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Brief History of the Bahamas
Even the most skilled explorers have gotten lost in Bahamas’ abundant natural beauty. For centuries, Bahamas islands captivated settlers, traders, invaders, and even pirates.
But how did the Bahamas became what it is today? Read on to know how its story begins.
As early as 300-400 AD, people originating from Cuba have lived on the Islands of the Bahamas and depended on the ocean as their source of food. By 900 to 1500 AD, the islands were inhabited by the Lucayan people. They have lived a prosperous way of life and had cultivated practical political, social and religious structure.
Christopher Columbus landed in 1492 on the island of San Salvador. Stirred by the shallow sea, he called them as islands of the “BajaMar” or shallow sea, which is later known as the Islands of Bahamas. During his arrival, there were roughly 40,000 Lacuyans in the island. Due to the peaceful nature of the Lacuyans, they were easily targeted for enslavement, but, in only 25 years, the whole population of Lacuyans was extinct because of diseases, slavery and hardships that they experienced.
English Puritans, also called as “Eleutheran Adventurers”, landed on the island in 1649 searching for religious freedom. Instead, they were faced with a shortage of food. Captain William Sayles travelled to the colonies in America to ask for help and were given supplies by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. On his return, the settlers expressed their gratitude by shipping them brasileto wood. The income helped buy the land for what later was known as Harvard University.
Age of Piracy
During the 1600s up to the early 1700s, a lot of pirates and privateers came to the Island of Bahamas; among them were Calico Jack and Blackbeard.
The shallow waters of the Bahamas and 700 islands made it conducive for hiding precious treasures. And its proximity to travelling lanes made it a great area for stealing from merchant ships. Rumors of hidden treasures buried among the islands still exist even today. It was thought that a wealthy privateer, Sir Henry Morgan, buried treasures all over the island and the infamous British pirate William Catt buried his treasure loot on Cat Island.
Recognized as a commercial port during 1670, Nassau was filled with lawless, seafaring men. After a few years, the port of Nassau was destroyed two times – first by the Spanish troops and the second time was by the French and Spanish navies.
Later on, pirates started raiding the profoundly loaded cargo ships. By 1718, Woodes Rogers was appointed by the King of England as the Royal Governor. His task was to restore law and order in the place. And he was successful. He gave amnesty to people who surrendered. And for those who resisted, they were hanged. Roughly 300 pirates surrendered to the crown and the rest, which included Blackbeard, took flight.
After a century, colonists from America who were loyal to Britain landed in Eleutheran. A lot of them brought with them their slaves along with their agriculture and shipbuilding skills. Their arrival served as a great influence in the way of life of the Eleutheran. And in 1783, they were able to set their independence and forced out the Spanish in the region without firing a single shot.
Tourism and Independence
The doors of the Bahamas were opened to the world because of The Hotel and Steam Ship Service Act of 1898. The act gave the government the support it needed for the building of hotels and sponsored steamship service.
On July 10, 1973, the Bahamas gained their freedom, which ended the 325-year British rule. The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and July 10this recognized as the Bahamian Independence Day.
Aside from its serene beaches with clear, turquoise water and top-notch resorts, another reason to visit the Bahamas is its rich, interesting history. Fascinated to fly to the Bahamas soon? Why not book a private flight and take advantage of our quality air charter services? Contact us for more details!