Bridgetown is the capital and commercial center of Barbados. It is also the islands only city. In 2014 more than 110,000 people called Bridgetown home. It is the cultural, political, and economic heart of this Caribbean island nation of 284,664 (2013).
Founded by the British in 1628, its old town section and nearby St. Ann’s Garrison are examples of well-preserved colonial architecture. St. Anns Garrison, more commonly known as The Garrison, is a small district situated about two miles from the heart of Bridgetown, but officially recognized as part of the city. The capital city is also home to the Bridgetown Port, one of the most advanced ports in the Caribbean.
Bridgetown was originally named Indian Bridge for a crude bridge, built by the Garifuna, an indigenous people. The bridge spanned a river in the main section of the city (now known as the Careenage). When the British settlers landed on Barbados, there was not much infrastructure, save for the old bridge. The British settlers called the area Indian Bridge. In 1872, the original bridge was replaced. The town was later called the Town of St. Michael in official documents, before finally being named Bridgetown.
As one of the earliest established towns with a fortified port in Britain’s Caribbean network of military and maritime-mercantile outposts, Bridgetown and The Garrison were the focus of British trade-based expansion in the Americas. By the 17th century, the town had become a trading post for goods, mostly sugar, and enslaved Africans who were distributed throughout the Americas.
Bridgetown is the only city outside North America that was visited by America’s future “First Father,” George Washington. Bush Hill House, where he stayed, is now renovated and called George Washington House. It is a striking reminder of that significant visit.
The city has a number of architectural landmarks including St. Michaels Cathedral, constructed in 1789 after a hurricane destroyed the original wooden building dating from 1665, and the Nidhe Israel