across the beautiful landscape. Whether it is the islands parliament which is the third oldest in the Western hemisphere, or any one of the many nineteenth-century plantation mansions that dates back to the island’s rich colonial past.

However, there is more to the fascinating history of Barbados than the colonial architecture of the island’s historic mansions or even its parliament. That’s where the Barbados Museum and Historical Society comes in.
At the museum Barbados rich heritage definitely comes to life, artifacts showcase the island’s cultural heritage and natural history that date back to the island’s early inhabitants.

History of Barbados in Museums and Galleries’

Discover the history of Barbados in the fascinating galleries you’ll find at the 75-year-old Barbados Museum and Historical Society… The Harewood Gallery is your opportunity to step back into the history of Barbados… to a time before Independence. You’ll definitely be fascinated by this Barbados… which so resembles the colonial mother country that the island was known as “Little England”.

The Jubilee Gallery vividly depicts the influence of European settlers on the island… Aspects of the island’s history showcased from this period would be the establishment of the third oldest parliament in the Western Hemisphere. The emergence of the plantation system and the influence of European-based religion on the development of the island.

The Children’s Gallery is a must-visit for all the little ones whether locals or visitors… this section definitely is a favourite with everyone. Here you’ll have a first-hand look at Barbados history, as this gallery depicts through exhibition much of the practical history of Barbados.

Items featured here include the Handmade scooter, The Standpipe, The Guttaperk, Mortar and Pestle, and the old-time Rocklyn bus.

The Warmington Gallery highlights the history of the island from the 18th century to the late 19th century. You’ll definitely get a look at what life was like for the planter class of the island during this period. The lavish lifestyle acquired from the wealth of the island’s sugar industry is showcased through this exhibition; you’ll see furniture of this era including a locally made mahogany four-poster bed from the 1830s.

The Barbados Museum and Historical Society really depict the history of Barbados and its rich cultural heritage through its many galleries and research library, which comprises documents dating back to the 17th century.

Tour Historic Garrison and Its Museum

If you are looking for a Barbados experience that goes deeper than fun on the beach, join this walking tour. Perfect for those with an interest in the history of Barbados, the tour takes you around the Garrison Historic Area

  • Walking tour of the Garrison Historic Area: Ideal for history lovers
  • Includes use of audio headset: Don’t miss any of your guide’s
  • information Includes snacks and bottled water: No need to bring your
  • own Get insight into the history of Barbados from your guide
  • Book Tour of Historic Garrison and Its Museum

Other Attractions That Captures The History of Barbados

In Barbados you are never far away from an amazing attraction. Here are other popular attractions where the history of Barbados will unfold before your eyes. These are the city of Bridgetown and the Mount Gay Visitor Center.

Bridgetown Parliament
Bridgetown Barbados

Historic Bridgetown which recently celebrated its 350th anniversary is the capital of Barbados. The city is home to the oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere and the third oldest parliament in the British Commonwealth.

Learn more about Historic Bridgetown

Mount Gay Visitor Center
Mount Gay Visitors Center

Mount Gay Visitors Center and Rum Tours is perhaps the most frequently visited of all the Barbados tourist attractions. Here you will gain an educational insight into the history of the world’s oldest rum. 

Learn more about The Mount Gay Visitor Center