Historical Setting

Historical Setting: Nassau, 1718

Geography and History

The island of Eleuthera to the east of New Providence was the first of the Bahaman islands to be settled by Europeans. Adventurers from the English North American colonies traveled there seeking religious freedom and agricultural opportunities.

The island of New Providence was first settled around 1656. Its principle town, Nassau was originally known as Charles Town. The soils of New Providence were not as well suited to farming as Eleuthera, but it featured the best deep water harbor in the Bahamas.

Britain officially claimed the Bahamas as an English colony in 1670, but was never very successful in exercising control over the holdings. With little government regulation, it became an ideal stop in the active trade (both legitimate and otherwise) in goods, sugar and slaves.

During “Queen Anne’s War” or the Spanish War of Succession “Letters of Marque” issued by the English Crown encouraged the spread of privateering as a legal profession. With the Peace of Utrecht in 1713, and cessation of hostilities, privateers suddenly found themselves out of business…

What to do?

The transition from privateer to pirate was an easy leap to make. With a well protected harbor, and a weak to non-existent government, Nassau was the perfect haven, and the profession thrived! Read a brief discussion about Nassau on the Age of Pirates Website (they are confused on a few of the facts, but basically cover the topic concisely).

As strange as it might sound, life in Nassau really was very much like the Disneyland adventure ride “The Pirates of the Caribbean” (and not unlike the streets of the Northern California Pirate Festival)!