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In 1627 – The first English settlers arrived in Barbados, they claimed the island was uninhabited, but they soon discovered a traditional Amerindian made wooden bridge (made without nails or any other piece of metal), over the river where the city of Bridgetown is today, furthermore, it was in such good condition – that the settlers continued to use it for another 26 years, until 1654: when they finally replaced it with a European styled bridge. The first names the settlers gave the area of modern-day' Bridgetown' which they described as swampy - were ‘Indian Bridge’ and the river ‘Indian River’.

The Academics maintain that by 1540 no Amerindians inhabited Barbados, based on the ‘uninhabited’ statements made by passing Spanish and Portuguese ships that could only have landed on the West or South coasts – not on the North or East coasts, and which could and would have been spotted by anyone on the island on the coasts or on high ground, long before anyone on the ships could have spotted a human onshore – as telescopes and binoculars were not invented until 1608 by the Dutch.

It is logical that any Arawaks that had survived the slave raids by Spanish and Portuguese ships prior to 1540, would have told every other Arawak on the island about it, and therefore everyone would have known that when you see these ships on the horizon – run and hide if you want to save wonder then – that the Spanish and Portuguese did not ‘see’ anyone on the island, I’m sure the Arawak islanders, though few in number by now, saw the European ships from hidden vantage points though.

I am certain about this because NO Amerindian traditional vine-fastened wood bridge could survive for 87 years without being maintained annually by the people who know about constructing such bridges, I helped make one (unlike any of these Academics ever) over a swamp in Guyana once with other members of our Lokono-Arawak tribe there.

Additionally, every year with the rainy season inevitable deluge flowing out to sea from various watercourses that fed into the river, it is inevitable that vertical posts would be shifted or knocked out of place by the force of the rushing water – or the large debris it carried, this is why annual repairs are essential, and why it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE that an Amerindian traditionally made wooden bridge abandoned since 1540 – could still be standing and functional 87 YEARS later in 1627; someone still had to be maintaining it at the very least – up until the end of the rainy season in 1626 – for it to be found still in working order in 1627!

For the Academics to believe such a thing was even possible – reveals their utter lack of knowledge about the Amerindians they presume to speculate wildly about.

Also note that two plantations established in 1627-1628 were called ‘Indian Bridge Plantation’, and ‘Indian Plantation Eastward’.

To those who say 'Maybe it was just a large hardwood fallen tree that the Amerindians of Barbados simply felled over the river, and used it to walk over back & forth. I would refute by saying - the area was described as a 'swamp, and in the Caribbean, there are NO sufficiently tall straight Hardwood trees that grow in swamps - tall enough to straddle the 'Constitution river' (as it is now called), in fact - we should rename it back to the first English name of 'Indian River' or 'Indian Bridge River'- seeing as we have 'Indian Pond' and none of us citizens of Barbados object to that name either.

My second point would be - all still-traditional-living Amerindians are famous for being barefooted and nimble, so YES an Amerindian man, woman, or child COULD easily use a simple fallen tree trunk over a river as a bridge, but do you HONESTLY believe white Englishmen and women in shoes would firstly - even refer to a simple fallen tree as a 'wooden bridge'? Or secondly - have been able to continue to use it without falling off regularly into the swampy water - and even more unbelievably - have been WILLING to go through such trouble for another 26 years! I say if it were such a simple 'bridge' as a fallen tree, tell me the local hardwood tree species that can fit the bill of being sufficiently tall and straight and wide (at least 2 feet diameter trunk) - and able to grow in a swamp, then show me (if you know about making fallen tree trunk bridges - because I do), how you could drop such a tree across the river here and prevent the ends sinking into the swampy ground - which would leave the tree trunk so low to the water level - that the annual rainy season deluge outflow to sea (which raises the river level by several feet for a half hour or so) would simply have washed the entire tree trunk away. We make fallen tree trunk foot bridges only where the river banks are sufficiently high to never be in danger of even the highest rainy season deluge water level, this is NOT how sea-level Bridgetown is at all.

It would have been a footbridge similar to this in the photo below, but half as narrow, and with natural rounded small tree limbs to walk upon, resting on larger natural rounded tree trunks about a man's upper leg in thickness (pummelled into the river bed with stones large enough for one man standing in a dugout canoe to lift and use as a hammer, while another man sits on the other end and holds the canoe in place against the previous upright beam, etc, as the first beams can be hammered in from standing on the river banks at both sides, then as you extend out into the water you just brace onto the last previous post and continue till completed, I have done this, in one day the river can be straddled if enough workers are present - and all materials pre-cut), with supporting naturally round cross beams laid under the footpath - resting in V-shaped stone-ax notched tops, and fastened into place with pliable vines used like rope - but without handrails at the sides as you see in this photo below.

So again, I am telling you that my argument, based on my personal intimate knowledge of this subject matter of part of my own Lokono-Arawak culture - which none of the naysaying non-Indigenous Academics can claim, is the reason why my explanation is more credible than theirs, and why too, therefore, you need to remain open-minded (unlike them) and be prepared to support the long overdue - and necessary - rewriting of inherited Eurocentric Colonial history statements, assumptions, and outright guesswork.

I am willing to bring actual Lokono-Arawaks back to Barbados, and rebuild a replica of the kind of traditional bridge the first settlers would have seen - somewhere on the stretch of river between the Mini Bus terminal and the back of the QEH Hospital section of the river, not for actual use, but as a necessary added historical interest tourist attraction in Barbados that is literally the foundation basis for the very name of our Capital City to this day. Not a very expensive thing to do at all.

As it is literally THE only Amerindian-made structure in Barbados history that we know of.

Visit our website at – you may find a lot more that interests you

On Instagram – @eagleclanarawaks AND On Instagram – @firstnationsproductions

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Tyrone Harris
Tyrone Harris
18. okt. 2022

Very interesting read. I to do not believe Barbados was "empty" when the English arrived. They have a habit of lying or just leaving out information in order to state to claims. I started doing some research to support my position but I havent been successful thus. The strange thing is, I am sure I came across some information to suggest Barbados was populated when the English arrived but I cant remember where I saw it.

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