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The first established community in the Bahamas were the seafairing Taino people. The Taino people moved to the Southern Bahamas around the 7th century from Cuba and Hispaniola. They later became known as the Lucayans. Upon Columbus'arrival in 1492, there were estimated 40,000 or more Lucayans residing in the Bahamas.

The Bahamian Lucayans were later taken to Hispaniola as slaves; and within two decades, Lucayan societies ceased to exist due to forced labor, warfare, and disease. After this, the Bahamian islands were virtuallly unoccupied until English settlers led by Willian Sayle came from Bermuda seeking religious freedom in 1647.

The Bahamas became a British crown colony in 1717. The British made the islands internally self-governing in 1964. In 1973, the Bahamas became fully independent, but retained membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1967, Lynden Pindling became the first black premier of the colony, and in 1968 became Prime Minister.


Updated: 29 February 2008


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