BARBADOS has announced its first elected head of state as it prepares become a republic.

Dame Sandra Mason was today voted in to the historic role by members of the Caribbean country's Lower House and Upper House of Parliament.

The new president is the first Barbadian head of state and previously acted as its governor-general, making her the second woman to hold that position.

The move comes just weeks after parliamentarians voted to become a republic and remove the Queen as head of state. That decision comes into effect on November 30 and was passed by 25 votes to nil.

Claimed for King James I in 1625, the island nation has had a British head of state ever since. But the former colony has been independent since 1966 and will make the change on its independence day.

The country has its own official tartan and the broken trident featured on its flag symbolises its break away from London rule.

Mason's appointment also means the nation is led by two women, with Prime Minister Mia Mottley elected in 2018. She has said the transition to being a republic has been "long in coming", joking that this is why she has "so much grey hair now".

Congratulating Mason, who is a former teacher and senior judge, Jamaican MP Lisa Hanna said she and Mottley are "boldly leading from the front and taking a giant step for the world to see".