In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the New World on the island of San Salvador in the eastern Bahamas. He named it  "baja mar" which means shallow water or sea and effectively named the area The Bahamas,

The Lucayan indians inhabited the island, but were either sent away as slaves, or wiped out by disease. There are only a few true decendant of the Lucayan indians today.

Over the years Nassau became notorious for pirates, privateers and wreckers -- people who used false "lighthouses" to lure ships onto the reefs and then confiscated the cargo. For almost 40 years, pirates like Blackbeard, Sir Henry Morgan and Calico Jack.  In 1695. Spanish troops destroyed the town of Nassau in retaliation for these raids

A few years later, settlers rebuilt Nassau with the goal of making it a privateering capital. However, the French and Spanish navies joined forces and wiped out the town for the second time in 1703 because British privateers continued to plunder their countries' merchant ships.

Looting rich cargo ships as they passed by on the nearby shipping lanes was a lucrative business, so it wasn't long before pirates overran Nassau once again. Word of this piracy reached the King, so in 1718, Woodes Rogers, was appointed as Royal Governor of the islands to restore order.

Rogers, a former pirate, offered amnesty to all those who surrendered -- those who didn't would be hanged and their ships sunk. After a brief battle, more than 300 pirates surrendered and the rest fled.   Things have changed over the years, but in 1964, Great Britain granted The Islands Of The Bahamas limited self-government, and in 1969 the colony of The Bahamas became a Commonwealth.   July 10, 1973, the Bahamas was granted it's independence.