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Barbados National Heroes' Day

Barbados National Heroes' Day

National Heroes' Day

National Heroes’ Day is a public holiday in Barbados on April 28th. On this day, Barbadians show their appreciation for the 11 outstanding individuals that are recognised as heroes for their roles in positively changing Barbados.

The Order of the National Heroes Act was passed by parliament in 1998. As part of this act, the National Heroes were given the title ‘The Right Excellent’.

So, who are the inspirational National Heroes of Barbados?

National Heroes of Barbados
  1. The Right Excellent Bussa (d. 1816)
    Bussa was born in Africa but was brought to Barbados as a slave. He led Barbados’ largest slave revolt in 1816.

  2. The Right Excellent Sarah Ann Gill (1795 – 1866)
    Gill stood up against the planters who forced out the Methodist missionaries from Barbados. In response, she opened her home as a church to keep the faith going.

  3. The Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod (1806 – 1871)
    Prescod was a politician, humanitarian and journalist. In June 1843, he was elected as the first non-White person to sit in the House of Assembly.

  4. The Right Excellent Dr. Charles Duncan O’Neal (1879 – 1936)
    O’Neal was a medical doctor of the privileged class, however he dedicated most of his life to the poor. He was the first black activist in this century to promote free education and dental care for children, improved housing and abolishing the Located Labourers’ System and the Masters of the Servants Act.

  5. The Right Excellent Sir Grantley Adams (1898 – 1971)
    Sir Grantley was the only Prime Minister of the now defunct West Indies Federation. As a highly respected lawyer, he fought for a better life for the underprivileged and for creating social justice across all ethnic and economic classes.

  6. The Right Excellent Clement Osbourne Payne (1904 – 1941)
    Payne was a pioneer in the Caribbean trade union and criticised politics and the planter class. His outspoken criticism actually got him expelled from Barbados, which led to days of riots. A Commission of Inquiry in the UK decided that Payne’s charges against the island’s leaders were true. As a result, they called for the reforms which Payne had proposed, including the introduction of trade union legislation.

  7. The Right Excellent Sir Hugh Worrell Springer (1913 – 1994)
    Sir Hugh was Barbados’ third native Governor-General, a member of the House of Assembly, General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party and Acting Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Barbados.

  8. The Right Excellent Sir Frank Leslie Walcott (1916 – 1998)
    Sir Frank was an international figure in trade unionism. He was an inspirational leader and served as President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour for three terms.

  9. The Right Excellent Sir Errol Walton Barrow (1920 – 1987)
    Barrow was Barbados’ first Prime Minister and he oversaw Barbados’ development as an independent nation. He was known as the ‘Father of Independence’ and introduced free education, improved health services, accelerated industrial development and expanded tourism.

  10. The Right Excellent Sir Garfield St. Aubrun Sobers (b. 1936)
    Sir Garfield was an incredible sportsman and remains a legend in cricket. He rose from the back streets to become captain of the West Indies team and is still regarded as the world’s greatest all-rounder.

    And the most recent National Hero of Barbados...Rhiana

  11. The Right Excellent Robyn Rihanna Fenty (1988 - )
    The Barbadian singer, businesswoman, fashion designer and actress was made a National Hero in November 2021. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley praised Rihanna for “her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth".

    Check out Rihanna’s speech as she is honoured during the Barbados Independence Day Ceremony here.

How is National Heroes Day celebrated?

In 1999, Trafalgar Square in Bridgetown was renamed National Heroes Square to celebrate the above outstanding Barbadians. Today, lots of celebrations take place at Heroes Square on this day.

There’s food, music and even fireworks! The Square is packed full of lots of stalls, giving everyone the chance to discover more about Barbados’ culture and the people that have shaped it over the years.

People even play games like hockey, football, and chess! In 2009, Barbados had its first Heroes Day Cup, a chess tournament celebrating the people and history of the game, with these festivities tied directly to Heroes’ Day.

Why not celebrate Barbados National Heroes Day by recreating our Bajan Mango Punch recipe? 🍹