2021 55¢ Heritage Breeds – Barbados Blackbelly Sheep
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: May 17, 2021
First Day City: Mount Vernon, VA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset, Flexographic
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 25,000,000
The Barbados Blackbelly sheep has been around for a very long time – as early as the mid-1600s. It is believed this breed originally came from Africa before evolving on the island of Barbados after it was colonized by Britain in 1627.
The original stock that the Barbados Blackbelly sheep came from was established on the island in 1657. The goal was to breed a sheep that would reproduce quickly and without much trouble. It was also necessary to have a sheep that could withstand the warmer climate of Barbados, given sheep's wool generally suits them for cooler temperatures.
A couple hundred years after the Barbados Blackbelly first began being developed, it was introduced to the United States. Four females and one male were brought in by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1904. From then on, there is no record of additional sheep being introduced until the 1970s. Professor Lemuel Goode of North Carolina State University obtained Barbados Blackbellies to create a research flock at his university.
Today, the population of Barbados Blackbelly sheep is making a comeback in the United States. This is thanks, in large part, to research flocks at universities. It's great that a breed once on the edge of extinction in the US, is in good standing once more.