A blend of Caribbean and British cultures, Barbados is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, having achieved independence in 1966. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, driving is on the left, cricket is the national sport and the custom of afternoon tea is observed. A frequent stop on southern Caribbean cruise itineraries, this island in the Lesser Antilles also serves as a home port for several ships during the winter season.
Barbados has an economy based on tourism and the offshore sector. Main industries include tourism, sugar and light manufacturing. The country has a total of $385 million (2006) in exports – main export partners including Trinidad and Tobago (15.5%), Jamaica (13.5%), UK (9.4%), US (9.3%), Brazil (8.3%), Saint Lucia (7.2%) . Total imports is at $1.586 billion (2006) – main import partners include U.S. (30.5%), Trinidad and Tobago (27.6%), and UK (6.5%).