Barbados National Heroes

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There are ten (10) official National Heroes of Barbados.

These ten individuals, nine men and one woman, all came from different eras and very different walks of life.

However, they had a few things in common. They were all champions of a cause, influenced positive social change and sustainable development on the island, and they supported and led the people of Barbados.

It is only proper then that we pay tribute to these fine individuals for their contribution to Barbadian history.

The Ten (10) National Heroes of Barbados are recognized as follows:

Bussa – the freedom fighter
Mrs. Sarah Ann Gill – the heroine of Methodism and freedom of religion
Samuel Jackman Prescod – the defender of human rights
Charles Duncan O’Neal – the social transformer
Sir Grantley Herbert Adams Q.C., Kt., Bachelor, C.M.G – West Indian statesman
Clement Osbourne Payne – a trade union pioneer
Sir Hugh Worrell Springer – dedicated to making a difference
Sir Frank Leslie Walcott – a man of and for the people
Errol Walton Barrow, P.C., Q.C. – the father of Independence
Sir Garfield Auburn Sobers – cricket’s greatest all-rounder.

Did you know?

Each Barbadian National Hero has been elevated to the title ‘The Right Excellent‘.

The Order of National Heroes

In 1998, by an act of Parliament (the Order of National Heroes Act), the ten aforementioned individuals were publicly named and recognized as the ten official National Heroes of Barbados, celebrating those people who have played a major part in the history of Barbados and development.

The Order of National Heroes Act also stated that those people who have given ‘outstanding service to Barbados’, ‘contributed to the improvement of the economic and social conditions of Barbados’, and demonstrated ‘visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attainment of the highest excellence’ will be honored on a specific day called ‘National Heroes Day‘.

As a result, also in 1998, Prime Minister Owen Arthur announced that April 28th would now be referred to as ‘National Heroes Day’, the day dedicated to honoring these ten Barbadian National Heroes.

Did you know?

This date is significant because it marks one of the National Heroes’, Sir Grantley Adams birthday.

The Honors Continue

In April 1999, it was decided that ‘Trafalgar Square’, opposite the Parliament Buildings in the nation’s capital of Bridgetown, would be renamed ‘National Heroes Square’ to again honor these Barbadian revolutionaries and the contributions they made to Barbadian society and history.

National Heroes day is celebrated island-wide and is a national bank holiday. Outdoor activities are common on this day and festivities particularly take place in the ‘National Heroes Square’ with food, entertainment, and various activities to mark these historical figures within Barbadian history and culture.

Did you know?

In the West Wing of the Barbados Parliament Building is a gallery and museum dedicated to the development of democracy in Barbados, as well as the ten official National Heroes of the island. It’s known as the Barbados National Heroes Gallery and Barbados Museum of Parliament.

The ten National Heroes are honored within this gallery with their individual stories and the importance of their contributions to the island demonstrated in interactive displays in the National Heroes Gallery, said to be one of the best history museums on the island.

By: Brett Callaghan