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One lesser known source points to earlier-revealed works predating contemporary sources indicating it could have been the Spanish. The original name for Barbados in the Pre-Columbian era was Ichirouganaim according to accounts by descendants of the indigenous Arawakan-speaking tribes in other regional areas, with possible translations including "Red land with white teeth", Colloquially Barbadians refer to their home island as "Bim" or other nicknames associated with Barbados includes "Bimshire".The origin is uncertain but several theories exist.
As a wealthy sugar colony, it became an English centre of the African slave trade until that trade was outlawed in 1807, with final emancipation of slaves in Barbados occurring over a period of years from 1833.The 1780 hurricane killed over 4,000 people on Barbados.In 1854, a cholera epidemic killed over 20,000 inhabitants.Persecuted persons of Jewish faith during the inquisition also settled to Barbados.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.In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm with the British monarch (presently Queen Elizabeth II) as hereditary head of state. Despite being classified as an Atlantic island, Barbados is considered to be a part of the Caribbean, where it is ranked as a leading tourist destination.
Forty percent of the tourists come from the UK, with the US and Canada making up the next large groups of visitors to the island.
In the very early years (1620–1640s) the majority of the labour was provided by European indentured servants, mainly English, Irish and Scottish, with enslaved Africans and enslaved Amerindian providing little of the workforce.
During the Cromwellian era (1650s) this included a large number of prisoners-of-war, vagrants and people who were illicitly kidnapped, who were forcibly transported to the island and sold as servants.
The National Cultural Foundation of Barbados says that "Bim" was a word commonly used by slaves and that it derives from the Igbo term bém from bé mụ́ meaning 'my home, kindred, kind', The words 'Bim' and 'Bimshire' are recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary and Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionaries.
Another possible source for 'Bim' is reported to be in the Agricultural Reporter of 25 April 1868, where the Rev. Greenidge (father of one of the island's most famous scholars, Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge) suggested the listing of Bimshire as a county of England.
In 2016, Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Barbados sixth in the Americas after Canada, the United States, Uruguay, Chile and the Bahamas.