Barbados, Formally Casting Off the Queen, Becomes a Republic

By Rajat Pandey|Updated : January 26th, 2022
  • On 30th November, 2021 Barbados has become the world’s newest republic. At a ceremony this week, the country elected its first ever president, Sandra Mason, who replaced Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
  • Barbadian superstar Rihanna also made an appearance, where she was given the title “the right excellent” and proclaimed a national hero — the first such designation in more than two decades.

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About Barbados:

  • Barbados is a tiny island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of the Americas, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. Its capital and largest city is Bridgetown.
  • Barbados was claimed by the British in 1625. It has sometimes been called “Little England” for its loyalty to British customs. The island of Barbados was under British colonial rule for more than 400 years.
  • In 1966, it became independent but remained a Commonwealth realm with the queen as its symbolic ruler. In October 2021, Dame Sandra Mason was elected by Parliament to become the first President of Barbados. On 30 November 2021, Mason replaced Queen Elizabeth as head of state, with Barbados transitioning to a republic.
  • It has joined Guyana, which gained independence in 1966 and became a republic in 1970; Trinidad and Tobago, which became independent in 1962 and a republic in 1976; and Dominica, which gained full independence as a republic in 1978.

About Commonwealth Realm:

  • A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms.
  • In 1952, Elizabeth II was the monarch and head of state of seven independent states: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Since then, new realms have been created through independence of former colonies and dependencies, and some realms have become republics. Barbados is the most recent realm to become a republic.
  • As of 30 November 2021, there are 15 Commonwealth realms: These are:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom. All are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 54 independent member states, 52 of whom were formerly territories held as part of the British Empire.

Note: The Commonwealth of Nations was originally created as the British Commonwealth of Nations through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference and formalized by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931. The current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949.

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