Daily Archives: December 17, 2009

Did Barbados smile for the International Space Station cameras?

Astronauts took photos of Barbados on Wednesday

If you had a feeling you were being watched yesterday, your senses were accurate. The International Space Station (ISS) made an orbit exactly above Barbados and the astronauts were clicking away with their Nikon digital cameras. This was a planned event that was announced ahead of time, but we didn’t find out about it until it was over.

One of our friends who loves this sort of thing says that you can see the space station at certain times of the day when it passes overhead. He says that some amateur space watchers have even taken photos of the astronauts while they were working outside of the ISS and he’s trying to find a photo for us. (Which reminds me – that’s another person who knows all about BFP or at least enough to make life difficult. After four years there must be close to a hundred people who could do us in if they wanted to. But so far we’re ok… 🙂 )

Here’s a photo of Barbados taken on a pass a year or two ago. You can check at NASA for the new images when they are posted.

Don’t forget to smile and wave!

Barbados from Space!

Further Reading

NASA website

ISS Orbit Status December 16, 2009 – Photographing Barbados

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B.C. Brooks looks at Barbados-North Carolina connections & African influences

Did the North American slave trade kill Africa’s self-sufficiency in food production?

How did African slaves change North American native tribes?

Shona was surfing around last week and discovered a wonderful blog by North Carolina writer and historian B.C. Brooks. Mr. Brooks loves history and the details of Bajan/African history and influences upon the Carolinas and Florida. Until I read his article Land Pirates and Tory Capitalism I didn’t know that as early as 1708, slaves from Barbados and Africa outnumbered white colonists in North Carolina.

"Tight Pack" in the Middle Passage

I knew that the slave trade destroyed African civilizations, but I didn’t specifically think about what happened when an entire generation of rice farmers was removed from the continent. Once you take that knowledge of mass food production away and prevent it from being passed to following generations – that’s it. The society is effectively destroyed and placed beyond self-recovery. Here’s a sample of what Mr. Brooks has to say…

By 1708, only forty-five years later, historians generally agree that slaves outnumbered white colonists in Carolina. Moreover, these slaves came mostly from regions of West Africa where rice production had occurred for centuries. The timing and transplantation was intentional. Removal of skilled agricultural labor from West Africa may have proved beneficial to Carolina planters; however, the general practice eventually proved disastrous for the continent of African. Scholars have argued that the Atlantic Slave Trade “transformed Africa economically, politically, and socially.”

Cowboys and Indians… or should that be “Cowboys and Africans” ?

Here’s something else I never thought about: cultural and behavioural changes in North American Indian tribes as a result of African influences from escaped African slaves. In his article African Influence on the Seminole Indians of Florida Mr. Brooks looks at how African culture and knowledge transformed North American Indian societies.

After reading his blog, I’m convinced that by the time the “Indian Wars” of the mid 1800’s rolled around, American Indian culture was heavily Africanized in many regions. Just take a look at the similarities between a photo of a Florida Seminole woman and a painting of an African woman at the top of this article.

It’s all fascinating stuff and well worth your time.

“The Black Seminole culture that took shape after 1800 was a dynamic mixture of African, Native American, Spanish, and slave traditions. In the tradition of the Native Americans, maroons wore Seminole clothing; strained koonti, a native root; and made sofkee, a paste created by mashing corn with a mortar and pestle.”

Also check out Brooks’ major article on rice production in the Carolinas and the connections to Barbados…

Barbados, an island nation founded by the British, has remained staunchly British throughout its entire history. Furthermore, it has also been the locus of intense anti-Parliamentary and Anglican immigration (later known as “Tories”) after the English Civil War, through the Glorious Revolution, and continually throughout the eighteenth century. A dark cloud of imperialism covered the island nation, a symptom of the massive storm that swept across the continent of Africa for centuries. Barbadian lands quickly became incapable of supporting English capitalistic fervor. Barbadians, for lack of a nice way to phrase it, “raped” their own island. However, this unsavory tendency covered more than mere real estate. In 1670, these unscrupulous businessmen brought those practices to Carolina, along with an increasing number of enslaved Africans, along with their “purchased” agricultural ability.

… excerpt from BC Brooks’ article Responsibility in Business: Imperialism, Africans, and Rice in the South Carolina Trade

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, History, Slavery

1.7 million American Tourists heading for Cuba in the first year when U.S. restrictions are lifted: US Travel Official

“Americans really want to see Cuba,” said Robert Whitely, president of the U.S. Tour Operators, which together with the National Tour Association also present at the event, handles 75 percent of all package tour business to the Caribbean.

“We predict that at least 850,000 Americans will go to Cuba in the first year,” Whitely said. That does not include an estimated 480,000 Americans who will go to Cuba on Caribbean cruises when U.S. ships are allowed to dock there, and another 480,000 Cuban American visiting family in Cuba each year, a Cuban official said.

… Reuters reports on a recent US-Cuba travel conference in U.S. travel industry gearing up for return to Cuba

Will US travel to Cuba impact Barbados’ cruise ship arrivals?

Barbados has never done the tourist business that many thought possible from the United States. Whatever the reasons for this it seems a fact that Barbados has been unable to capitalize on the huge potential US travel market as some of our Caribbean neighbours have done most successfully. Many folks in Barbados don’t worry about the impact of Americans being able to travel to Cuba because they say we don’t benefit from the American market anyway so what’s to lose?

Maybe the answer to “What’s to lose?” appears in the Reuters quotes above: it might be our cruise ship arrivals that suffer when Cuba opens up for vacationing Americans.

It’s not about to happen tomorrow, but when it comes US tourism to Cuba will be huge and it will impact the entire Caribbean region.

What has the Barbados government planned to counter the threat to our tourism? Our guess: nothing.

Over to you DLP government. What concrete steps have you taken with this event in mind?

We’re all listening…

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cuba