The Bahamas comprise an archipelago of about 700 islands and islets, and nearly 2,400 cays and rocks in the Atlantic Ocean, extending for about 1,200 km (750 miles) from south-east of Palm Beach, Florida, to the eastern tip of Cuba. Only about 40 of the islands are inhabited. New Providence is economically the most important of the group and contains more than half of the total population. The second major island is Grand Bahama, the most northerly of the group. The capital of the islands is Nassau on New Providence.
The first permanent European inhabitants of the islands were not the Spanish, (who had merely raided them for slaves) but the British. They settled Eleuthera and New Providence in about 1648, by which time the islands were uninhabited. During its early years the settlement was repeatedly attacked by the Spanish. The islands were later the stronghold of buccaneers and pirates, notably the infamous Blackbeard; by 1715 there were some 1,000 based in the archipelago. They became a British colony in 1787.
The following 4 cruises call at Bahamas.
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