|In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the Western
Hemisphere in The Bahamas. Spanish slave traders later captured native
Lucayan Indians to work in gold mines in Hispaniola, and within 25 years,
all Lucayans perished. In 1647, a group of English and Bermudan religious
refugees, the Eleutheran Adventurers, founded the first permanent European
settlement in The Bahamas and gave Eleuthera Island its name. Similar
groups of settlers formed governments in The Bahamas until the islands
became a British Crown Colony in 1717.
The first Royal Governor, a former pirate named Woodes Rogers, brought law and order to The Bahamas in 1718, when he expelled the buccaneers who had used the islands as hideouts. During the American Civil War, The Bahamas prospered as a center of Confederate blockade-running. After World War I, the islands served as a base for American rumrunners. During World War II, the Allies centered their flight training and antisubmarine operations for the Caribbean in The Bahamas. Since then, The Bahamas has developed into a major tourist and financial services center. Bahamians achieved self-government through a series of constitutional and political steps, attaining internal self-government in 1964 and full independence within the Commonwealth on July 10, 1973.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of State
Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > The Bahamas > Map Economy History