1898Tourism and Independence On July 10, 1973, The Bahamas became a free and sovereign country, ending 325 years of peaceful British rule. However, The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and we celebrate July 10th as Bahamian Independence Day.
The Lucayans, the first Bahamians, established settlements in which land and resources were largely shared. The leader of these settlements was called the Cacique; thus, he was the chief mediator of disputes and settlement-wide decisions.
For many years, historians believed that The Bahamas was not colonized until the 17th century. However, recent studies show that there may have been attempts of colonization by groups from Spain, France, Britain, and the Netherlands. The French settled in Abaco in 1565, and tried again in 1625.
The Lucayans were the first indigenous Americans encountered by Christopher Columbus. Shortly after contact, the Spanish kidnapped and enslaved Lucayans, with the genocide culminating in complete eradication of Lucayan people from the Bahamas by 1520.
The Republic of Pirates was the base or stronghold of a loose confederacy run by privateers-turned-pirates in Nassau on New Providence island in the Bahamas for about eleven years from 1706 until 1718. Although not a state or republic in a formal sense, it was governed by its own informal ‘Code of Conduct’.
|Founded and Rebuilt/Renamed||Founded in 1670 as Charles Town, rebuilt as Nassau in 1695|
The Lucayans grew corn, sweet potatoes/yams. They caught fish and hunted for small animals, like the iguana, and birds to add fish and meat to their diet. They cooked food on fires in clay pots. Their furniture and tools were very simple and made from wood and stone.
Like many island cultures, the Lucayan people fished, grew crops and had a trading network with other islands. The Lucayans grew cotton for trade and for making simple necessities. They grew agave for food, but ate mostly shellfish.
The citizens of the Bahamas are known as Bahamians.
In 1969 the name Commonwealth of the Bahama Islands was adopted, but upon independence, on July 10, 1973, the official form became The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
It was during his administration the Bahamas ‘ first motto “Expulsis, Piratis, Restituta Commercia” was coined. In 1729 he arrived in The Bahamas with instructions to call an assembly.
Columbus and his ships landed on an island that the native Lucayan people called Guanahani. Columbus renamed it San Salvador. While he was fairly accurate of the position and shape of the islands we know as Cuba and Hispaniola, his inaccurate depictions of the Bahamas leave the exact location of Guanahani undetermined.
Body painting was common among Arawakan peoples, partly for the sake of aesthetics but mostly as an act of spirituality.
The Lucayans painted their bodies for beauty and religious reasons.
Their heads were flattened at the foreheads as babies when the skull was bound between two boards. This elongated head was considered as a mark of beauty. This may have been done to thicken the skull thus it could withstand heavy blows. Tales were told of Spaniards who broke their swords on Arawak heads.