Order of National Heroes

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Order of National Heroes
Awarded by

President of Barbados
TypeNational Honour
Established20 April 1998; 25 years ago (20 April 1998)
CriteriaAt the pleasure of the president with the recommendation of the prime minister
StatusCurrently constituted
FounderParliament of Barbados
ChancellorSandra Mason
(President of Barbados)
ClassesMember (National Hero)
First induction1998
Last induction2021
Total inductees11
Next (higher)None
Next (lower)Order of Freedom of Barbados

The Order of National Heroes is the supreme honour within the national honours system of Barbados and was established by the Order of National Heroes Act 1998 by the Parliament of Barbados.[1] Members are referred to as National Heroes, and are accorded the style "The Right Excellent". The Order recognises the most prominent figures in Barbados' history. As of 2023, Garfield Sobers and Rihanna are the only two living persons conferred with the title.

Heroes Square, formerly known as Trafalgar Square in Bridgetown.[2]


The first National Heroes Day was celebrated on 28 April 1998, the centenary of the birth of Grantley Adams.[3] On the same day, Trafalgar Square was renamed National Heroes Square.[2]

Eleven people have been created National Heroes of Barbados to date, of which ten were nominated by Prime Minister Owen Arthur and formally appointed by the Governor General in 1998, in accordance with the Act.[2][4] Of the original ten, only Sir Garfield Sobers is alive; Sarah Ann Gill was the only woman to be created a National Hero until the singer and businesswoman Rihanna was honoured in November 2021.[5]

The Barbados National Heroes Gallery, located in the Museum of Parliament, traces the lives and contributions made by the National Heroes.

In 2021, the Government started a search for new National Heroes. Citizens were encouraged to nominate people who they thought qualified for the high honour. The government of Barbados ultimately chose singer Rihanna for this honour and duly awarded her the title of National Hero on the first day of the Barbadian republic.[6]

The president, being the legal successor to the governor-general, adopted the latter's role and duties of appointing national heroes after Barbados became a republic in 2021.

National Heroes[edit]


  1. ^ "Order of National Heroes Act 1998" (PDF). Government of Barbados. 20 April 1998. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Parliament's History". Parliament of Barbados. Archived from the original on 23 May 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  3. ^ Callaghan, Brett (8 July 2018). "Barbados National Heroes". Totally Barbados. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Readying Heroes Square for its "close up"". Barbados Today. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Barbados National Heroes". Go Barbados. Caribbean Dreams Publishing. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  6. ^ Carrington, Julie (29 March 2021). "Nominations For More National Heroes". Government Information Service. Government of Barbados. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Let's Celebrate Our National Heroes". Government Information Service. Government of Barbados. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  8. ^ Rahman, Abid (30 November 2021). "Barbados Ditches Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State, Declares Rihanna National Hero". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  9. ^ "Barbados Replaces Queen as Head of State and Honours Rihanna on Historic Night". www.vice.com. Retrieved 20 April 2023.