Barbados, American Independence and George Washington

Most people probably don’t realize it, I didn’t until I did some research prior to our visit to Barbados last fall, there are many instances where the Barbadian leaders and their form of government influenced our own fight for freedom and the resulting Declaration of Independence, as well as the Bill of Rights.

Dating back to 1649 very strong ties had been established with the colonies, when a group calling themselves the Barbadian Society of Gentlemen Adventurers set off North and opened the Carolinas (seven of the first twenty-one governors being Barbadian, as were two in Massachusetts).

As the founders who organized the colonies of the Carolinas were from Barbados,and the first Governor of South Carolina, their influence was greatly felt in the colonies.One example is The Treaty of Oistins which was signed on the island of Barbados in 1652 and contains a clause that reads “That no taxes, customs, imports excise shall be laid, nor levy made on any of the inhabitants of this island without their consent in a General Assembly”.

Barbados also had their own Tea Party with the outcome similar to the tea party in Boston.

Historians who have studied both documents, the Treaty of Oistins and the Declaration of Independence have found over half of the Treaties language is incorporated into our Declaration of Independence.It is evident there was much consultation with the Barbadians in regard to forming our own government.

In the hope of curing his half brother Lawrence’s pneumonia, George Washington stayed on the island for six weeks in 1751 at a residence now named,”The George Washington House.” Being only nineteen at the time, it was Washington’s only visit outside of the United States.

Washington thoroughly enjoyed his stay, citing the extensive and pleasant view both of land and sea. The monthly rate of $75 afforded him use of the home and enabled him to take many evening rides to enjoy the scenery and pleasant evenings.

The island has come a long way since the Barrancoid Indians landed in 500 AD. During the last 300 or so years, the island has become one of the most of the Caribbean Islands. Among it’s accomplishments, it has the most return visitors of any island in the Caribbean, a strong middle class, and the educational system produces a 97% literacy rate.

There is no doubt that the future only holds good things for Barbados,due to their national pride, the people will remain strong and proud of their heritage.

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