Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial
centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
The city has a population of 260,000 (2008
), nearly 80 percent of the entire
population of The Bahamas (330,000). Lynden Pindling
International Airport, the major airport for The Bahamas, is located
about west of Nassau city centre, and has daily flights to major
cities in the United
States, Canada and the
Caribbean. The city is located on the island of New Providence, which functions much like a federal district.
While there is no
local government, it is governed directly as an administrative
division of the national government. Nassau is considered a
historical stronghold of pirates.
formerly known as Charles Town; it was burned to the ground by the
Spanish in 1684, but later rebuilt and renamed Nassau in
1695 in honour of Dutch King William III of England and Ireland
from the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau.
1703 Spanish and French allied forces briefly occupied
By 1713, the sparsely settled Bahamas had become a pirate
rendezvous. English pirate
chieftains Thomas Barrow
Nassau a pirate republic, establishing themselves as governors, and
were joined by Charles Vane
, Calico Jack Rackham
, and Edward Teach,
the infamous "Blackbeard
", along with
women pirates such as Anne Bonny
In 1718, the crown sought to regain control and appointed Captain
General and Governor in
chief in and over the Bahama islands. He ousted Blackbeard from his
position as Magistrate of the "Privateers Republic", reformed the
civil government and successfully expelled the pirates. Rogers
cleaned up Nassau and rebuilt the fort, even going as far to use
his own money to try to overcome problems.
In 1776 the Battle of Nassau
resulted in occupation by the Americans: in 1778 an overnight
invasion saw the Americans leaving with ships, gunpowder and
military stores after remaining in Nassau for only two days. In
1782 Spain captured Nassau, for the last time when Don Juan de Cagigal
, Governor General of
Cuba and the Havana attacked New Providence with 5000 men. Andrew Deveaux
set forth to recapture Nassau
with only 220 men and 150 muskets to face a force of 600 trained
soldiers. Deveaux forced the Spanish to surrender on April 17,
1783, without a single shot fired. When Deveaux took down the
Spanish flag, it marked the last time that a foreign banner was to
fly over the Bahamian capital Nassau as a symbol of dominion.
Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre
was opened in 1982 and was
the first zoo in The Bahamas. It had previously been open as
gardens in Nassau since 1937.
Island, Nassau has an attractive harbor, a colorful blend
of old world and colonial architecture and a busy port.
and natural beauty of the
Bahamas has made Nassau a popular tourist
destination, with a reputation for relaxing days and an exciting
Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33
degrees Celsius) and the winter months have daytime temperatures
between , rarely falling below .
proximity to the United States (290 km east-southeast of
Florida) has also contributed to its popularity as a
holiday resort, especially after the banning of American travel to
Cuba. The Atlantis resort on nearby Paradise Island accounts for more tourist arrivals to the city than
any other hotel property.
also employs over 6,000 Bahamians,
the largest outside of government.
Bahamian Parliament in Nassau.
Cruise Ships Docked at Nassau
The city also boasts of Junkanoo
energetic, colourful street parade of brightly costumed people
dancing to the rhythmic accompaniment of cowbells, drums and
whistles. The celebration occurs on December 26 and January 1,
beginning in the early hours of the morning (1:00 a.m.) and
ending around 10 a.m.In addition, the city celebrates Junkanoo June
, a month-long festival akin to
. Festivities begin at
In popular culture
Nassau has featured as an important location in numerous James Bond
novels and films. The most notable of
the Bond films in Nassau is Thunderball
, released in 1965. Most
of the movie was based in Nassau, and the Junkanoo
festival also figures prominently in the
film, which starred Sean Connery
Nassau was again the location for the 1983 Bond film Never Say Never Again
, (a remake
) also starring Sean Connery, and it is was
the setting for part of the action in the 2006 Bond film
starring Daniel Craig
. Nassau was also
featured in the famous Beatles
At least one ship and one airplane from various James Bond movies
has been sunk in the waters of Nassau. Stuart Cove offers dives to
Nassau is also heavily featured in the novel Tobin in
by Stanley Morgan
is centered around the visit by the main character, Russ Tobin, to Nassau and Paradise
Island, and the comedic events that ensue.
Nassau has also been the setting for several other recent movies
including After the
, Into the
The capital hosted the games of the 2004 World's Strongest Man
Atlantis Paradise Island was the venue for the 2009 Miss Universe