At the arrival of the Europeans in the early 16th century, the island was inhabited by Arab-speaking Indians, who were evicted by the Spaniards as slaves to Hispaniola (Haiti). In the 1620s, English colonizers settled in Barbados. They built sugar plantations and, as a labor force, imported slaves from Africa. Barbados became a British crown colony in the mid-17th century and ruled by a British governor.
During the years 1937–38, several uprisings broke out in the British colonies in the Caribbean, including Barbados, as a result of economic problems and a sharp increase in population. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Barbados. To curb the unrest, Britain pledged financial support and increased self-determination. Barbados gained full autonomy in 1966. Independent Barbados policy has been dominated by the problems that the country’s fragile economy has caused. Social unrest has increased as a result of public cuts and drug smuggling. Political power has since 1966 been held in fairly even ten-year terms by the two largest parties New National Party (NNP) and National Democratic Congress(NDC). In the 21st century, the BLP mainly pushed the issue of a constitutional change that would mean Barbados becoming a republic and the British head of state being replaced by an elected president.