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Barbados, independent state and easternmost island of the West Indies. It lies east of Saint Vincent and the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The island is 34 km (21 mi) long and 23 km (14 mi) wide at its widest part, and has a total area of 430 sq km (166 sq mi). Barbados is generally flat along the coast and hilly in the interior. Mount Hillaby, the highest point, rises to 340 m (1,115 ft). Coral deposits form the surface of the island and are underlaid by sedimentary rock. Barbados has no natural deepwater harbors and is largely surrounded by coral reefs. The climate is tropical, tempered by sea breezes; the mean annual temperature is about 26C (about 79F). A rainy season prevails from June to December, with average annual rainfall varying from 1,000 mm (about 40 in) on the coast to 2,300 mm (about 90 in) on the central ridge. Hurricanes occasionally strike the island. Wildlife is limited and includes hares, monkeys, mongooses, tree frogs, and various species of birds. Barbados lacks mineral resources, and nearly all the natural vegetation has been cleared for cultivation. The population of Barbados (2000 estimate) was 259,248. The average population density of 603 persons per sq km (1,562 per sq mi) was notably high considering the predominantly rural agricultural character of the island.
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