U.S.A. - Barbadian Ties
American Presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and George Washington have all visited Barbados.
George Washington stayed on the island for six weeks in 1751 in the company of his half-brother Lawrence who had made the six week voyage from the Potomac for health reasons. Nineteen at the time, it was Washington's only trip abroad.
"Hired from Captain Crofton his house for fifteen pounds ($75.00) a month exclusive of liquors and washing which we are to provide", wrote Washington in his diary shortly after landing on the island, adding: "We stand a mile from town and the view is extensive by land and pleasant by sea as we command the view of Carlisle Bay and all the shipping and such manner that none can come or go without being open to our view".
The house still stands and can be found on the side of the historic Garrison Savannah which was formerly the parade ground for West Indies Regiments stationed here in the 17th and 18th centuries. The house has been restored by the Barbados National Trust, creating a heritage site that celebrates the visit and the role that Barbados played in the settlement of America. View George Washington House...
Did Washington enjoy his visit to Barbados? His words say it all ....
The American Declaration of Independence has a familiar ring to Barbadians as it is a direct crib of the Barbadian Declaration of Independence drafted 150 years earlier when the island tried to gain its own Independence (they had to wait until 1966 for this to happen). Much discussion took place between the founding fathers and Barbadians over this matter. How did they know about it? One reason might have been because one of the signatories was a Barbadian, as was the printer.
The Carolinas Connection
The other reason being that very strong ties had been established with the colonies going back to 1649 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).
The book "The Barbados-Carolina Connection" by Warren Alleyne and Henry Fraser reveals many fascinating aspects of the historical relationship between Barbados and Carolina, throwing fresh light on the history and architecture of both places, on the people - both distinguished and notorious - and on the two dialects.
The One-Eyed Centurion
Benjamin West, one of the most famous of American artists was commissioned to paint The Resurrection to hang in a church on the island.
Click here to learn more of this fascinating story
For further information on U.S.A. - Barbadian Ties contact:
The Barbados Museum and Historical Society
Tel: (246) 427-0201
Fax: (246) 429-5946
© Michael Whittaker
Former General Manager, Silver Sands Resort.