Columbus took his first footsteps in what we now know as the Caribbean in the islands now known as The Bahamas, where he and subsequent early Spanish visitors met the Taino/Lucayan people. This “discovery” of “the New World” was a major moment in world history. It was also pretty important to the Bahamanian/Taino/Lucayans, as afterward the Spanish removed them from the island and sent them into slavery on Hispaniola. By the time the British arrived in 1650 very few, if any, of their descendants remained.
The British used The Bahamas in the early 18th century as a base from which to fight pirates such as Blackbeard. Decades later, after the American Revolutionary War, thousands of pro-British former colonists moved to The Bahamas with their slaves to set up plantations. When the British abolished their slave trade in 1807 the Royal Navy liberated many Africans from slave ships and settled them in the Bahamas. They are the ancestors of about 85% of today’s Bahamanians. The Bahamas became independent from the British in 1973.
Today, tourism accounts for about half of the economy of The Bahamas, with offshore finance attracting substantial investment from international money-hiders. Though relatively well-to-do compared to their neighbors, especially those from Haiti (illegal Haitian immigration is a major political and social issue in The Bahamas), most Bahamians aren’t able to enjoy the lifestyle of the tourists who power their economy.
Wilkipedia on The Bahamas | Bahamas.com’s interactive map of the islands
Some information about Caribbean pirates:
Pirates: “the Robinhoods of the Sea?” | Pirates of the Caribbean: the Great Mischief and Danger Which Threatens Kingdoms and Commonwealths is a good place to start to learn about real pirates | “Pirates and Privateers”: All about maritime piracy
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