The Bahamas: Culture & History
The Bahamas consist of over seven hundred small islands of coral formation. The Lucayan Indians occupied the Bahamas from as far back as 800 A.D. These people hunted for their foods on the land and the sea. Turtles, wild boar, shellfish such as Conch and countless other species of fish such as shark, grouper, crab, snapper, Cray fish and bonitos are among the foods found there. There are some Bahamians who believe that Conch is an aphrodisiac and is one of the favourite foods. Bahamas culture has undergone several metamorphoses through the years, which have been influenced by changes both inside the islands and also outside. Bermudan slaves along with both free blacks and black slaves, British Loyalists fleeing America, Black Seminoles from Florida, people for other Caribbean islands, Chinese, Syrian and Greek immigrants all make up this potpourri. These people brought their different cultures to shape the Bahamian culture into the unique colourful patchwork of life and lifestyle that it is today. Tourism is the main industry in the Bahamas with offshore banking being the second. The Bahamas is frequently mentioned as "The Switzerland" of the Tropics", because it has over four hundred banks and trust companies. It is one area where newlyweds seek for their honeymoons and couples get married.
The Spanish gave the islands "Baja Mar" which when translated means "Shallow Sea". The islands are actually derived from mountain plateaus that emerged from the Atlantic thousands of years ago. The geography of the islands attracted many well-known pirates, such as the infamous Blackbeard and Anne Bonney who were very dominant in the ear known as "The Golden Age of Piracy". These infamous people occupation was to lure ships and when they ran aground, they were looted. These looted ships were mainly British, French and Spanish ships returning from Mexico laden with gold.