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Travel Guide 2   >   Bahamas   >   History

   
 

Bahaman History


The first definite evidence of human settlement in the Bahamas dates to the 7th century AD. A seafaring people, the Taino (who later came to be known to Europeans as "Lucayans") are known to have migrated into the archipelago from Hispaniola and Cuba.

Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the New World at San Salvador Island (also known as Watling's Island) in the southern Bahamas in 1492. There is believed to have been a population of around 40,000 Lucayans at the time of Columbus' landing, but within a quarter century, the entire people had been virtually eliminated by disease, warfare, and deportation and the imposition of slavery (many Lucayans were taken to Hispaniola as slaves).

English settlers began to arrive in the Bahamas in 1647, which were by that time, virtually unoccupied. The islands became a British crown colony in 1717, and following the American Revolution (1775 to 1783), around 8,000 loyalists and their slaves arrived in the islands. After the ending of slavery on the islands in 1834, the population was further boosted by a steady trickle of fugitive slaves from the United States.

Britain granted full internal self-government to the islands in 1964, and in 1973, the islands became fully independent (although remaining a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and with the British Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, as Queen of the Bahamas). The Bahamas joined CARICOM (at the time called "Caribbean Community and Common Market") in 1974, and after many years of prolonged economic growth, today has the 3rd highest GDP in the western hemisphere (after the United States and Canada).

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Books about Bahaman History


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History of the Bahamas

By Michael Craton

Brand: San Salvador Press
Paperback (332 pages)

History of the Bahamas
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Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People: Volume Two: From the Ending of Slavery to the Twenty-First Century

By Michael Craton

University of Georgia Press
Released: 2000-09-29
Paperback (584 pages)

Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People: Volume Two: From the Ending of Slavery to the Twenty-First Century
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The present work concludes the important and monumental undertaking of Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People, creating the most thorough and comprehensive history yet written of a Caribbean country and its people. In the first volume Michael Craton and Gail Saunders traced the developments of a unique archipelagic nation from aboriginal times to the period just before emancipation. This long-awaited second volume offers a description and interpretation of the social developments of the Bahamas in the years from 1830 to the present.

Volume Two divides this period into three chronological sections, dealing first with adjustments to emancipation by former masters and former slaves between 1834 and 1900, followed by a study of the slow process of modernization between 1900 and 1973 that combines a systematic study of the stimulus of social change, a candid examination of current problems, and a penetrating but sympathetic analysis of what makes the Bahamas and Bahamians distinctive in the world.

This work is an eminent product of the New Social History, intended for Bahamians, others interested in the Bahamas, and scholars alike. It skillfully interweaves generalizations and regional comparisons with particular examples, drawn from travelers' accounts, autobiographies, private letters, and the imaginative reconstruction of official dispatches and newspaper reports. Lavishly illustrated with contemporary photographs and original maps, it stands as a model for forthcoming histories of similar small ex-colonial nations in the region.

Bahamas (Discovering the Caribbean: History, Politics, and Culture)

By Colleen Madonna Flood Williams

Mason Crest
Library Binding (63 pages)

Bahamas (Discovering the Caribbean: History, Politics, and Culture)
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Introduces the Bahamas, describing its history, politics, culture, and geography.

History Of The West Indies: Comprising Jamaica, Honduras, Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, The Bahamas, And The Virgin Isles

By R. Montgomery Martin

Andesite Press
Paperback (362 pages)

History Of The West Indies: Comprising Jamaica, Honduras, Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, The Bahamas, And The Virgin Isles
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This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

A History of the Bahamas

By Michael Craton

Collins
Hardcover

A History of the Bahamas
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Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People: Volume One: From Aboriginal Times to the End of Slavery

By Michael Craton

Brand: University of Georgia Press
Released: 1999-04-01
Paperback (496 pages)

Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People: Volume One: From Aboriginal Times to the End of Slavery
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From two leading historians of Bahamian history comes this groundbreaking work on a unique archipelagic nation. Islanders in the Stream is not only the first comprehensive chronicle of the Bahamian people, it is also the first work of its kind and scale for any Caribbean nation. This comprehensive volume details the full, extraordinary history of all the people who have ever inhabited the islands and explains the evolution of a Bahamian national identity within the framework of neighboring territories in similar circumstances.

Divided into three sections, this volume covers the period from aboriginal times to the end of formal slavery in 1838. The first part includes authoritative accounts of Columbus’s first landfall in the New World on San Salvador island, his voyage through the Bahamas, and the ensuing disastrous collision of European and native Arawak cultures. Covering the islands’ initial settlement, the second section ranges from the initial European incursions and the first English settlements through the lawless era of pirate misrule to Britain’s official takeover and development of the colony in the eighteenth century. The third, and largest, section offers a full analysis of Bahamian slave society through the great influx of Empire Loyalists and their slaves at the end of the American Revolution to the purported achievement of full freedom for the slaves in 1838.

This work is both a pioneering social history and a richly illustrated narrative modifying previous Eurocentric interpretations of the islands’ early history. Written to appeal to Bahamians as well as all those interested in Caribbean history, Islanders in the Stream looks at the islands and their people in their fullest contexts, constituting not just the most thorough view of Bahamian history to date but a major contribution to Caribbean historiography.



 
 
 

 
 
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