The Colony



Barbados Defense Force

Royal Barbados Police Force





The Portuguese came to Barbados when on their way to Brazil. It was at this time that the island was named Los Barbados (bearded-ones) by the Portugese explorer Pedro a Campos. It was so named, presumably, after the island's fig trees (Ficus Barbata), which have a beard-like appearance.

Despite the Caribs’ ruthless resistance, the island was taken over by the Spanish in 1492. The Spanish however passed Barbados over in favour of the larger Caribbean islands. This left the island open for anyone who wanted to colonize it.

The first English ship touched the island on May 14th 1625 under the command of Captain John Powell. The island was therefore claimed on behalf of King James I.

On February 17th 1627, Captain Henry Powell landed with a party of 80 settlers and 10 slaves to occupy and settle the island. This expedition landed in Holetown formerly known as Jamestown.

On 2 July 1627 James Hay 1st Lord Carlisle (* c. 1590 –†1636) obtained from the king a grant of all the Caribbean Islands, including Barbados, this being a confirmation of a former concession given by James I. He was also a patentee and councillor of the plantation of New England, and showed great zeal and interest in the colonies.

The colonists of Barbados  established a House of Assembly in 1639.

After the execution of Charles I in 1649, the forces of Cromwell captured Barbados and on 17th January 1652, the Charter of Barbados setting out the conditions of surrender was ratified at Ye Mermaid's Inn, Oistin's Town. With the restoration of the monarchy Barbados was made a crown possession in 1663.

Barbados remained a British colony until internal autonomy was granted  in 1961. The Island gained full independence in 1966, and maintains ties to the Britain monarch represented in Barbados by the Governor General. It is a member of the Commonwealth. 




The arms of the sovereign of Barbados were the arms of the King of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. In the time of the protectorate this were the arms of Cromwell consisting of a quarterly of England, Scotland and Ireland with the arms of Cromwell on an escutcheon. We may doubt if these arms were ever displayed on the island.


On behalf of the Admiralty, the administrator of the island, a seal was made for Barbadian affairs. This seal was the model for the badge designed in about 1880 for use on the blue ensign.


After independence all national emblems were changed.


The Colony


After the restoration of Charles II a great seal was made for the colony. It ‘expressed the King’s Sovereignty in the British Seas’ and it showed King Charles II ‘representing him crowned, in royal robes, and a trident in his hand; sitting in a car, drawn by sea horses, circumscribed et penitvs toto regnantes orbe britannos’.

‘And on the other side his Majesties Royall arms in a garter and crown, and his Majesties titles in the circumference, with this addition, DOM BARBADĆ ET INSUL. CARIB.

This (seal) was made for the use of the Commissionaries at the Admiralty Office.’[1]



Great Seal of  King Charles II for Barbados and the Caribbeans.


A few years later the seal was recut and the portrait of King William III was added at the right side of the first king, now representing Queen Mary II.



Great Seal of  Barbados, 17th century


In the 19th century, about 1880, a badge was designed for the colony. This was based on the first as well as on the second seal in that the ruler in the seahorse-drawn car became a crowned queen with orb and trident, forcibly representing Queen Victoria.




Two versions of the Barbados badge as published by the Admiralty  [2]


This badge remained in use until a new flag was adopted on 30 November 1966.




Anticipating independence an achievement was granted by Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal Warrant was presented by the Queen herself when she visited the island on 14 February 1966.

The achievement is:


Arms: Or, a fig tree (Ficus barbatus -Moraceć) proper, between two flowers of the Red Pride of Barbados in chief, also proper.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Gules and Or, the arm of a Barbadian per pale, in its fist two stalks of sugarcane in saltire proper.

Supporters: On the dexter a dolphin Azure, jelloped, crested and tailed Gules, and on the sinister a pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis - Pelicanidć) proper.

Motto: PRIDE AND INDUSTRY in black lettering on a golden ribbon lined Gules.

By R.W. 21st of December 1965


In the achievement


  • The Fig-tree represents the name of the island given by the Portuguese.
  • The Red Pride of Barbados refers to the tropical climate and the location of the island near the equator.
  • The crest represents the local indian population and the main crop of the island, the raw material for rum and sugar, the most important export products of the island.
  • The dolphin symbolizes the fishing trade.
  • The pelican symbolizes Cheapside (Bridgetown) where the local industry is concentrated.


đ See illustration in the head of this essay.


Actually the monarchy of Barbados is a constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of Barbados, forming the core of the country's Westminster style parliamentary democracy. The terms Crown in Right of Barbados, Her Majesty in Right of Barbados, or The Queen in Right of Barbados may also be used to refer to the entire executive of the government of Barbados. The Barbadian Crown has its roots in the British Crown.


The heraldic symbol of the monarch of Barbados is Queen Elizabeth's Personal Barbadian Flag. It was adopted in the seventies of the 20th century.

The flag is yellow with a bearded fig tree, charged with a blue disc of the letter "E" crowned, surrounded by a garland of gold roses, between to flowers of  the Pride of Barbados in chief.




Second in precedence is the personal flag of the Governor-General.

The flag of the Governor General shows the royal crest and the name BARBADOS on yellow ribbon.



Barbados Defense Force


The emblem of the Barbados Defence Force consists of a sixpointed star, Gules, charged with a rising sun of the field, rayed Or, and the crest of Barbados rising from a sea Azure in base.

Below is the name of the service on a yellow ribbon.


Royal Barbados Police Force


The emblem of the Royal Barbados Police Force consists of the achievement of Barbados in full color, crowned with a red royal crown and surrounded by a green garland.

Below is the name of the service on a white ribbon.


The cap badge is identical to the emblem in white metal.


The breast badge is also of white metal and consists of the achievement of Barbados surrounded by a royally crowned strap with the name of the service.




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© Hubert de Vries 2010-01-29

[1] ) Medals, Coins, Great Seals, and other works of Thomas Simon engraved by Georges Vertue. Second Edition. London MDCCLXXX. Plate XXXIII (Digitized by Google).

[2] ) From: Left: Drawings of Flags in use at the present time. Admiralty 1915.  Right: Flags of all Nations. Admiralty  1950 ca.