Nation e-Edition

Things Bajan:Barbados, the name

Things Bajan:Barbados, the name

Thu, November 08, 2012 - 8:51 AM

For the month of November, we will focus on things Barbados as this country celebrates its independence. Every day we will be highlighting Barbadian sayings, artefacts unique to the country, as well as personalities, icons, some places and things that reflect Barbados.

What’s in a name?

Ever wondered how Barbados got its name?

Los Barbados is first mentioned in Spanish cedulas (formal official orders) of December 23, 1511  and July 3, 1512. The exact origin of its name, which means The Bearded Ones in Portuguese, is uncertain. The traditional theory, espoused by Griffith Hughes and every writer after, is that it is derived from the hanging roots of the widely growing bearded fig tree.

In early maps it is variously called Bernados, Baruodo, Baruodos, Barbudoss, S.Barbudo, Isle de Beruados, Isla de los Barbudos, Los Barbudos and later La Barbade.

Unfortunately the names Barbadoes and the Barbadoes remained in use in North America for so long, many visitors assume that Barbados is, in fact, not a single island, but a group of islands like the Bahamas. It is correctly pronounced (in Barbados) ‘Barbayduss’ but occasionally ‘Bubbayduss’ is heard locally. The Barbados is definitely not correct.

• Source: A-Z Of Barbadian Heritage.

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