Bahamas

The Bahamas, from the Spanish words baja mar- shallow ocean, lie only about 50 miles off the Florida coast. The sailor's puzzle of over 700 islands stretches over thousands of square miles of mostly shallow ocean, though depths range to more than 8 miles in the tongue of the ocean. About 7000 years ago these islands were inhabited by Siboney Indians, island dwellers who lived off the sea. When Columbus dropped his anchor off San Salvador on Oct 12, 1492 he encountered Arawak or Lucayan Indians whose ancestors had escaped northward from Hispaniola as the fierce Caribs emigrated from South America. Unfortunately, it only took only about a quarter century for the Spanish who followed Columbus to exterminate these peaceful people through enslavement in Hispaniola, disease and murder.

The sailing route from the Caribbean to Europe takes vessels through the treacherous waters of the Bahamas. From a sailing perspective, south of 23°N the easterly trade winds are no match for heavily-laden, 17th century galleys trying to sail against the trades. Most ships tried to sail northeast between the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. When the Spanish succeeded in finding the riches they sought in Central America, the low-lying Bahamas, complete with reefs and shallow water, became a popular place for pirates and privateers to prey on the westward bound ships. Limestone caves throughout the islands also provided a place to hide the treasure. Hunks of hundreds of ships litter the coral reefs in this part of the world, some of which were lured by false lights hung by wreckers, as the locals who salvaged wrecks were known.

Charles Town, with its natural all-weather harbor was a popular pirate haven that attracted the likes of Edward Teach, Anne Bonny, Calico Jack and Henry Morgan who had looted so many Spanish treasure ships that the Spanish, fed up with their losses, destroyed Charles Town in 1695. Pirate riches returned and named the town they rebuilt Nassau. At the height of his exploits in the Bahamas, Edward Teach was named head of the "Privateers' Republic," something that didn't sit well with King George I who sent the former pirate, Captain Woodes Rogers, to be the first Royal Governor of The Bahamas in 1718. When Rogers sailed into Nassau with four ships he declared that he would grant amnesty for anyone who surrendered. Declaring victory over the pirates, Rogers pardoned about 300 people after the rest of the pirates fled, or like Teach, had already left the harbor.

The economy of the Bahamas has been intrinsically linked to shipping, in the form of honest trade, smuggling or salvaging wrecks for most of the last three hundred years. During the American Civil War small, swift vessels loaded with cotton sailed from the southern states to the Bahamas where the cargo was loaded onto bigger and slower British ships that couldn't run the Confederate blockades. The small vessels returned to the southeast coast with arms and munitions to help fight the war.

The Bahamian economy got another boost when the American Congress ratified the Volstead Act giving federal authority to enforce their Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment. For the next decade, millions of dollars worth of alcohol from Cuba, Britian and Puerto Rico were shipped through the Bahamas. The American territorial three mile limit gave smugglers plenty of opportunity. Even small boats could easily cover the short distance to bring the precious cargo ashore without being detected. In the 1930's the territorial limit was changed to 10 miles but by then smugglers had improved their skills.

In 1965, Bacardi built a distillery on New Providence, the capitol island of the Bahamas. The Bacardi distillery was one of the largest international investment in the Bahamas to that date. That plant is scheduled to close by April 2009.

There is only 1 sugar cane spirit distiller in this database from Bahamas.
Todhunter-Mitchell Distilleries Ltd
There are also 2 companies in this database blending/bottling sugar cane spirits from Bahamas.
Don Lorenzo Rum
Todhunter-Mitchell Distilleries Ltd
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