They came, they saw, and they conquered, nothing like the previous ones, who maintained a sustainable relationship for quite some time, until they mysteriously vanished. To this date no one knows for sure the true cause of this separation.
This of course, all took place on Barbados and to this island, as it began approximately four thousand years ago. That’s when the Amerindians first settled on Barbados predominately along coastal areas, living an agrarian lifestyle, growing crops and fishing.
They took what was needed from the land, being careful not to overwork any particular area, thus leaving a small “footprint” having treaded lightly.
Fast forward to 1627, and the English have discovered and settled, the now vacant, thickly forested Barbados, save a few hundred hogs that the Portuguese deposited approximately one hundred years ago. There were iguana, rice rats, birds (that no longer domicile on Barbados), tall hardwood trees, and many bodies of water -lakes, ponds.
Barbados was a vulnerable virgin seemingly ripe for the plucking, and plucked she was, to the maximum. There was a gross dislike for the natural environment as it then existed, and so given the island’s accessible topography, in only thirty five years (1627 – 1662) some sixty pre cent of the vegetation was removed.
Gone were the tall hardwood trees, for fuel, construction, or just to clear the land for commercial crops, first tobacco, and finally sugar cane. The animals fared no better either, the hogs were so plentiful that they were indiscriminately trapped for fun only, and in no time they were gone. The iguanas were eaten into extinction.
Barbados then looked like a well cared for garden, with neat fields of green sugar cane, and other crops for miles around. Today, it’s similar, in that over sixty percent of Barbados is covered in vegetation, mature forests, sugar cane, grasslands, with the mature forests accounting for only fifteen percent, or sixteen thousand acres.
Representing the mature forests are the plant species rich, Turners Hall Wood, the Joe’s River Forest, and the three hundred odd miles of gullies (ravines), all unique ecosystems.
Hikers can experience rich and varied natural environments on these one hundred and sixty six square miles of, subdued and rearranged, Beautiful Barbados, where 27,000 English make their home in peace.