Nassau, Bahamas

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Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial center of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The city has a population of 248,948 (2010 census), 70 percent of the entire population of The Bahamas (353,658). Lynden Pindling International Airport, the major airport for The Bahamas, is located about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of Nassau city center, and has daily flights to major cities in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The city is located on the island of New Providence, which functions much like a federal district. While there is no local government, it is governed directly as an administrative division of the national government. Nassau is considered a historical stronghold of pirates.[1]

Nassau's modern growth began just over 200 years ago with the influx of thousands of American Loyalists and enslaved Africans to The Bahamas following the American War of Independence. Many of them settled in Nassau (the then and still commerce capital of The Bahamas) and eventually came to outnumber the original inhabitants.

As the population of Nassau grew, so did the built-up areas. Today the city dominates the entire island and its satellite, Paradise Island. However, until the post-Second World War era, the outer suburbs scarcely existed. Most of New Providence was uncultivated bush until the loyalists came in the 1780s and established several plantations such as Clifton and Tusculum. When the British abolished the international slave Trade in 1807, thousands of liberated Africans freed from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled on New Providence (at Adelaide, Gambier, Carmichael and Sandiland) and other islands. The largest concentration of Africans lived in the "Over-the-Hill" suburbs of Grants Town and Bain Town behind the city of Nassau, while most of the whites lived on the island's northern coastal ridges.

Contents

History

Nassau was formerly known as Charles Town; it was burned to the ground by the Spanish in 1684, but later rebuilt and renamed Nassau in 1695 in honor of the Dutch mayor (Stadhouder, Dutch) and later also King of England, Scotland and Ireland, William III from the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau.[2] In 1703 Spanish and French allied forces briefly occupied Nassau.

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