The first inhabitants of the islands now known as The Bahamas were the Lucayans. They arrived between about 500AD and 800AD from the islands of the Caribbean.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus made landfall in the New World on the island of San Salvador. Inspired by the surrounding shallow sea, he described them as islands of the “baja mar” (shallow sea), which has become The Islands of The Bahamas.
In 1649, English Puritans known as “Eleutheran Adventurers” arrived on the islands in search of religious freedom. Instead, they found food shortages. Captain William Sayles sailed to the American colonies for help and received supplies from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Upon his return, the settlers thanked them by shipping them brasileto wood. The proceeds helped purchase land for what later became Harvard University.
During the late 1600s to early 1700s, many privateers and pirates came to The Bahamas. The most famous ones being Blackbeard and Calico Jack. There were also female pirates like Anne Bonny and Mary Read disguised as men. The shallow waters of The Bahamas and 700 islands made great hiding places for treasure and our close proximity to well-traveled shipping lanes made for the perfect spot to steal from merchant ships. There are rumors of hidden treasure that still exist today.
The Hotel and Steam Ship Service Act of 1898 opened the doors of The Bahamas to the world. This act provided the government support needed for the construction of hotels and subsidized steamship service.
On July 10, 1973, The Bahamas became a free and sovereign country, ending 325 years in a peaceful transition from British rule. The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and celebrates July 10th as Bahamian Independence Day.
¡HAPPY 37TH BIRTHDAY BAHAMAS!