Barbados situated 100 km (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. Its capital is Bridgetown. The Spanish and Portuguese briefly claimed Barbados from the late 16th to the 17th centuries. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and it became an English and later British colony. In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm.