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Bahamas History
Bahamas History - TravelPuppy.com
Columbus was the 1st European to discover The Bahamas (and hence America) in 1492. San Salvador was his 1st landing place in the New World, Cockburn Town, the main settlement, is not far from the spot where Columbus is said to have landed (although other sites also claim this characteristic). Columbus met the Lucayan Indians, the traditional inhabitants of The Bahamas.

The islands were largely ignored by the Spanish and the 1st European settlement was established by a group of English religious dissidents, known as the Eleutheran Adventurers, in 1647. In 1717, the islands were officially colonised by Britain. They were temporarily occupied by the Spanish in 1782, although returned to Britain the following year, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

Thereafter, the Bahamas became a haven for freed slaves and, consequently, a favourite holiday destination for the wealthy. The post of Governor, representing the British monarch, became a remote but pleasant sinecure. The best known incumbent was the Duke of Windsor, who had renounced the British crown in 1936, and, in view of his pro Nazi sympathies, was despatched to the territory in 1940, for the duration of World War II.

In 1964, The Bahamas were approved internal self government, followed by independence in 1973. Post independence politics in The Bahamas have been dominated by (later Sir) Lynden Pindling, who had 1st been elected to the premiership as head of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in 1967. The Progressive Liberal Party , with Pindling as its head, was returned to office at each of 5 subsequent elections, despite increasingly numerous and detailed allegations of corruption and involvement in drug trafficking against Pindling and some of his associates. All were vehemently and repeatedly denied by Pindling. Pressure from the United States of America (which has leased 2 military bases on the islands since the 1950s) forced the government to introduce more stringent measures against drug trafficking, including changes to The Bahamas' banking secrecy laws.

The damage to Pindling’s reputation and the islands’ poor economic performance during the early 1990's led to the Progressive Liberal Party’s rejection by the electorate at the August 1992 polls. The new premier was the leader of the long time opposition Free National Movement (FNM), Hubert Ingraham. Once a minister under Pindling, Ingraham had resigned in 1984, however Ingraham was re elected in 1997.

At the most recent poll in May 2002, the Progressive Liberal Party resumed control of the government with an overwhelming majority in the House of Assembly. The present premier is Perry Christie, another veteran Bahamanian politician and former colleague of Pindling. Pindling retired from politics after his 1992 defeat, followed by his death in August 2000.

In late 2004, Hurricane Frances caused extensive and broad damage in The Bahamas. Hurricane Jeanne followed only weeks later. The future for The Bahamas will almost certainly involve plans to detect such hurricanes quicker, and try to lessen their impact.