- Grand Bahama
name = Grand Bahama
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area = 1373 km²
highest mount = 40 ft
country = BHS
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country largest city = Freeport
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population = approx 75,000
population as of = 2007
density = 34
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Grand Bahama is one of the northernmost of the islands of the
Bahamas, and the closest major island to the United States, lying just 55 mi (90 km) off the state of Florida. Grand Bahama is the fourth largest island in the Bahamas island chain of approximately 700 islands and cays. The island is approximately convert|96|mi|km long west to east and convert|17|mi|km at its widest point north to south.
Administratively the island consists of the Freeport Bonded Area and the districts of
East Grand Bahamaand West Grand Bahama
Pre-Contact & Early Spanish Contact
Island's earliest known inhabitants were the
Stone Age hunter-gathererSiboney Indians, of whom little evidence remains apart from artifacts such as ornamental shells or jewellery. These primitive people eventually disappeared to be replaced by the Taino Arawaksfrom South America, who travelling in dugout canoeseventually colonized most of the Caribbean. The Arawak communities on Grand Bahama, who became known as Lucayans(a name that lives on in the popular tourist town of Port Lucaya) were believed to have advanced and well-organized social and political structures, and there were estimated to be approximately 4,000 on Grand Bahama at the time of the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadorsin 1492. This arrival, and the subsequent claim of the island by Spain shortly after, eventually caused the Lucayans to disappear from Grand Bahama entirely, whether dying through the spreading of European diseases, through the frequent European genocides, or being captured as slaves (usually to mine for goldin the larger Caribbean islands of Hispaniolaor Cuba, or to dive for pearls in Trinidad). The disappearance of the Lucayans was rapid, and it is probably for this reason little is known beyond rough estimates about their society. However, in sites such as the Lucayan National Park and Dead Man's Reef there have been numerous artifacts discovered including animal bones, pottery shards, shell beads and evidence of a complex burial system.
The Spanish gave the island the name "Gran Bajamar", meaning "Great Shallows", and what the eventual name of the Bahamas islands as a whole is derived from. Grand Bahama's existence for almost two centuries was largely governed by the nature of these "great shallows" - the
coral reefssurrounding the island were treacherous, and repelled its Spanish owners (who largely left it alone apart from for infrequent en-route stops by ships for provisions) while attracting pirates, who would lure ships onto the reefs where they would run aground and be plundered. The Spaniards took little interest in the island after enslaving the native Lucayaninhabitants.
The islands were claimed by Great Britain in 1670. Piracy continued to thrive for at least half a century after the British takeover, though the problem was eventually brought under control.
Grand Bahama was to remain relatively quiet until the mid-nineteenth century, with only around 200-400 regular inhabitants in the capital, West End. In 1834, the towns of
Pinder’s Point, Russell Townand Williams Townwere established by former Bahamian slaves after the abolition of slavery in the British empire. The island was still little developed until a brief boom in economic activity during the American Civil War, when it was a center for blockade runners smuggling goods (mostly weaponry, sugar and cotton) to the Confederacy. A second brief smuggling boom occurred during the years of prohibition in the USA.
Hawksbill Creek Agreement Era
By the middle of the 20th century, Grand Bahama's population numbered around 500 and the island was one of the least developed of the Bahamas islands. However the island finally gained a stable source of income when in 1955 a
Virginian financier named Wallace Grovesbegan redevelopment with the Bahamian government to build the city of Freeport under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement and create the Grand Bahama Port AuthoritySoon after, the ambitious Edward St. George, with the financial help of Sir Jack Hayward, took the company to new frontiers. Seeing the success of Cuba as a tourist destination for wealthy Americans, St. George was eager to develop Grand Bahama in a similar vein. The city grew rapidly, with St. George adding a harbour, an airport (the largest privately owned airport in the world) soon after the city was founded, and the tourist center of Port Lucaya in 1962. Grand Bahama became the second most populous island in the Bahamas (over 50,000 in 2004).
Tourismis the mainstay of the island's economy. The resort area at Port Lucaya and visits by cruise ships provide the bulk of this activity. Grand Bahama's tourism sector is complemented by an oil bunkering facility owned by Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. and a transshipment/container port partly owned by Hong Kongconglomerate Hutchison Whampoaand the Grand Bahama Port Authority. There are also quarrying operations on the island and a large shipyard.
Freeport is the major city of Grand Bahama Island. As mentioned above, it holds the commercial ship harbour and the main airport. Freeport has many good shops and roads, and is very clean. Foreign investors are just now waking up to the large number of pristine ocean and canal front properties that exist in the Freeport area. As of April 2007, premium waterfront lots can be found for as little as 20% of their counterparts on the Florida coast. Construction in the Freeport area is picking up quickly as a result. An attractive feature of Freeport property is that it's covered by the Hawksbill Creek agreement. Under this agreement, personal real estate is tax free until 2015. Major real estate brokers are [http://kdmgb.com KDM Construction] [http://ladylakebahamas.com Developers] [http://moskorealty.com MOSKO REALTY] , [http://www.hgchristie.com HG Christie] and [http://www.jamessarlesrealty.com James Sarles] . Note that there is no
Multiple Listing Servicefor Grand Bahama and the web sites can be very out of date.
Port Lucaya (not a city to the natives) is an important tourist destination on Grand Bahama Island. It has beautiful beaches and contains several big hotels including the most popular, five-star "Our Lucaya" hotel chain made up of the Sheraton and Westin hotels and the Lanai Suites located at Lighthouse Point. Count Basie Square provides regular live entertainment targeted at cruise ship patrons. Fishing, snorkeling, sight seeing, and "booze cruise" trips leave from Bell Channel Harbour on a daily basis.
West End is officially the capital of Grand Bahama, though Freeport is believed by many to be. It's the oldest city and western most settlement on the island. It first achieved notoriety as a
Rum-runningport during prohibition.
In the 1950s it became home to the Jack Tar marina and club. However, over the years the marina fell into disrepair and the whole city of West End was of little economic import to Grand Bahama. In 2001, the marina was bought out by a group which renamed it Old Bahama Bay [ [http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PR2001_2nd/May01_OldBahama.html Hotel Online Report] ] . Significant renovations followed including complete refurbishment of the docks, many new canals cut for luxury home sites, luxury condos built, and restaurants built. In March of 2007,
Ginn Resortstook over operation of Old Bahama Bay. Ginn is investing heavily in the West End area, having purchased convert|1720|acre|km2 which it will turn into a luxury resort, marina, and home sites at a cost of 5 billion USD. The project is called [http://www.ginnsurmer.com Ginn Sur Mer] .
McLeans Town is the eastern most settlement and a 30 minute ferry ride from the northernmost settlement of the Island of Abaco.
* [http://www.bahamas.com Official Tourism Site of The Islands of the Bahamas]
* [http://www.grand-bahama.com Official Site of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board]
* [http://www.basragrandbahama.com/ BASRA - Bahamas Air-Sea Rescue Association]
* [http://www.gb-power.com/ Grand Bahama Power Company]
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Look at other dictionaries:
Grand Bahama — Géographie Pays Bahamas Archipel Bahamas Localisation … Wikipédia en Français
Grand Bahama — [ grænd bə hɑːmə], Insel der Bahamas … Universal-Lexikon
Grand Bahama — Vorlage:Infobox Insel/Wartung/Höhe fehlt Grand Bahama NASA Bild von Grand Bahama Gewässer Atlantik … Deutsch Wikipedia
Grand Bahama — Sp Didžióji Bahamà Ap Grand Bahama L s. Bahamose … Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė
Grand Bahama — an island in the NW Bahamas. 25,859; 430 sq. mi. (1115 sq. km). * * * ▪ island and district, The Bahamas island, The Bahamas, lying just west of Great Abaco Island in the Atlantic Ocean and 60 miles (100 km) east of West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S … Universalium
Grand Bahama — Grand′ Baha′ma n. geg an island in the NW Bahamas. 33,102; 430 sq. mi. (1115 sq. km) … From formal English to slang
Grand Bahama — /grænd bəˈhamə/ (say grand buh hahmuh) noun an Atlantic island, in the western Bahamas. 1104 km2 … Australian English dictionary
Grand Bahama — geographical name island Bahamas area 530 square miles (1373 square kilometers) … New Collegiate Dictionary
Grand Bahama — an island in the NW Bahamas. 25,859; 430 sq. mi. (1115 sq. km) … Useful english dictionary
Grand Bahama Stadium — is a stadium in the city of Freeport in The Bahamas. The stadium, mostly used for football is the principle stadium on the island of Grand Bahama.Grand Bahama Stadium, in its normal configuration, has room for 3,100 spectators … Wikipedia