History of The BahamasBahamas Blog > Travel Guides > History of The Bahamas
The islands of the Bahamas have captivated people for centuries, from settlers to traders. Today we know The Bahamas as paradise, a beautiful place with pristine waters, a sunny atmosphere with white sandy beaches and amazing food; it’s the ideal beach vacation, but the true treasure is the Bahamian people, their love for their homeland and their love for sharing their paradise with its visitors.
Christopher Columbus made landfall on the island of Guanahani which he later renamed San Salvador in 1492, but as early as 300 to 400 AD, people migrated from what is now known as Cuba, and the Lucayan people began settling from 900 to 1500 AD, they brought a peaceful way of life and developed a sustainable way of life. The 40,000 Lucayan inhabitants had a viable way of life on the islands, until the arrival of Columbus, the Lucayans were targets for enslavement, and within 25 years of the landfall of Columbus, all the Lucayans were wiped from existence due to all the hardships they endured from diseases that were brought over.
In 1649 English Puritans arrived, they were in search of religious freedom; due to the food shortages, a man by the name of Captain William Sayles sailed the American colonies for assistance. Captain Sayles received many supplies from the Mass. Bay Colony, he then returned back to the islands with supplies to assist the settlers, in turn the settlers sent the Mass. Bay Colony brasileto wood – interesting fact: the proceeds from the brasileto wood helped purchase the land for what later became Harvard University. During this time of the 1600’s (to early 1700’s) was an age of Piracy, many pirates came to the islands, even some famous ones, such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack.
The Bahamas became a free and sovereign country on July 10, 1973 which ended 325 years of British rule; however, The Bahamas are still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations which comprises 53 countries across all continents and is an intergovernmental organization (most of them at one stage were under British rule). Member states of the Commonwealth have no legal obligations to one another, they are more united by language, history, and shared values on democracy or rule of law, all these values are in the Commonwealth Charter. The Bahamians celebrate Bahamian Independence Day on July 10th. Interesting fact: The Hotel and Steam Ship Service Act of 1898 opened the world up to The Bahamas, it provided the support needed by the government for the construction of hotels along with subsidized steamship service, bringing many tourism activity to the country.
Bahamian culture is a creative and fused culture, it’s much more than a tropical paradise, it’s packed with a rich History and a diverse heritage, and that’s what makes life in the Bahamas so amazing. The Bahamians are proud of their way of life and they show it through self-expression with beautiful art, music and dance, Bahamian cuisine, and their cultural ways. Music plays a major role in Bahamian culture with fused traces of Caribbean calypso, English folk songs, African rhythms, and their very own unique Bahamian goombay traditional music. Food is a whole extra aspect to their culture with seafood being the staple part of their diet. Interesting fact about Bahamian culture is their use for bush medicine, there are over 100 indigenous plants used for medicinal purposes such as aloe vera, fig leaf, crab bush, and white sage. One very unique aspect to the Bahamians that is found nowhere else, is Junkanoo, it’s a vibrant, colourful, and an energetic parade made up of Bahamians dancing and rushin’ to the music of drums, horns, cowbells and whistles and has been celebrated since the 16th century.
Today, the Bahamians are known for their welcoming manner, and they embrace tourists with their lifestyle in The Bahamas. The way of life in the Bahamas is very laidback and desirable, that’s why it’s the ideal beach vacation to many. The Bahamas are packed with so many adventures to go on and rich with so much History to learn about; from beach adventures to shopping, eating local delicacies, immersing yourself on the eco-discovery tour or checking out a Blue Hole with the Inland Blue Snorkel adventure, to jet skiing or kayaking…the adventures are endless! So, create your memories and add a little History to the Bahamas with your next adventure, because paradise awaits!
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