When the British landed on Barbados, it was uninhabited, but a primitive bridge was discovered over the Careenage in Bridgetown. It is believed that the Arawak, a people indigenous to the Caribbean, had constructed the bridge before being wiped out. The area was originally called Indian Bridge, then the Town of St Michael, and finally Bridgetown.
Two new bridges, the Chamberlain Bridge and the Charles Duncan O’Neil Bridge, have since replaced the original one.
The first settlers arrived in Carlisle Bay at the mouth of the Constitution River in 1628. Since that time, the city has grown and, like many other British cities, has been described as being planned after a long day in the local pub! By the mid-1660’s there were more than 100 drinking houses, which worked out to about one house for every 20 residents or, to put it another way, 100 drinking houses for every 1 city planner!
Over the years, the city has been the victim of a number of fires, which burned down large portions of the city. In 1668, 80% of the city was destroyed, and in 1766, 26½ acres were destroyed, including 1,140 buildings and all the public offices.
Bridgetown is the only city outside of North America that George Washington visited. The house where he stayed has been renovated, and is now known as the George Washington House. It is open to the public and you can visit it in the Garrison Historic Area. Bridgetown is the capital city of Barbados and is on the south west coast in the parish of St Michael.
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