Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Independence of the Bahamas

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LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Inde-
pendence of the Bahamas

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to recognize and pay
just tribute to the cultural heritage of the ethnic groups which
comprise and contribute to the richness and diversity of the community
of the State of New York; and
WHEREAS, Attendant to such concern, and in keeping with its time-ho-
nored traditions, it is the intent of this Legislative Body to commem-
orate the 40th Anniversary of the Independence of the Bahamas; and
WHEREAS, The people of this great State and nation and the Bahamas
enjoy a deep and abiding relationship rooted in kinship and culture; and
WHEREAS, Like many areas in the Caribbean, the hundreds of islands and
cays that make up the Bahamas were "discovered" and claimed by European
explorers in the late 1400s; the history of the Bahamas between the time
that the islands were settled and the centuries that passed before inde-
pendence explains why the culture and people of the Bahamas are rich
with native Caribbean, European and African influences; and
WHEREAS, The first settlers on many of the islands, thought to be
predominantly the Arawak speaking Lucayan or Taino people, but also
included the Ciboney and the Carib people, arrived from South America
sometime in the 9th Century; and
WHEREAS, For hundreds of years the indigenous culture thrived and
spread from island to island; Christopher Columbus arrived at San Salva-
dor and claimed the Caribbean islands for the Spanish on his first jour-
ney to the Americas in 1492; the word Bahamas is thought to come from
the Arawak name for the islands, but some historians believe it comes
from the Spanish, "Baja Mar," which means "shallow sea"; and
WHEREAS, During the time Spain controlled the islands, African slaves
were brought to work in the plantation fields or in the homes of the
plantation owners, government officials and other wealthy Spaniards;
most of the original population was destroyed through fighting and
diseases brought to the islands by the new African and Spanish inhabit-
ants; and
WHEREAS, The Dutch gained control of the islands of the Bahamas for a
short time, but lost them to the English; the islands were claimed by
the English in 1670, and the Bahamas remained mainly under British rule
for the next 300 years; and
WHEREAS, Then, a brief one year return to Spanish rule came in 1782
and ended with the Bahamas once again as British colonies; and
WHEREAS, Slavery was officially abolished in the Bahamas in 1838; many
former slaves remained on the land and eventually became land owners
themselves and although all residents of the Bahamas were free, the
islands remained a colony of the United Kingdom; and
WHEREAS, The House of Assembly was established in 1729 and meant that
much of the government of the country was actually based in the Bahamas;
this historical creation was a major factor which led to a peaceful
negotiation for Bahamian Independence; and
WHEREAS, In 1964, after decades of debate and legal maneuvering, Great
Britain granted The Islands Of The Bahamas limited self-government; the
Bahamas became a British Commonwealth in 1969 ending the colonial rule,
but not the British effect of the islands; and
WHEREAS, The islands became a nation on July 10, 1973, which is the
official date celebrated as Bahamian Independence Day; and
WHEREAS, The 40th Anniversary of the Bahamas Independence provides an
opportunity to recognize the significance of their contributions to the
quality and character of life, and, through events and activities, for

all people to gain a greater appreciation of Bahamian history and tradi-
tions, and of the role Bahamians have played, and will continue to play,
in our society; and
WHEREAS, This Legislative Body is pleased to have this opportunity to
recognize such events of significance which foster ethnic pride and
exemplify the cultural diversity that represents and strengthens the
fabric of the people and the State of New York; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Independence of the Bahamas.


  • 03 / Apr / 2013
  • 17 / Apr / 2013
  • 17 / Apr / 2013

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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