History of the Bahamas

The Bahamas is an archipelago situated at the northern most part of the Greater Antilles. The northern most islands are just a half hour to forty five minute flight away from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. The area is known for its beautiful sand, sea, and sky. The attributes are essential to the country’s main industry: tourism. There are many hotels which have famous and well known names. Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island across from the island of New Providence, Sandals in Nassau, New Providence, and the Lucaya Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama are a few of the many.

The Bahamas was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus when he and his crew sailed west on the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Columbus gained permission from the Queen and King of Spain to seek a new and perhaps quicker passage to India by traveling west instead of east. When Columbus landed on San Salvador in 1492 and realized he had discovered new land, he named the region the West Indies. Columbus brought the good news back to Spain, and they quickly took over the islands, using the local Indians as slaves and eventually killing them all through too much work, murder, or European disease.

The flag is a symbol of color. The black represents the native people of the Bahamas. The original inhabitants were the Lucayan and Arawak Indians who were the main dwellers before 1492. The yellow represents the bright sun, and the beautiful sand. The aqua blue represents the vibrant skies and crystal clear waters. The flag was created in 1973 when the Bahamas gained its Independence from the United Kingdom. The Bahamian National Anthem was also composed for Independence.

The Bahamas has a very unique culture while it is also similar to that of its Caribbean neighbors. One of the most notable events that occurs twice annually is Junkanoo. Junkanoo is a parade/festival started by the slaves. It has evolved into a contest between groups who “rush” down Bay Street in Nassau every Christmas night/Boxing Day morning and New Year’s Eve night/ New Year’s morning. The groups have thousands of members each, and they all participate in making huge floats and costumes out of cardboard and colorful frayed paper. It is truly a vibrant and enriching event.

The food of the Bahamas can be the tastiest in the world, but also probably the most fattening. Conch, a shellfish that resides in the shallows around the Bahamas is a favorite ingredient for Bahamians. Some of the many dishes that use conch are: conch salad, conch fritters, cracked conch, conch chowder, scorched conch, and stewed conch. Side dishes include the delicious peas ‘n rice, macaroni and cheese (which isn’t just the plain Kraft stuff), and fried Plantain. There are many Bahamian delicacies, and I couldn’t possibly name them all. To list a few: chicken souse and Johnny cake, boiled fish, grits and corned beef, grouper fingers/peas ‘n rice, and fried snapper.

Having the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area such a short plane ride away is very convenient for Bahamians. Aside from spending a weekend at the mall and COSTCO, Bahamians also can be seen among the crowd at Sun Life Stadium watching the Miami Dolphins thrash whoever their opponent may be, usually it’s the Jets, Bills, or Patriots. Because of this convenience and love for the Dolphins, I bring you the Miami Dolphins Bahamian Website, for an updated, and sometimes opinionated view from a couple Dolfans from the Bahamas!

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