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Barbados has moved on to a new future after the country declared itself a republic and replaced Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state with its recently elected president, Sandra Mason. The land was colonized by Britain 400 years ago, eventually becoming a slave society where hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans were brought to work on plantations growing tobacco, cotton, and sugar, among other crops.

And while this moment was met with joyous celebration – and pop star Rihanna became, officially, a National Hero – the idea of the country becoming a republic had actually been debated for many years.

Kareem Smith, a reporter for the online publication Barbados Today, explains what the future holds for the country and how the younger generation pushed for this moment to happen.

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