Hello! Welcome to the Bahamas! Let’s get to learn about this country some more!
- Government & Geography
- Famous People
- Culture & Daily Life
- Travel Tips
Government & Geography
The Flag of the Bahamas
Coat of Arms
Population: 385,637 (as of 2018)
Languages: English, Bahamian Creole
National Anthem: March On, Bahamaland
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
800-1000 AD: Natives coming from Cuba and Hispañola settle on the Bahamian islands. They are known as the Lucayan Taino people.
1492: Christopher Columbus arrives on one of the Bahamian islands he named San Salvador. He goes on to explore other islands in the Caribbean.
1494: The Treaty of Tordesillas is signed, dividing land in the New World between Spain and Portugal. The Bahamas fell under Spanish control, and the Lucayans are enslaved and eventually become extinct due to European diseases.
1648: A group of English Puritan land on the Bahamian Islands. Led by Captain William Sayle, the Eleutheran Adventurers set up the first permanent colony in the Bahamas. However, the Eleutheran colonizers were not as successful as the other British colonies in the New World, as they face constant starvation.
1670: The port of Nassau is established.
1684: The Spanish burn the settlements of Eleuthera and New Providence as a result of constant battles with privateers (paid pirates). Settlers from Jamaica re-establish the town
1703, 1706: During the War of Spanish Succession, Spanish and French militants burn Nassau to the ground.
1706: The pirateers of the Bahamas become pirates and set up the Republic of Pirates. The Age of Pirates begins. Many pirates, including Blackbeard, used the islands as their main base.
1718: A British effort is led (which succeeds) to remove the pirates by Woodes Rogers. The British regain control of the islands.
1782: During the American Revolution, the Spanish take control of the Bahamas from the British. They regaine control of the islands in 1783.
1783-1834: After the Revolution, British Loyalists fled to the Bahamas to escape trouble in the Americas. The Loyalists bring their slaves with them and start numerous cotton plantations, but fail due to overuse of the soil and constant insect attacks. The population triples over this time.
1834: The British emancipate the slaves in all their territories, including the Bahamas. Freedman start growing their own crops and running farms.
1861-1865: During the American Civil War, the Bahamas was used as a blockade runaround between the Confederacy and the British for cotton trade.
1940: -The first airport, Oakes Field, was opened in the Bahamas and was used as a Royal Air Force Base during World War II. It is now known as the Lynden Pindling International Airport
- Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, become the governor of the Bahamas during the war.
1957: Oakes Field becomes a public, international airport available for travel. When Havana closes to Americans in 1961, Nassau becomes an area of interest to tourists.
January 7th, 1964: A new Constitution is adopted for the Bahamas by the British, and achieves a form of self-rule.
July 10th, 1973: The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is established as a new, independent country, and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Other Interesting History Tidbits
1965: Thunderball, the 4th James Bond movie, had some scenes filmed in Nassau
1997: Disney signed a 99-year contract with the Bahamian government for control of Gorda Cay, better-known as Castaway Cay.
Culture & Daily Life
Junkanoo: Junkanoo is a celebration and festival held by the citizens of the Bahamas every year, consisting of a parade, music, and bright, glamorous costumes, a celebration of both Bahamian and African culture. Junkanoo is celebrated on Bahamian Independence Day (July 10th), Boxing Day (December 26th), and New Year’s Day (January 1st). Different residents give different stories about the holiday. Some say a West-African Prince named John Canoe outsmarted the British and became a hero. Other accounts say it came from “gens inconnus” or “masked people”. Another story says that for 3 days during Christmas, slaves had time off, and celebrated on the streets. It is encouraged for visitors and tourists to join the celebration.
Music: Rake ‘N’ Scrape and calypso are popular styles of music in the Bahamas. Rake ‘N’ Scrape uses different percussion and wind instruments such as a hand saw, a concertina (or small accordion), and different kinds of drums.
Meanwhile, calypso, which is popular across the Caribbean uses many wind and percussion instruments, including saxophones, trumpets, marimbas (xylophones), steel drums, congas, and bongos. Having started in Trinidad and Tobago (the island country close to Venezuela, see 1973 map) in the 17th century, it is well-known across the region and the continent. Some famous examples of calypso include “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte, and was major inspiration for “Under the Sea” in The Little Mermaid.
Bush Medicine: A technique for healing that slaves brought to the Caribbean, bush medicine is using plants to cure sickness and injuries. Visitors have the opportunity to visit and learn more about these plant medicines.
- According to the Islands of Bahamas website, notable and veritable services have a Bahamahost sticker.
- Casual summer clothing can be worn all year round, but bring a jacket for chilly, winter nights.
- DO NOT wear swimming/beach clothes in churches, casinos, and restaurants. You must cover up or change.
- The Bahamian Dollar is nearly the same amount as the American Dollar. American Dollars can also be used as currency in the Bahamas
Hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the Bahamas!
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