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Nassau, Bahamas. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Nassau, Bahamas

14 days ago
Written by Ronald Toppe
Ports > Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

14 days agoPorts
Written by Ronald Toppe
Nassau, Bahamas. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Statsraad Lehmkuhl visits Nassau December 2-12 2021.

The Bahamas consists of 700 large and small islands, east of Florida and north of Cuba.

On most of the islands people live scattered, the only real city is Nassau, on the island of New Providence. The city has just over 200,000 inhabitants, and covers the entire eastern part of the small island, plus the surrounding coast. The only natural area left is Lake Killarney in the middle of the island. The shallow lake is lined with mangrove forests, and has a rich bird life, but here too, development interests are pushing.

Mangroves have support trunks that makes them stable in the mud. Photo: Ronald Toppe
Mangroves have support trunks that makes them stable in the mud. Photo: Ronald Toppe

As on the other islands in the Caribbean, the Tainos people lived in the Bahamas before the Europeans arrived. When the Spaniards came to the islands in 1492, the indigenous people were either killed or enslaved and transported away. From the early 16th century to 1648, the archipelago was virtually deserted. Then English settlers from Bermuda arrived, and in 1670 Nassau was established.

Like the Port Royal in Jamaica, Nassau was a notorious home port for pirates, which the British used as mercenaries in the war against Spain in the 18th century. For several years, there were ten times more pirates than other peoples living there, and in 1706, the pirates proclaimed Nassau an independent pirate state.

The British eventually had enough, and in 1718 they took control of Nassau and made Bermuda a British colony.

Nassau, Bahamas. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Nassau, Bahamas. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

During the American Revolutionary War, 1715-83, the British colonies broke away from Britain, forming the United States. Thousands of Britons, who still supported Britain, fled to the Bahamas with their slaves. Nassau grew from being a small town around the harbor to the east, to becoming a major city.

In 1807, the British made the slave trade illegal, and in the years that followed, British warships took control of slave ships en route to the United States. Several thousand slaves were set free and settled on the islands of the Bahamas. Today, 90 percent of the population are descendants of slaves.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the prohibition in the United States made Nassau a popular destination for party-loving Americans, just like Havana.

The Bahamas became independent in 1973.

Paradise Island, Nassau Photo: Flickr / Creative Commons
Paradise Island, Nassau Photo: Flickr / Creative Commons

Nassau is still a popular resort town and cruise port. The archipelago is visited by over 8 million tourists annually, and half of the inhabitants work in the tourism industry.

Normal maximum temperature in December: 26,4 ℃
Normal precipitation in December: 52 mm

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