New Providence (Bahamas )
|Largest city||Nassau (pop. 260,000)|
|Population||330,000 (as of 2008)|
|Density||1,594 /km2 (4,130 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Blacks 85%, Whites 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%|
In 1641, after a brief battle, a Spanish fleet deported a small English colony and confiscated its slaves.
After 1670, Bermudian salt rakers gathering sea salt in Grand Turk and Inagua became regular visitors to the island. The first lasting European occupation was on Eleuthera and then New Providence shortly thereafter.
Because New Providence's harbor was close to the Florida Strait, it became a nest for pirates preying on mainly Spanish shipping returning to Spain with gold, silver, and other wealth. The apex of pirate activity there was from 1715 to 1725, after which the British government established a formal colony and military headquarters centered on the small city of Nassau fronting the harbor. During the War of the Quadruple Alliance, Nassau was attacked by a Spanish force, butwas successfully defended by local militia.
In February 1776, American Esek Hopkins led a squadron of over seven ships in an effort to raid the British-held island in order to secure supplies and munitions. The Battle of Nassau, On March 3rd and 4th, Hopkins landed the first-ever amphibious assault by American military forces consisting of 250 Marines and Sailors. Under the covering fire of the USS Providence (1775) (12) and Hornet (1775) (10), the attackers overwhelmed Fort Montague. The British retreated to Fort Nassau, but then surrendered to Continental forces. The Americans managed to secure 88 cannon and 15 mortars, but most of the badly desired gunpowder was evacuated before capture. Hopkins spent two weeks loading his ships with the booty before finally returning home.
The frigate South Carolina, of the South Carolina Navy, arrived at Havana on 12 January 1782. At Havana, after negotiations between Alexander Gillon and the Spanish, the South Carolina joined a force of 59 vessels carrying Spanish forces under Bernado Galvez. On 22 April the expedition sailed to capture New Providence. By May 5 the whole fleet had reached New Providence and on 8 May the colony surrendered. This was the third capture of New Providence during the American Revolutionary War.
After the American Revolution, several thousand Tories and their slaves emigrated to New Providence and nearby islands, hoping to re-establish plantation agriculture. The shallow soils and sparse rainfall doomed this activity to failure, and by the early 19th century the Bahamas had become a nearly vacant archipelago. Salt raking continued here and there, wreck gleaning was profitable in Grand Bahama, but New Providence was the only island with any prosperity because of the large British military establishment. The fortresses began to crumble and were abandoned by 1850. New Providence had two periods of high economic success during the American Civil War and during Prohibition, when it was a smuggling center.
Since 1960, New Providence has become an American vacation destination with many tourist facilities, including a deepened harbor for short-visit cruise ship visitors and hotels offering gambling. Two-thirds of the 300,000 Bahamians live on New Providence, although this proportion has fallen somewhat with the development of Freeport on Grand Bahama.
New Providence Island is, by far, the most populated island in the Bahamas and the site of the capital Nassau.
New Providence is only 21 miles long and 7 miles wide. Paradise Island, just north, is linked to New Providence by two bridges.
Nassau's airport, covered in Nassau, is located on the western side of the island.
There are numerous stray dogs that are called "potcakes" by locals. Don't feed them or make contact with them. Also, as in any tourist destination, watch out for pickpockets.
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