Barbados was initially visited by the Spanish around the late 1400s to early 1500s and first appears on a Spanish map from 1511. The Spanish explorers may have plundered the island of whatever native peoples resided therein to become slaves. The Portuguese visited in 1536, but they too left it unclaimed, with their only remnants being an introduction of wild hogs for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. The first British ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1624. They took possession of it in the name of the British king James I. Two years later in 1627 the first permanent settlers arrived from England and it became an English and later British colony.
Barbados has an estimated population of 284,000 people, with around 80,000 living in or around Bridgetown, the largest city and the country's capital. In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. Barbados is one of the Caribbean's leading tourist destinations and is one of the most developed islands in the region.