Barbados is an island nation of the Lesser Antilles, 34 kilometers (21 mi) in length and as much as 23 kilometers (14 mi) in width, amounting to 431 square kilometers (166 sq mi). It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic Ocean and 100 kilometers (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about 168 kilometers (104 mi) east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and 400 kilometers (250 mi) north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt.
Once a Spanish and Portuguese territorial possession known as Los Barbados, in 1625 it became an English, and later a British, colony. The island has an estimated population of 284,589 people, with around 80,000 living in or around Bridgetown, the largest city and the country's capital. In 1966, Barbados became an independent nation and Commonwealth realm, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.