A Brief Bahamian Tour

Many of us have never been lucky enough to travel to the Bahamas. I have images in my head of white sand, turquoise waters and the odd pirate or two. But what I was interested in, was finding out what the Bahamas is really like and how it came to be. So strap yourselves in and prepare for a whistle-stop tour of our soon to be paradise destination.

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The Bahamas is an archipelago of nearly 700 atolls, cays and islets, of which only 40 are inhabited. It neighbours the American “sunshine state” Florida and the “Pearl of the Antilles” Cuba. The distance between the northern most part of the Bahamas and the southern most part is thought to be approximately the same distance between the north of Scotland and the most southern tip of England – don’t try and walk it. The Bahamas boasts the longest (known) underwater cave system in the world at Lucayan national park, and is also home to the mysterious blue holes that can descend to depths of over 300m. These caves and holes are thought to be inhabited by a local legend known as “The Lusca”. This ominous creature; half shark, half octopus and over 20m in length is thought to feed on snorkelers and divers – so keep your eyes peeled!

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It is thought that humans inhabited the Bahamas as early as 300AD and eventually the Lucayan people settled in the Bahamas from 900AD. Christopher Columbus made landfall on the island of San Salvador (East Bahamas) in 1492. He described this paradise as the islands of the “baja mar” (literally translating to shallow sea), more commonly known today as the islands of the Bahamas. The peaceful Lucayan people were soon enslaved, and within two decades were subsequently wiped out, ending their 600-year existence on the islands.

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In the late 1600’s the (real) Pirates of the Caribbean used the Bahamas as a location to hide their treasure. The Bahamas close proximity to shipping lanes meant it was also perfect for ambushing merchant ships. Many people believe the Bahamas is still littered with buried treasure, waiting to be discovered by intrepid adventurers. The Bahamas remained under British reign for the next 300 years. However in 1973, they became a free country – Bahamians celebrate their independence on the 10th of July every year.

The Bahamas hosts a plethora of amazing wildlife particularly in the marine realm; from Frogfish to Tiger sharks – with a few swimming pigs thrown in for good measure! Their national bird is the Flamingo and their national fish is the Atlantic Blue Marlin.

Hopefully this brief history and geography lesson has been of some interest to you and you learnt a little bit along the way – see you in the Bahamas!  Kris

jj329    December 17th, 2016    Bahamas, Bahamas archive    , , , , , , ,

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