1792, Barbados (British Commonwealth). Scarce Copper ½ Penny Coin.
Mint Year: 1792
Denomination: ½ Penny
Obverse: Crowned bust of a Kalinago left. Inscription (“I . SERVE”) below.
Reverse: Neptune in chariot, which is pulled by three horses.
Legend: BARBADOES . HALFPENNY / 1792
Formerly known as Island Caribs, or just Caribs, the Kalinago are an indigenous people of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. They may have descended from the Mainland Caribs (Kalina) of South America, but they spoke an unrelated language known as Island Carib.
At the time of Spanish contact, the Kalinago were one of the dominant groups in the Caribbean, which owes its name to them. They lived throughout the Windward Islands, Dominica, and possibly the southern Leeward Islands. Some historians believe their ancestors were mainland Kalina who conquered the islands from their previous inhabitants, known as the Igneri. However, linguistic and archaeological evidence disputes the notion of a mass emigration and conquest; the Island Carib language appears not to have been Cariban, but Arawakan like that of their neighbors, the Taíno. Irving Rouse and others suggest that a smaller group of mainland Kalinago conquered the islands without displacing their inhabitants, eventually adopting the local language but retaining their traditions of a South American origin. In the early colonial period Kalinago had a reputation as warriors who raided neighboring islands. Early Europeans claimed that they practiced cannibalism – the word “cannibal” derives from a corruption of their name. However, Europeans may have embellished these aspects to rationalise enslaving the Kalinago. Nevertheless, according to the source cited, Giovanni de Verranzano was cannibalized by members of the group [cit. 20 Verranzano]. He was an explorer commissioned by the King of France to explore the east coast of America, including Nova Scotia. A reasonable assumption would be that Verranzano brought with him the first Acadiens, a name now corrupted to Cajun, to Northern America. It would seem unlikely that the story of a famous explorer being eaten by a primitive tribe had been “embellished.” Today, the Kalinago and their descendants continue to live in the Antilles; some interact and mix with the Garifuna or so-called “Black Caribs”, a group of mixed Carib and African ancestry, who also live principally in Central America.
Barbados is a sovereign island country in the Lesser Antilles, in the Americas. It is 34 kilometres (21 miles) in length and up to 23 km (14 mi) in width, covering an area of 432 km2 (167 sq mi). It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 km (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about 168 km (104 mi) east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and 400 km (250 mi) north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. Its capital is Bridgetown. Barbados is 1,600 mi (2,600 km) Southeast of Miami.
Inhabited by Kalinago people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other Amerindians, Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century and claimed for the Spanish Crown. It first appeared in a Spanish map in 1511. The Portuguese visited the island in 1536, but they left it unclaimed, with their only remnants being an introduction of wild hogs for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. An English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1625; its men took possession of it in the name of King James I. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and it became an English and later British colony.
In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm with the British Monarch (presently Queen Elizabeth II) as hereditary head of state. Due to their colonial history and connection to the United Kingdom, even after independence, it is sometimes referred to as Little England. It has a population of 280,121 people, predominantly of African descent.2 Despite being classified as an Atlantic island, Barbados is considered to be a part of the Caribbean, where it is ranked as a leading tourist destination. Forty percent of the tourists come from the UK, with the US and Canada making up the next large groups of visitors to the island. In 2014, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Barbados joint second in the Americas (after Canada, equal with the United States) and joint 17th globally (after Belgium and Japan, equal with the U.S., Hong Kong and Ireland).