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Geography of Barbados


The Island of Barbados is the most easterly in the Caribbean chain of islands (Lesser Antilles). Its splendid isolated location is at Latitude 13 10 N and Longitude 59 32 W. Measuring 23km (14 miles) at its widest point, 34km (21 miles) long and a mere area of 430 square km (166 sq miles). The highest point is 1,100ft (336m) above sea level at Mount Hillaby in St Andrew and the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean (0 m). The population is approximately 280,946 (2007) and growing. Racially, the island is predominantly African slave-descended blacks. The main religion is Christianity with small groups of Hindus, Muslins and Jews.


Geographically Barbados is north-east of Venezuela or south-east or Miami and is not a part of the Arc of Caribbean islands since only the West Coast of the Caribbean lies in the Caribbean Sea. The North and East Coasts however lie in the Atlantic Ocean. For this reason, these coasts are known to be really dangerous with very high waves and strong currents but the South Coast has some decent swells making it excellent for any form of surfing.

The island is largely surrounded by coral reefs extending in some places 3 metres seaward which results in the fine, white sand that makes up our beaches. These coral reefs also protect our coastlines. Before Barbados was settled by the British in 1627, numerous Mangrove swamps surrounded the island and protected the reefs. Unfortunately, many of these swamps have been destroyed so hotels could be constructed. Fortunately of them remain today; the Chancery Lane Swamp and the popular Graeme Hall Swamp. These are Barbados' wetlands and are of international significance because they are important migrating Fish and Bird areas. Recently steps have been taken to preserve the precious swamps and coral reefs with several ships been sunk at strategic points along the island to make artificial reefs.