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History of New Providence

History of New Providence Island

In 1670, England’s King Charles II granted the Bahamas to six British noblemen, or Proprietors. The Proprietors brought  British settlers to New Providence, where they built a fort named Charlestown, in honour of King Charles II. Most of Nassau’s population were pirates, privateers or wreckers. Charlestown was burnt to the ground by the Spanish in 1684, but later rebuilt and renamed Nassau in 1695 to honor King William III (formerly Prince of Orange-Nassau).

In 1718, the British declared the Bahamas a crown colony and named Woodes Rogers its first Royal Governor. His mission was to rid Nassau of the pirates. He did so successfully. Rogers eventually opened the first House of Assembly in The Bahamas and presided over the colony until his death. The assembly adopted Rogers official motto, “Expulsis Piratis, Restituta Commercia,” or “Pirates Expelled, Commerce Restored.”
In the 1950-60s, tourists flocked to the new resorts just west of Nassau at Cable Beach (named for the first telegraph cable laid there in 1892).

In the 1960’s Huntington Hartford — heir to the A&P supermarket fortune — bought Hog Island and was used primarily for farming, and developed it into the 684 acre Paradise Island. More recent investors have included Merv Griffin and Sol Kirzner who developed Atlantis.