A History of the Bahamian People: From Aboriginal Times to the End of Slavery

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University of Georgia Press, 1999 - History - 496 pages
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From two leading historians of Bahamian history comes this groundbreaking work on a unique archipelagic nation. Islanders in the Stream is not only the first comprehensive chronicle of the Bahamian people, it is also the first work of its kind and scale for any Caribbean nation. This comprehensive volume details the full, extraordinary history of all the people who have ever inhabited the islands and explains the evolution of a Bahamian national identity within the framework of neighboring territories in similar circumstances.

Divided into three sections, this volume covers the period from aboriginal times to the end of formal slavery in 1838. The first part includes authoritative accounts of Columbusís first landfall in the New World on San Salvador island, his voyage through the Bahamas, and the ensuing disastrous collision of European and native Arawak cultures. Covering the islandsí initial settlement, the second section ranges from the initial European incursions and the first English settlements through the lawless era of pirate misrule to Britainís official takeover and development of the colony in the eighteenth century. The third, and largest, section offers a full analysis of Bahamian slave society through the great influx of Empire Loyalists and their slaves at the end of the American Revolution to the purported achievement of full freedom for the slaves in 1838.

This work is both a pioneering social history and a richly illustrated narrative modifying previous Eurocentric interpretations of the islandsí early history. Written to appeal to Bahamians as well as all those interested in Caribbean history, Islanders in the Stream looks at the islands and their people in their fullest contexts, constituting not just the most thorough view of Bahamian history to date but a major contribution to Caribbean historiography.

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About the author (1999)

Michael Craton is a professor of history at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He is the author of several books, including Empire, Enslavement, and Freedom in the Caribbean and A History of the Bahamas. Gail Saunders is the Archivist of the Bahamas in Nassau; her works include Bahamian Loyalists and Their Slaves and Bahamian Society After Emancipation.

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