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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy birthday, Bahamas!

One minute before midnight, 9 July 1973, the Union Jack was lowered for the last time in Nassau.  At 12:01, July 10th, the Blue, gold and black flag of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas was raised for the first time.  Today is the 40th anniversary of Bahamian independence from Great Britain.  Why am I interested?  My mother was born in The Bahamas.

I don't usually  delve into politics here, but these politics are more historical than current.  Mom was born on a small island - a cay (pronounced KEE) named Elbow Cay.  Elbow Cay, like most of Abaco, was settled by American Loyalists fleeing the US South after the American Revolution.  Life in The Bahamas revolved around Nassau (on New Providence) since the British suppressed piracy in the late 1600s.  The other islands like Abaco, were lumped together under the rubric 'Out Islands', and many inhabitants felt they were given scant attention by the colonial government in Nassau.

As a whole, the population of The Bahamas is 85% Black, 12% White.  In greater Abaco, it's about 50/50 - primarily because of the descendants of the original Loyalist families.  When Home Rule came to The Bahamas, the Abaconians were't nearly as enthused with the idea as the rest of the Bahamian population.  The Loyalist heritage made Abaconians much more libertarian in their outlook as well as a fond , maybe even romantic, feeling toward Great Britain and suspicious of the central government in Nassau.  So Abaco officially requested to be exempted from independence.  Her Majesty's Government declined to entertain the idea, and Abaco became part of the independent Commonwealth of The Bahamas on July 10, 1973.

The idea of an independent Abaco continued for a few years though, partly fuelled by an American with romantic libertarian ideas and a lot of money.  In the end, the leaders of the Independent Abaco movement realised that they were Bahamian and were going to remain Bahamian, and began to work as part of the Bahamian government.

There will always be a natural tension between the Family Islands (renamed to show the government's intent to be more inclusive) and the large populations on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands (Nassau and Freeport, respectively).  How can one treat Nassau (population 350,000) and Hope Town (population 500) the same?  This is similar to the problem we have in New York, where NY City dwarfs the population and the economy here in upstate New York.  The good news is that The Bahamas have made it to 40 despite the differences between the various islands and cays.  The Bahamas has a big future ahead of them; I'm looking forward to celebrating the 50th in 2023!

Happy birthday, Bahamas!

F Number5.0
Lens IDLUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm F3.5-5.6
Focal Length26.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 52.0 mm)
Exposure Time1/100
Exposure ProgramManual
Exposure Compensation0
FlashOff, Did not fire

1 comment:

The spammers have struck. Due to this I will be moderating all comments. Sorry for the hassle, but it's the only choice because I refuse to turn on word verification.

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