Bahamas was first inhabited by the Lucayan Indians prior to the discovery of the Bahamas islands by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Afterwards, the peaceful Lucayans were enslaved by Spaniards to work in South and Central America. Thus, Exuma was mainly uninhabited until the British arrived in Eleuthera Bahamas in 1648 and later on discovered the nearby islands.
Salt was the major product produced in Exuma Bahamas during the 1700s. At this point in time, pirates were also using the secluded coves and cays of Exuma to hide. When the British Loyalists fled from colonial America in 1783, they decided to settle on the island and planted cotton. They also brought slaves to work for their fields.
George Town was founded in 1793 and during this period, the island started to prosper. But due to years of overplanting, the layer of soil could no longer support farming which made their crops vulnerable to infestation. When slavery was abolished in 1834, most of the British loyalist farmers decided to leave the island and gave their lands to their slaves. One of the largest land owners was Lord John Rolle who had over 300 slaves working in his plantation on Great Exuma Bahamas. It was common for slaves to take on their master’s last name. When Lord Rolle left the island, he gave his land to his slaves. Many of their descendants (nearly half of the population today) are still living on the island today. Some of the towns in Great Exuma Bahamas were named after him such as Rolletown and Rolleville.
The slaves continued farming despite the weary soil. They also supported themselves through fishing. After World War II, tourism boomed in Exumas Bahamas bringing more jobs to their local communities.
Famous/Notable People of Exuma Bahamas
Many celebrities have frequently visited Exuma Bahamas due to the anonymity they enjoyed on the island. Some of its frequent visitors included Jackie Onassis and Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Other famous celebrities have even purchased some of the smaller islands of the Exuma islands. These include Johnny Depp, David Copperfield, Eddie Murphy, and Tyler Perry.
Accommodations on Exuma Bahamas
If you are looking for a hotel or resort on Exuma Bahamas, there are some places where you can stay. The Augusta Bay Bahamas offers a cozy 16-suite beachfront boutique resort located in one of the prettiest coves on the island. The Barraterre Bonefish Lodge offers six ocean-view rooms complete with air-conditioned facilities and other amenities such as spacious closets, large dressers,a full bath with tub, and a convenient night stand.
Chamberlins Cottage Rentals offers five unique-styled cottages for rent. The Club Peace & Plenty, on the other hand, offers 32 beautiful rooms. The resort is overlooking the Elizabeth Harbor. Guests can choose from garden suites, poolside, water-front view, or two-room suites.
Things to See & Do on Exumas Bahamas
A day in the Exuma Islands can be filled with lots of fun-filled activities such as scuba diving, bone fishing, fishing, snorkeling, sail or power boating, hiking, and exploring the island or beaches. These activities can be pre-arranged at your lodging. You may also enjoy stargazing or view a majestic sunset.
If you walk around George Town, you can visit the Central Straw Market where you can find authentic Bahamian crafts. You can also see the town’s old buildings like the St. Andrews Anglican Church which is 150 years of age and the Government’s Administration Building. There are also lots of local businesses like grocery stores, restaurants, and shops conveniently located around the area.
One must-see attraction in Exumas Bahamas is the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the first marine fishery reserve in the world. The marine environment is made up of clear turquoise waters, beautiful coral reefs, and abundant marine life. Swimming pigs near Staniel Cay are an entertaining sight. Swimming with turtles and nurse sharks are also a popular activity.
Local Legends of Exuma
Aside from the rich tradition and history of Exuma Bahamas, it has also a share of folklore and legends. One of the most famous is the legend of Three Sisters Rock. Three sisters fell in love with an English Captain who was forced to land on the island when a violent storm broke out while he was sailing his ship in search of treasure in the area. When he left the island, the three sisters jumped into sea and swam to follow him. All of them drowned. It is believed that three mystical rocks erupted from the ground to mark the locations of the sisters’ tragic deaths. Since then, many have come to consider it as a place of romance and good luck. Many couples get married there with the belief that the mystical place will bless their union and they will live happily married lives.