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Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Bahamas

The Bahamas consists of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean. It lies north of Cuba, northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands; southeast of Florida and east of the Florida Keys.

The name “Bahamas” comes from the Spanish “baja mar” meaning “low tide” or “shallow sea”.

The Bahamas were originally inhabited by the Lucayan, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taino people.

Watling Island, an island of The Bahamas that the natives called Guanahani, was the site of Christopher Columbus' first landfall in the New World on October 12 1492; he named it San Salvador after Christ the Savior.

Landing of Columbus on San Salvador

Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León reached the northern end of The Bahamas on his first voyage to Florida on Easter Sunday, March 27, 1513.

The Spanish shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola  (the Dominican Republic and Haiti).

The Bahamas were mostly deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.

The Bahamas became a British Crown colony in 1718 (a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire.) The first Governor was a former pirate named Woodes Rogers.

The United States Marine Corps was founded as the Continental Marines by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1775 during the American Revolutionary War. The first Marine landing on a hostile shore was New Province Island in the Bahamas under Capt. Samuel Nicholas the following March.

After the American War of Independence, the Crown resettled thousands of American Loyalists in the Bahamas; they brought their slaves with them and established plantations on land grants. Later, the islands became a haven for freed black slaves:

Slavery in the Bahamas was abolished in 1834. Today the descendants of slaves and free Africans make up nearly 90 percent of the population;.

After British Captain D'Arcy Rutherford had watched water skiing on the French Riviera, he started  practiscng it himself at Nassau, in the Bahamas in the early 1920s. Americans there were attracted so much by it that they introduced it, in turn, to the States.

Snow fell on January 19, 1977 in the Bahamas.
Diana Nyad becomes the first person to swim from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979. She swam from North Bimini, The Bahamas, to Juno Beach, Florida, a distance of 102 miles.

The prime minister of The Bahamas, Perry Christie, won a bronze medal for triple jump at the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games.

Sources Wikipedia, Daily Express

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