Archaeological evidence suggests that Barbados was inhabited by Barrancoid Indians from at least 1000 BC, and by Arawak people for about 400 years from around AD 1000. Portuguese mariners who landed on the island in 1536 reported that it was uninhabited. An Englishman, William Courteen, established Jamestown in 1627. Sugar plantations were developed in the 1640s, using imported slave labour from Africa until the practice was abolished in 1834. In 1951 universal suffrage was introduced, followed in 1954 by cabinet government. Full internal self-government was attained in Oct. 1961. On 30 Nov. 1966 Barbados became an independent sovereign state within the British Commonwealth.
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