Barbados was discovered by the Portuguese around 1605. They named the island Los Barbados after the bearded fig tree found on the island. The tree is really a banyan with large aerial roots that resembles a mans beard. In the portuguese language the beard is barbado or barbaudo. These gigantic trees cover a very large area. Their aerial roots hang down towards the ground from trunk like forms. Eventually they meet the ground and the trunk- like form develops as an extended part of the tree. Barbados was later claimed and settled by the British in 1625.