88. Nassau

88.  Nassau

The PARADISE set sail from Miami, so we had a brief visit with my nephew before departing for Nassau.

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is a chain of islands, and Nassau is the capital and largest city on Providence Island.  A popular cruise-ship stop, the city has a hilly landscape and is known for beaches as well as its offshore coral reefs, popular for diving and snorkeling.  It retains many of its typical pastel-colored British colonial buildings, like the pink-hued Government House.

Our cruise ship group was treated to a complimentary limousine tour.  One highlight stop for us was at Fort Fincastle, built in 1793 on a hill to protect the town and the harbor.  We were able to go to the top of the adjacent water tower which was built in 1928.  The tallest structure in Nassau at 126 feet, it gave us a panorama view of the city.  In the background of our picture, you can see Atlantis, the plush resort on Paradise Island.

Nassau has an interesting and colorful history.  It was originally known as Charles Town; founded in 1670 by British Noblemen who built a fort and named the town in honor of England’s King Charles II.  The town was burned to the ground by the Spanish in 1684 during one of their frequent wars with the English.  It was rebuilt and renamed Nassau in honor of the then King of England, William III from the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau.

In 1703 Spanish and French forces briefly occupied Nassau. By 1713, the sparsely settled Bahamas had become a pirate haven.  The pirates, led by the infamous Edward Teach, better know as“Blackbeard,” proclaimed Nassau a pirate republic, establishing themselves as “governors”.

In 1718, the British regained control of the islands and appointed Captain Woodes Rogers as Royal governor.  Rogers cleaned up the city, and rebuilt the fort, using his own wealth.

The population of African descent grew significantly when Britain abolished slavery in 1802, and after the American Civil War in the 1860’s.

Next — Puerto Rico