Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bahamas, The, or Lucayo Islands, lie off the coast of Florida, in the Atlantic Ocean (lat. 22° to 28° N., and long. 73° to 79° W.), and belong to Great Britain. They consist of 29 islands and 3,048 "cays" or rocks, and serve as stepping-stones, so to speak, between the West Indian Islands and North America. The total area is about 5,006 square miles. Nearly all of the ground is low-lying and narrow. The soil in most cases is exuberantly fertile, and the climate good, but only twenty of the group are inhabited. New Providence contains the capital, Nassau, which was a great resort for blockade runners during the American War of Secession. San Salvador was the first land visited by Columbus in 1492. The Spaniards in the next century carried off all the natives to work as slaves in the mines, and left the islands depopulated. In 1578 Sir Humphrey Gilbert annexed them, and in 1680 Charles II. granted them to the Duke of Albemarle and others, but the Spaniards put a stop to colonisation, and for many years they became the haunts of buccaneers and pirates. It was not till 1783 that a firm government was established, consisting of an English governor, a legislative council, and representative assembly. The products are pine-apples, sponges, and drugs.