The Bahamas Collections Exhibition

Driwancybermuseum’s Blog

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                                                AT DR IWAN CYBERMUSEUM

                                          DI MUSEUM DUNIA MAYA DR IWAN S.




 *ill 001

                      *ill 001  LOGO MUSEUM DUNIA MAYA DR IWAN S.*ill 001

                                THE FIRST INDONESIAN CYBERMUSEUM



                                        PENDIRI DAN PENEMU IDE

                                                     THE FOUNDER

                                            Dr IWAN SUWANDY, MHA




                         WELCOME TO THE MAIN HALL OF FREEDOM               


Showcase :

The Bahamas Collections Exhibition

Frame One: Bahamas Collections

1.Postal History

2.Numismatic History

3.Travel Around Bahamas with Picture  Collections

4.Bahamas Native Art Collections

Frame Two: The Bahamas Hictoric Collections

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]

From the initial colonization(s) the Lucayans expanded throughout the Bahamas Islands in some 800 years (c. 700 – c. 1500), growing to a population of about 40,000. Population density at the time of first European contact was highest in the south central area of the Bahamas, declining towards the north, reflecting the progressively shorter time of occupation of the northern islands. Known Lucayan settlement sites are confined to the nineteen largest islands in the archipelago, or to smaller cays located less than one km. from those islands. Population density in the southern-most Bahamas remained lower, probably due to the drier climate there (less than 800 mm of rain a year on Great Inagua Island and the Turks and Caicos Islands and only slightly higher on Acklins and Crooked Islands and Mayaguana).[2]

Spanish-Lucayan encounter

In 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain with three ships, seeking a direct route to Asia. On October 12, 1492 Columbus reached an island in the Bahamas, an event long regarded as the ‘discovery’ of America. This first island to be visited by Columbus was called Guanahani by the Lucayans, and San Salvador by the Spanish. The identity of the first American landfall by Columbus remains controversial, but many authors accept Samuel E. Morison’s identification of what was then called Watling (or Watling’s) Island as Columbus’ San Salvador. The former Watling Island is now officially named San Salvador. Columbus visited several other islands in the Bahamas before sailing on to Cuba

The Bahamas held little of interest to the Spanish other than the Lucayans. When Spanish exploitation of the labor of the natives of Hispaniola rapidly reduced that population, the Spanish began capturing Lucayans in the Bahamas for use as laborers in Hispaniola. The Spanish may have carried away as many as 40,000 Lucayans in 20 years, leaving the Bahamas unpopulated. When the Spanish decided to evacuate the remaining Lucayans to Hispaniola in 1520, they could find only eleven in all of the Bahamas. Thereafter the Bahamas remained uninhabited for 130 years. With no gold to be found, and the population removed, the Spanish effectively abandoned the Bahamas, but did not formally relinquish their claims until the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.[4][5]

When Europeans first landed on the islands, they reported the Bahamas were lushly forested. The forests were cleared during plantation days and have not regrown.

 Early English settlement

In 1648 a group from Bermuda called ‘The Company of Adventurers for the Plantation of the Islands of Eleutheria’ sailed to the Bahamas to found a colony. These early settlers were puritans and republicans. Bermuda was also becoming overcrowded, and the Bahamas offered both religious and political freedom and economic opportunity. The larger of the company’s two ships wrecked on the reef at the north end of what is now called Eleuthera Island, with the loss of all provisions. Despite the arrival of additional settlers, including whites, slaves and free blacks, from Bermuda and the receipt of relief supplies from Virginia and New England, the Eleuthera colony struggled for many years. In the mid-1650s many of the settlers returned to Bermuda. The remaining settlers founded communities on Harbour Island and Saint George’s Cay (Spanish Wells) at the north end of Eleuthera. In 1670 there were about 20 families living in the Eleuthera communities

In 1666 other settlers from Bermuda arrived on New Providence, which soon became the center of population and commerce in the Bahamas, with almost 500 people living on the island by 1670. Unlike the Eleutherians, who were primarily farmers, the first settlers on New Providence made their living from the sea, salvaging (mainly Spanish) wrecks, making salt, and taking fish, turtles, conchs and ambergris. Farmers from Bermuda soon followed the seamen to New Providence, where they found good, plentiful land. Neither the Eleutherian colony nor the settlement on New Providence had any legal standing under English law. In 1670 the Proprietors of Carolina were issued a patent for the Bahamas, but the governors sent by the Proprietors had difficulty in imposing their authority on the independent-minded residents of New Providence.[7]

The early settlers continued to live much as they had in Bermuda, fishing, taking turtles, whales and seals, finding ambergris, making salt on the drier islands, cutting the abundant hardwoods of the islands for lumber, dyewood and medicinal bark, and wrecking, or salvaging wrecks. The Bahamas were close to the sailing routes between Europe and the Caribbean, so shipwrecks in the islands were common, and wrecking was the most lucrative occupation available to the Bahamians.[8]

Wreckers, privateers and pirates

The Bahamians soon came into conflict with the Spanish over the salvaging of wrecks. The Bahamian wreckers drove the Spanish away from their wrecked ships, and even attacked the Spanish salvors and seized goods the Spanish had already recovered from the wrecks. The Spanish raided the Bahamas, the Bahamians in turn commissioned privateers against Spain, even though England and Spain were at peace, and in 1684 the Spanish burned the settlements on New Providence and Eleuthera, after which they were largely abandoned. New Providence was settled a second time in 1686 from Jamaica.

In the 1690s English privateers (England was at war with France) established themselves in the Bahamas. In 1696 Henry Every (or Avery), using the assumed name Henry Bridgeman, brought his ship Fancy, loaded with pirate’s loot, into Nassau harbor. Every bribed the governor, Nicholas Trott (uncle of the Nicholas Trott who presided at the trial of Stede Bonnet), with gold and silver, and by leaving him the Fancy, still loaded with 50 tons of elephant tusks and 100 barrels of gunpowder. Following peace with France in 1697 many of the privateers became the pirates. From this time the pirates increasingly made the Bahamian capitol of Nassau, founded in 1694, their base. The governors appointed by the Proprietors usually made a show of suppressing the pirates, but most were often accused of dealing with the pirates. By 1701 England was at war with France and Spain. In 1703 and in 1706 combined French-Spanish fleets attacked and sacked Nassau, after which some settlers left and the Proprietors gave up on trying to govern the Bahamas.[9]

With no effective government in the Bahamas, Nassau was taken over by English privateers, in what has been called a “privateers’ republic,” which lasted for eleven years. The privateers attacked French and Spanish ships, while French and Spanish forces burned Nassau several times. The War of the Spanish Succession ended in 1714, but some privateers were slow to get the news, or reluctant to accept it, and slipped into piracy. One estimate puts at least 1,000 pirates in the Bahamas in 1713, outnumbering the 200 families of more permanent settlers. The “privateers’ republic” in Nassau became a “pirates’ republic”. At least 20 pirate captains used Nassau or other places in the Bahamas as a home port during this period, including Henry Jennings, Edward Teach (Blackbeard), Benjamin Hornigold, Charles Vane, “Calico Jack” Rackham and Stede Bonnet, as well as the “lady pirates” Mary Read and Anne Bonney. The “pirates’ republic” came to an end in 1718, when Woodes Rogers, the first Royal Governor of the Bahamas, reached Nassau with a small fleet of warships.[10]

 Woodes Rogers

The Proprietors of Carolina had surrendered the government of the Bahamas to the king, while retaining title to the land. As well as being appointed Governor by the King, Woodes Rogers and his partners had leased the land of the Bahamas from the Proprietors for 21 years. Word of the coming change, along with an offer of an amnesty, had reached Nassau ahead of Rogers. Some pirates sailed off to find British authorities to confirm their acceptance of the amnesty. A few pirates offered a brief resistance to Rogers’ arrival, and then slipped away (Calico Jack, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read, were later captured by Jamaican authorities). The 300 left cheered Rogers when he landed and gave their oath to the king, although many soon reverted to their old ways. All of the pirates were finally expelled by 1725. Woodes established a House of Assembly for the colony in 1729.[11]


During the American War of Independence the Bahamas fell to Spanish forces under General Galvez in 1782. A British-American loyalist expedition later recaptured the islands. After the American Revolution, the British issued land grants to American Loyalists, and the sparse population of the Bahamas tripled within a few years. The planters thought to grow cotton, but the thin, rocky soil was unsuited to large-scale cultivation, and the plantations soon failed. Most of the current inhabitants are descended from the slaves brought to work on the Loyalist plantations, or from liberated Africans set free by the British navy after the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire in 1807. Plantation life ended with the British emancipation of slaves in 1834.


During the American Civil War, the Bahamas prospered as a base for Confederate blockade-running, bringing in cotton for the mills of England and running out arms and munitions. During Prohibition after World War I, the islands were a base for American rum-runners,smuggling liquor into the US. After emancipation Caribbean societies inherited a rigid racial stratification that was reinforced by the unequal distribution of wealth and power. The three-tier race structure, which existed well into the 1940s and in some societies beyond, upheld the belief of European racial superiority, although most West Indians are of African descent. Race and racial attitudes remain important in mixed Caribbean societies.

 Late-colonial period

During World War II, the Allies centred their flight training and antisubmarine operations for the Caribbean in the Bahamas. The wartime airfield became Nassau’s international airport in 1957 and helped spur the growth of mass tourism, which accelerated after Havana was closed to American tourists in 1961. Freeport, on the island of Grand Bahama, was established as a free trade zone in the 1950s and became the country’s second city. Bank secrecy combined with the lack of corporate and income taxes led to a rapid growth in the offshore financial sector during the postwar years.

 Post-independence era

Bahamians achieved self-government in 1964 and full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations on July 10, 1973. The country’s first prime minister was Lynden O. Pindling, leader of the Progressive Liberal Party. Pindling ruled for nearly 20 years, during which the Bahamas benefited from tourism and foreign investment. By the early 1980s, the islands had also become a major center for the drug trade, with 90% of all the cocaine entering the United States reportedly passing through the Bahamas. Diplomatic relations were established with Cuba in 1974. A decade later, as increased Cuban immigration to the islands strained the Bahamas’ resources, Cuba refused to sign a letter of repatriation

In September 2004, Hurricane Frances swept through the Bahamas, leaving widespread damage in its wake. Just three weeks later, Hurricane Jeanne flattened the islands. Jeanne uprooted trees, blew out windows, and sent seawater flooding through neighborhoods on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. Receding floodwaters left boats tossed on roads and homes battered

the eng @ copyright Dr Iwan Suwandy 2010


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