Barbados
Barbados' colonial history remains an integral part of its present-day character. Originally inhabited by native Arawak and Carib peoples, the island's colonization by Great Britain and its development via a plantation-based slave economy resulted in the blend of West African, European, and Caribbean cultures that locals proudly acknowledge today. Bajans’ distinctively accented English is influenced by and draws from West African languages. The country's 17th- and 18th-century Jewish settlers were of Dutch origin and introduced the windmill to the island, and Bridgetown’s ancient mikvah and synagogue incorporates a museum and a major archaeological site that is still being excavated. The Garrison Savannah, near Bridgetown, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features a historic horse racing track and 18th- and 19th-century military buildings. Music is an integral element of Barbados culture and each year the island hosts several popular music festivals and numerous concerts. Calypso, Barbados’ first popular music, was developed in the 1930s and retained its popularity even as ska, jazz, and other popular forms took hold between the 1960s and 1980s. Modern Bajan music remains focused around calypso, reggae, ragga, and soca styles. Global pop superstar Rihanna remains the island’s most famous musician and native.