According to Countryaah data, the Las Bahamas archipelago was one of the few areas in the Caribbean where the Arawaks were not displaced by the Caribbean. This American population group was probably the first to “discover” the lost European seafarers (Columbus) on October 12, 1492.
It was probably on the Bahamas island of Guanahan, (or San Salvador, or Watling) that Cristoffer Columbus set foot on the American continent for the first time – although he probably thought he was in Asia. In letters, sent to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel, Columbus tells us: “The Arawaks showed such joy that they gave us their hearts, we became such good friends that it is almost a miracle!” But the enthusiasm was to cool quickly: “In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves you can sell!”…. “as these people are totally unfamiliar with the art of dealing with weapons.”
Of the 500 Arawaks that Columbus initially shipped to Spain, only 300 arrived alive. Of these, the majority perished within a few years. “European” diseases, but Columbus also looked for gold to fill its own pockets as well as to its Spanish benefactors. Spanish historian Francisco de Gomara says: “Over a period of 20 years, the Spaniards converted 40,000 people into slaves and used them for mining on other islands, such as Santo Domingo.
According to thesciencetutor, the Spaniards failed to colonize the Bahamas islands which were resource-poor. It was the English who established themselves on these islands and used them as a haven for their pirates and freighters who lived by seizing the gold the Spaniards had collected in the Latin American mines. Both the Bahamas and the Bermuda were in “the terrifying area where the hurricanes pass.” At the end of the year 1640, the English occupation of the Bahamas began, where they planted sugarcane plantations and other tropical crops. The labor force of the plantations consisted of African slaves whose descendants today make up the majority of the local population. Despite numerous controversies, British control of the Bahamas first became a legal reality in 1873 at the conclusion of the Madrid Treaty.
The British refused to accept the independence of the strategically important archipelago, and it did not happen until 1973 when the Bahamas proclaimed its independence within the Commonwealth, but it did not mean any major change to the population. Little by little, British domination was replaced by the United States.
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In reality, North Americans make up the majority of the 3 million tourists who visit the island each year, attracted to the beaches and casinos; the multinational corporations that have their headquarters in the Bahamas and who take advantage of the tax exemption offered by this “tax haven” are all North American, and it is first and foremost North Americans who buy and participate in the lottery that is largely involved in to finance the Bahamas. The second most important economic activity is banking: By the end of 1986, the island had more than 300 banks. In addition, since 1942, the United States has had a naval base in Freeport that helps control traffic from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean via the Florida Strait.