Timeline of Key Historical Events in the Bahamas

Timeline of Key Historical Events in the Bahamas

1492 Christopher Columbus discovers the Bahamas by landing on the Island called Guanahani. Which was renamed to San Salvador
1647 The Company of Eleutheran Adventurers, founds the first republic in the New World, in order to colonize the Bahama Islands and claim them for Great Britain. They took over an island the Arawaks called Cigatoo, renaming it Eluthra, after the Greek word for freedom.
1670 Six Lord Proprietors of South Carolina were granted the Bahama Islands by King Charles II of England.
1695 The Lord Proprietors authorized construction of a fort/ city on the island of New Providence. The city, called Charles Town in honor of King Charles II, was renamed Nassau in honor of King William III.
1717 Captain Woods Rogers was named first Royal Governor of the Bahama Islands and restored order by ending the rule of pirates.
1729 The Bahamas House of Assembly officially convenes.
1741 Construction of Fort Montagu begins at the eastern entrance to Nassau Harbor. Completed in 1742, it stands today as a tourist site.
1776 During the American War for Independence from Great Britain, eight  colonial warships captured Fort Montague and Fort Nassau.
1782 Spaniards takeover the Bahamas, disgusted by pirate raids on their ships,
1783 The Bahamas is restored to Great Britain by treaty with Spain.
1783 The immigration of American Loyalists begins as they bring slaves to set up a plantation economy.
1789 Completion of the main portion of Fort Charlotte overlooking the western entrance to Nassau Harbor.
1793 Fort Fincastle was built at New Providence Island’s highest point.
1838 Slavery is abolished in the Bahamas. Wrecking, controlled by licenses, flourished until lighthouses are built on the major islands.
1861-1865 The American Civil War brought great wealth to Nassau, a major supply base for the Confederacy (which was fighting for slavery!).
1892 The first telegraph underwater cable is laid from Florida to Nassau.
1914 John Ernest Williamson shoots the first underwater motion picture in the Bahamas.
1920 The American prohibition of liquor brings an economic boom to the Bahamian economy, where liquor was legal and plentiful.
1930s Famous writers come to live and work in the Bahamas, such as Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.
1950s Nassau becomes a hot spot for the jet-set rich and famous.
1955 Signing of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, which paved the way to establishment of Freeport/Lucaya.
1962 Bahamian women are permitted to vote.
1964 The Bahamas gains internal self-rule as Sir Roland Symonette is named Premier
1967 The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) wins the majority of House of Assembly seats as Lynden O. Pindling became the new Premier.
1969 The Bahamian Constitution is revised. The Colony of the Bahama Islands became the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the Premier becomes the Prime Minister.
1973 The Bahama Islands gain independence from Great Britain, and became a sovereign nation on July 10, ending 325 years of British rule.
1983 Lynden O. Pindling is knighted by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II , Bahamas head of state.
1990 The $300-million Crystal Palace Resort and Casino, Cable Beach opens.
1992 The Free National Movement (FNM) was voted in as the new government August 19, ending the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP)’s 25-year rule. The Hubert A. Ingraham became Prime Minister.
  Bahamian Frank Rutherford wins a bronze medal at the Olympics for the triple jump.
  The Bahamas celebrates the 500th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus at San Salvador.
1993 The Bahamas celebrates 20 years of independence from Great Britain
1995 Sun Intl. Hotels Ltd., of South Africa, opens the Atlantis-Paradise Island resort and casino, featuring the world’s largest outdoor aquarium.
1996 Huchinson Whampoa plans to develop Freeport Harbor into a major world transshipment hub with development of the multi-million dollar container port.
  At the Olympics held in Atlanta, The Bahamas track and field team wins the silver medal in the women’s 4×100 meter relay.
  The Bahamas have their best tourism year on record with 1.6 million stopover visitors.
1998 According to Caribbean Travel Organization and the Ministry of Tourism, The Islands Of The Bahamas is recognized as “The Most Popular Destination Among All Caribbean Islands.”
2000 At the Olympics held in Sydney, The Bahamas women’s track and field team wins the gold medal in the women’s 4×100 meter relay!