History of the Bahamas

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The history of the Bahamas begins with the earliest arrival of humans in the islands in the first millennium AD. The first inhabitants of the islands now known as The Bahamas were the Lucayans, an Arawakan-speaking Taino people, who arrived between about 500 and 800 from the islands of the Caribbean. Recorded history begins in 1492, when Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Guanahani, an unknown island somewhere in the Bahamas, on his first voyage. The earliest permanent European settlement occurred in 1647 on the island of Eleuthera. The 18th century slave trade brought many Africans to the Bahamas. Their descendants constitute 85 percent of the Bahamian population. The Bahamas gained independence from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973.


Pre-Columbian period

The first inhabitants of the Bahamas were the Lucayans, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Tainos of the Greater Antilles. Sometime between 500 to 800, Tainos began crossing in dugout canoes from Hispaniola and/or Cuba to the Bahamas. Suggested routes for the earliest migrations have been from Hispaniola to the Caicos Islands, from Hispaniola or eastern Cuba to Great Inagua Island, and from central Cuba to Long Island (in the central Bahamas). William Keegan argues that the most likely route was from Hispaniola or Cuba to Great Inagua. Granberry and Vescelius argue for two migrations, from Hispaniola to the Turks and Caicos Islands and from Cuba to Great Inagua.[1]

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