Timeline of Barbadian history

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This is a timeline of Barbadian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Barbados and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Barbados and History of the Caribbean. See also the list of Governors and Prime Ministers of Barbados.

Centuries: 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1511 23 December Barbados first appears on Spanish maps and is referred to by King Ferdinand of Spain as Los Barbudos (Barbados), along with Cobaco (Tobago), and Mayo (unknown).
1512 3 July King Ferdinand mentions that on the islands of Los Barbudos, Dominica, Martino (Martinique), Santa Lucia, San Vincente, La Asunción (Grenada), and Tavaco (Tobago), certain Indians called Caribs could be captured due to their resistance towards Christianity.
1518 The Spanish crown ordered Judge Rodrigo de Figueroa to determine which areas of the region were populated by Caribs. He reported 'Indians have been taken from Los Barbudos, the Gigantes (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) and elsewhere who are not Caribs nor proper to be slaves. Thereafter, the isles deemed to be non-Carib were: Trinidad, the Lucayas (Bahamas), Barbados, Gigantes and Margarita.
1541 Spanish commentator Alonza de Santa Cruz speaks of inhabitants of Barbados in the past-tense.
1563 Portuguese explorer Pedro Campos or Pedro Campas, is said to have landed on Barbados and also found it uninhabited.

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1620 English Captain Simon Gordon may have first made a brief landing on Barbados.
1625 Courteen dispatched Captain John Powell for the purpose of establishing a permanent settlement on the island, but the ship returned to England having not been able to locate the island. (to 1627)
Courteen dispatched a second envoy from England, led by Captain Henry Powell (brother of John Powell), on the ship known as the William and John.
July The passing trade ship, "Olive Blossom" owned by English merchant William Courteen (and led by Chief Captain John Powell), landed at St. James Town and erect a cross with the inscription "for James K. of E. and this island", other personal items are left behind prior to departing for England.
1627 17 February Eighty English settlers, with ten African slaves (captured-at-sea) aboard the ship William and John land at St. James Town. (to 20 February)
25 February English king Charles I gave Courten by Royal Letters Patent the proprietary ownership and title to various lands in the Southern Americas (which Courten applies towards claim of Barbados).
2 July Charles gave James Hay, the 1st Earl of Carlisle by Royal Letters Patent the proprietary ownership to Caribbee islands lying between ten and twenty degrees of latitude.
1628 5 July Lord Carlisle as represented by Governor Charles Wolferstone (of Bermuda) establishes a settlement and the capital moves from Courteen's settlement at St. James Town to present location of Bridgetown. Under the authority of the Wolverstone the Governor appoints a Council composed of the main landowners to assist him in the governance of the island.
1629 Forces of Carlisle's employ arrived in Barbados and arrested Courten's governor.
The colony became divided into six original parishes. A vestry framework for local government is devised, and parishes are administered by elected landowners who had the powers to tax and carry out basic municipal functions, such as road maintenance.
1639 The parliament, (the House of Assembly then known as the House of Burgesses), held its first meeting. It was composed of sixteen landowners chosen by the Governor.
1640 Sugar cultivation begins on the island.
1642 English Civil War: Large influx of both English Parliamentarians, and Royalists to island. (to 1651)
The British Parliament sends a fleet to blockade ports of Barbados, the island surrenders in December and agrees to recognise Charles II as King. (to 1651)
1645 The colony became re subdivided into eleven parishes, each sending two representatives to the House of Assembly.
1652 11 January The Barbados Charter (Treaty of Oistins) is signed between locals and The Crown, of which articles of agreement confirm the Assembly, and liberty of conscience.
The House and the Legislative Council (executive arm of government) began to hold separate sessions.
1668 18 April The Bridgetown Magazine explodes, 80 Percent of Bridgetown (800 homes), are razed in a great fire.
1671 3 October Quaker leader George Fox visits island.
1675 May First slave rebellion.
1660 Charles II knights eleven gentlemen of Barbados. White indentured labourers (small-holders) are largely replaced by black slaves from West Africa (many from today's Ghana). (to 1680)
1680 White labourers mostly leave, to Carolinas, (Charleston, South Carolina); and to other West Indian islands, especially Jamaica.
1682 The sugar-producing planter class becomes dominant. They inter-marry with British aristocracy, and buy seats in the Parliament.

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1733 Harrison College (formerly Harrison's Free School), is established by Bridgetown-merchant Thomas Harrison.
1745 The Codrington College (grammar school), named after the late Christopher Codrington is established by the Anglican Church.
1750 The Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi), then known as the "Forbidden Fruit Tree" is (for the first time), recorded through illustration in The Natural History of Barbados by Welshman, The Reverend Griffith Hughes.
1751 November George Washington visits, making his only journey outside the American mainland. (to December)
1795 British government establishes a permanent land force in the eastern Caribbean, based in Barbados.

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1816 14–16 April Bussa's Rebellion, the largest slave revolt in Barbadian history.
1831 Free coloured men who meet the property requirements, are given the right to vote for members of Parliament.
1833 The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 is passed, ending the practice of slavery throughout the British Empire.
1834 Slavery itself is abolished, and the descendants of enslaved and liberated Africans, which form the bulk of Barbados population begin a process of making inroads in society. Samuel Jackman Prescod becomes the first person of (partial) African descent to be elected to Parliament.
1835 The Police Force is established.
1861 29 March The introduction of piped water in Bridgetown.
1867 The Harbour Police Force is established.
1875 Uprisings (now known as the "Confederation riots") occurred due to efforts by the Imperial Crown to establish a Crown Colony government consisting of Barbados and the Windward Islands. (to 1876)
1881 The Executive Council is created separate of the Upper House by an Act of local Parliament.
1882 The Harbour Police Force is merged into the land-based Police Force.
1885 Moves to Confederate isle with the Windward Islands is abandoned, the capitol of the Windward Islands shifts to St. George, Grenada; and the island restores self-government as before.

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1928 May The introduction of The St. Michael Girls School.
1934 Grantley Adams is elected to the House of Assembly.
1937 July Riots occur in Bridgetown.
1938 March The formation of the Barbados Progressive League-BPL. (The precursor of the Barbados Labour Party.)
1944 Women secure the right to vote.
1946 Election: The Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Grantley Adams becomes majority leader.
1951 Election: The first election with universal adult suffrage.
1954 Establishment of the "ministerial" system, with a cabinet, and the office of the Premier. Grantley Adams was appointed as the colony's first Premier.
1955 The Democratic Labour Party-DLP (led by Errol Barrow), was formed as a breakaway element from the Barbados Labour Party.
1956 Election: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Grantley Adams.
1958 3 January Barbados joined ten other British West Indian territories to form the West Indies Federation, led by Grantley Adams as the Prime Minister.
1960 31 May The West Indies Federation government collapses due to internal conflicts, Barbados reverts to internal self-governance.
1961 Election: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Errol Barrow who becomes Premier.
Barbados achieves full internal self-government.
10 March The EC$28,000,000 Deep Water Harbour in Bridgetown is completed and officially opened. Construction commenced in 1956.
1963 The University of the West Indies opens a local campus at the Deep Water Harbour before moving to Cave Hill.
1964 The Legislative Council is replaced by the Senate.
Voting age was reduced to 18.
1966 30 November Barbados, (led by Errol Barrow as Prime Minister) received its independence from the United Kingdom
1969 Barbados Community College (BCC) is established by the government of Barbados.
1969 April 1st. ANGLICAN CHURCH is disestablished by the ANGLICAN CHURCH (DATE OF DISESTABLISHMENT) ORDER, 1969, by the Minister under section 2 of the Anglican Church Act, Cap. 375.
1971 House of Assembly changes to 24 single member constituencies.
Election: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Errol Barrow
1972 2 May The local Central Bank was established by Act of parliament.
1976 2 September Election: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by J.M.G.M "Tom" Adams
6 October Cubana Flight 455 is bombed shortly after taking off from the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport.
1977 2 November At the end of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, Concorde (G-BOAE) made its maiden voyage to Barbados; with Queen Elizabeth II experiencing her first supersonic flight to the United Kingdom.[1][2]
1979 31 March The United States Navy Facility (NAVFAC) officially closes at Harrison's Point, St. Lucy after being commissioned on 1 October 1957.
1981 House of Assembly changes to 27 single member constituencies.
Election: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Errol Barrow
1985 The Barbados Wildlife Reserve at Farley Hill, St. Peter is opened.
1986 Election: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Errol Barrow
1989 8 March The Queen marked the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Barbados Parliament. (to 11 March)
1991 Elections: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Erskine Sandiford
House of Assembly changes to 28 single member constituencies.
1994 Election: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Owen Arthur
1999 Election: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Owen Arthur

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2003 House of Assembly changes to 30 single member constituencies.
21 May Election: Won by Barbados Labour Party-BLP, led by Owen Arthur
30 August The British Airways Concorde makes last commercial flight from Barbados to London.
2005 29 March A riot and fire breaks out at HM Glendairy Prison causing military personnel to be drawn from surrounding islands to put down the uprising. (to 30 March)
2006 16 March The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) renders its first judgement, covering a libel case from Barbados – Rediffusion Service Ltd v. Asha Mirchandani Ram Mirchandani (McDonald Farms Ltd). The case is a formal end of Barbados' 170+ year long relationship with the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC).
2007 4 March The Cricket World Cup is held in the West Indies region. Barbados hosts several of the Warm Up and Super 8 matches along with the Final. (to 28 April)
2008 15 January Election: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by David Thompson
2010 31 January UK's Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho hosted the Sentebale Charity Polo Event in Barbados.
30 April Several nations in the region, host the ICC World Twenty20 event, this included the finals held in Barbados. (to 16 May)
3 September The Tudor Street store, Campus Trendz is razed in a brazen robbery. Leading to a national day of mourning on 10 September.[3][4]
2011 25 June Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison were added as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
2011 September The introduction of Sixth Form into The St. Michael School and The Christ Church Foundation School.
2013 February Election: Won by Democratic Labour Party-DLP, led by Freundel Stuart

References[edit]