9 facts about the Bahamas

ORLANDO, Fla. — 1. People migrated from Cuba to the Bahamas between 300 and 400 A.D. and lived on seafood. The Lucayan people settled on the islands between 900 and 1500 A.D.

2. Christopher Columbus made landfall in the New World in 1492 on San Salvador Island, the Bahamas.

3. The name "Bahamas" originates from the Spanish phrase "baja mar," meaning "shallow sea," which is how Columbus described the islands.

4. About 40,000 Lucayans lived on the islands upon Columbus' arrival. Within 25 years, they were wiped out by disease and slavery.

5. English Puritans called Eleutheran Adventurers arrived at the Bahamas in 1649, seeking religious freedom.

6. During the late 1600s and the early 1700s, many privateers and pirates lived in the Bahamas, including Blackbeard and Calico Jack.

7. Nassau, the nation's capital city, was established in 1670 as a port. Spanish troops destroyed it once and the French and Spanish navies destroyed it a second time.

8. The Bahamian economy thrived because of the U.S. Civil War and the Prohibition era.

9. The Bahamas gained its independence from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973, after 325 years of British rule. Like many former British colonies, the Bahamas are a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Source: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.

Click here to read more about Bahamian history.

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