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From its English settlement and as Barbados' economy grew, Barbados maintained a relatively large measure of local autonomy first as a proprietary colony and later a crown colony. Among the island's earliest leading figures was the Anglo-Dutch Sir William Courten.

The 1780 hurricane killed over 4,000 people on Barbados.

therein, it is about 168 km (104 mi) east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and 400 km (250 mi) north-east of Trinidad and Tobago.

Barbados is outside the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. Inhabited by Kalinago people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other Amerindians, Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century and claimed for the Spanish Crown. The Portuguese visited the island in 1536, but they left it unclaimed, with their only remnants being an introduction of wild hogs for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited.

The Arawaks are believed to have fled to neighbouring islands.

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