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At the time that Barbados was first discovered by the British, the native people who had called the island home had abandoned it, leaving only a crudely made bridge that they had built over the Constitution River as evidence of their existence. The British began to refer to the area as Indian Bridge, which was eventually shortened to Bridgetown after a new bridge was constructed to replace the Indian one in 1654. One of Bridgeport's claims to fame as a British colony is that it is the only city outside of the North American Continent that was visited by George Washington. At one time early in its history, Bridgetown was Britain's most important New World city because of its strategic location and natural resources.
Today Bridgetown is the capitol of Barbados and serves as the island's main trade port and transportation hub. It is very modern city, home to two universities and a comprehensive public transportation system. Its airport and harbor are busy centers for tourists and commerce.