Historic Bridgetown is an outstanding example of British colonial architecture, consisting of a well-preserved old town built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries which testifies to the spread of Great Britain's Atlantic colonial empire. A nearby military garrison consists of numerous historic buildings.
As one of the earliest established towns with a fortified port in the Caribbean network of military and maritime-mercantile outposts of the British Atlantic, Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison was the focus of trade-based English expansion in the Americas.
By the 17th century, the fortified port town was able to establish its importance in the British Atlantic trade and became an entrepôt for goods, especially sugar, and enslaved persons destined for Barbados and the rest of the Americas.
Historic Bridgetown’s irregular settlement patterns and 17th Century street layout of an English medieval type, in particular the organic serpentine streets, supported the development and transformation of creolized forms of architecture, including Caribbean Georgian.
Historic Bridgetown’s fortified port spaces were linked along the Bay Street corridor from the historic town’s center to St. Ann’s Garrison. The property’s natural harbor, Carlisle Bay, was the first port of call on the trans-Atlantic crossing and was perfectly positioned as the launching point for the projection of British imperial power, to defend and expand Britain’s trade interests in the region and the Atlantic World.
Used as a base for amphibious command and control, the garrison housed the Eastern Caribbean headquarters of the British Army and Navy. Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison participated not only in the international trade of goods and enslaved persons but also in the transmission of ideas and cultures that characterized the developing colonial enterprise in the Atlantic World.