Gateway to the New World
The Bahamian island of Guanahani, traditionally identified as San Salvador, was Christopher Columbus’ first landfall in the New World. The original inhabitants of the island were the Lucayans, described by Columbus as a peace-loving people, beautiful and generous of heart. Though Columbus claimed the island for Spain, the lack of gold here led the Spaniards to focus on settlements elsewhere in the Caribbean. In 1629, Charles I of England laid claim to the Carolinas and threw The Bahamas in for good measure, a grand gesture that would weave together two of the major influences on The Bahamas’ development—England and the American South.