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Independence Day

Public Holiday in Barbados

When is Barbados Independence Day?

The holiday is celebrated on 30 November. If 30 November falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be a public holiday. This holiday marks independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 and is the National Day of Barbados.

History of Barbados Independence Day

As Europe expanded into the new world, Barbados became an English colony in the early part seventeenth century, with the first settlement established in 1627. It became an important producer of sugar cane and a key strategic location in the region for Britain. It is notable that Barbados was the only Caribbean island that didn't change hands during the colonial period.

Whilst the relationship between Barbados and the United Kingdom has always been peaceful, the first stirring of independence began in the early twentieth century. Political changes towards independence began in 1949 and Barbados became fully self-governing in 1961. Sir Grantley Adams, founder of the Barbados Labour Party and the UK government then began negotiations for independence.

Independence was granted on 30 November 1966 with the passing of the Barbados Independence Act 1966 (c. 37) by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. With the passing of the Act, Barbados became the fourth English-speaking country in the West Indies to gain full independence from the United Kingdom.

The independence ceremony was accompanied by the first hoisting of the Barbados national flag, and the first rendition of the national anthem. Errol Barrow became the first Prime Minister of Barbados.

Barbados became part of the Commonwealth of Nations, with Elizabeth II remaining as head of state, represented locally by the Governor-General.

How is Barbados Independence Day celebrated?

Independence Day in Barbados is celebrated in November with a series of events and activities.

On Independence Day itself, an impressive parade is held at the Garrison Savannah racecourse, which was the site of that first independence ceremony in 1966.

The key buildings and businesses in the capital Bridgetown are lit up by decorative gold and blue lights (representing the colours of the flag)


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