Barbados Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about 168 kilometres (104 mi) east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and 400 kilometres (250 mi) north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt.
is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the
Barbados was discovered by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century and claimed for the Spanish Crown. It first appears on a Spanish map from 1511. The Portuguese visited the island in 1536, but they left it unclaimed, with their only remnants being an introduction of wild hogs for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. The first English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1624. They took possession of it in the name of King James I. In 1627 the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and it became an English and later British colony.
Barbados has a population of 277,821 people, In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm, retainingQueen Elizabeth II as Head of State. Barbados is one of the Caribbean's leading tourist destinations and is one of the most developed islands in the region, despite it actually being classed as an Atlantic Island, with an HDI number of 0.825. In 2011 Barbados ranked second in the Americas (16th globally) on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, behind Canada.
The origin of the name Barbados is either the Portuguese word Barbados or the Spanish equivalent Barbudos, both meaning "the bearded ones". It is unclear whether "bearded" refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree (Ficus citrifolia), indigenous to the island; or to the allegedly bearded Caribs once inhabiting the island; or, more fancifully, to the foam spraying over the outlying reefs giving the impression of a beard. In 1519, a map produced by the Genoese mapmaker Visconte Maggiolo showed and named Barbados in its correct position. Furthermore, an island in the Leewards that is very close in name is Barbuda and was once named Las Barbudas by the Spanish.