Columbus marveled at the natural beauty of the Bahamas when he first made landfall in the New World on the island of San Salvador. He described them as islands of the "baja mar", which has become The Bahamas. Locals at the time were The Lucayan Indians who came from Caribbean islands to the south. They were a peaceful people said to be fleeing the more aggressive Carib tribe and lived solely off the land and the sea. Archaelogical evidence is continuously discovered and researched particular in the southern island of The Bahamas.
After Columbus, the French, Spanish and British empires all attempted to claim The Bahamas as their own. The first settlers known as the "Eleutheran Adventurers" arrived in 1649 and found shelter in Preacher's Cave in North Eleuthera. For a century and a half after this, opportunistic pirates used the many islands as hideouts to ambush merchant ships that passed through the Bahamas en route to Europe and the Americas. Famous pirates like Blackbeard and the female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read hunted the Bahamas seas for unsuspecting ships. To this day, rumors abound of great treasures that are still undiscovered under beaches and caves throughout the islands. Settlements like Fortune Hill (San Salvador) and Pirate's Well (Mayaguana) pay homage to this. The forts around Nassau and many less discreet forts and remains throughout the islands like those on Crooked Island and Harbour Island were built to protect against pirates and conquering navy ships.
During the period of the American civil war, those loyal to the British Empire fled to the Bahamas bringing all their belongings and trades. They sought to start new trade with Britain which regularly included blockade running due to American prohibition.
It is fortunate that the tides and rolling hills have not claimed the end to this history. Buildings and landmarks have left the evidence everywhere and the stories have been passed down through the generations making up much of modern day folklore.