8.1 The most easterly of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, the island of Barbados became an independent State in 1966, having been a British colony since 1627. Despite its independence, Barbados remains an active member of the Commonwealth and continues to have strong links with Britain through the office of the Governor General who is appointed by the Crown. The links with Britain are evident in the parliamentary and legal system, which are based largely on the British model. The Privy Council still remains the highest court of appeal. English is the official language. The official unit of currency is the Barbados dollar, which has been linked to the US dollar since 1975.