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A Brief History of The Bahamas

When asked in history lessons at school what made the year 1492 so special, almost every student knows the answer. It was the year that Christopher Columbus discovered America. The word America has different connotations in Europe and in America itself. When people in Europe talk about America they almost invariably refer to The United States of America, with Washington, D.C. as its capital.

In Europe people are not even aware of the geographical term North America, which includes Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. So when asked about Christopher Columbus and his discovery they believe that he landed somewhere near Boston.In fact the place where Columbus first arrived in the Western Hemisphere was The Bahamas.

The Bahamas are a group of islands and it was on one of them, San Salvador, where Christopher Columbus set foot on October 12th , 1492.The Bahamas themselves were never of much interest to the Spanish and they never really settled there. What they did do though was turn all the local residents into slaves and send them to the mines of San Domingo. Basically the whole population just disappeared within a very short time.But it seems that not very many people were living in the Bahamas, because after their abduction and forced slavery there was hardly any evidence of civilization like abandoned houses, temples and ruins left. Nor was there much evidence of extensive agriculture or soil cultivation.

Nowadays there are many fruit trees on the islands, but their introduction through the Spanish can be traced back and there are absolutely no animals that could serve as food for human consumption. The aboriginals that used to live there were evidently fishermen or lived on wild fruit and corn.Very little is known about the original inhabitants so that it's almost impossible to classify them.

Maybe they came originally from what is known today as Florida. What is known is that they were not cannibals and seemed to have been very mild-mannered.The first foreigners to settle in the Bahamas were a group of religious refugees from England . They were Eleutheran Adventurers, persecuted by their local church and they gave Eleuthera island its name. After other groups of settlers from different parts of the world established their own settlements with their own governments in The Bahamas the islands became a British Crown Colony.

The ongoing animosity and sometimes outright war between Spain and Great Britain gave adventurers, many of them English and French, the opportunity to use the islands as their base from which to attack Spanish ships that went to or came from the New World. It was the natural geological formations of the islands and their coasts that gave those pirates a superb advantage and provided them with a perfect hiding place.When in 1697 Europe arrived at peace through the treaty of Riswick England stopped protecting the islands. The Bahamas, now being on their own and without any official alliances, soon turned into a haven for pirates who fought all nations and attacked all ships independent of their origin. Lawlessness reigned and The Bahamas became a by-word for crime at that time.

This state of affairs could obviously not continue indefinitely and in 1718 England assumed responsibility again for the islands and began to exterminate all pirates. Soon law and order were established again and the British Crown was again in possession of the islands until 1973, when The Bahamas gained full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations.

.Michael Russell Your Independent guide to The Bahamas.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Russell.


By: Michael Russell

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