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Pirates! The Colorful Past of the Abacos

November 17th, 2009 by admin

Today, visitors to the Abacos and Serenity Point are familiar with the area’s stunning treasures: beaches of white gold; glittering emerald waters; the glint in the eye of a charming local; and the chance to steal away to private retreat. But it was only a few hundred years ago when this area was home to a different kind of treasure seeker: the pirate.

Azure Waters and White Sands of Serenity Point, Schooner Bay Beach

It’s no surprise that the hidden coves and uninhabited cays of the Abacos were sought after by pirates who terrorized the Bahamas in the 18th Century. What better way to catch a treasure-laden galleon unawares than by positioning one’s pirate self near a shallow reef and waiting for a slow moving ship to pass through? Secluded islets provided cover for buccaneers to fix their shallow draft boats, ensuring theirs were the speediest craft on the water. Caves and sheltered hideaways were no doubt highly coveted spots to stash plundered loot. Truly, a pirate’s paradise.

The days of piracy long passed, the Abacos are alive with new jewels. Explore the exquisite sands of Schooner Bay Beach. Troll the restaurants and shops of the quaint New-England style villages. Or head out on (or under!) the water to uncover the secrets of the deep. Natural beauty, world-class sailing, golfing and diving surround Serenity Point, an oasis where new homeowners can discover a hidden treasure to call their own.

Pirate Secrets

  • Dread pirate Edward Teach, more commonly called “Blackbeard” was known to have frequented the Abacos
  • The name Bahamas is believed to come from the Spanish “baja mar” meaning “shallow sea”, the perfect setting for ill-fated ships to run aground.
  • It is thought that upwards of 500 Spanish galleons were shipwrecked in the Bahamas by the early 18th Century. To this day, many visitors don snorkels or scuba gear in hope of seeing a submerged wreck.
  • Many Spanish ships that were plundered by pirates were returning to Europe from South America where the Spaniards had done their own fair share of plundering. Perhaps a fair retribution.
  • A letter of marque was a government issued document that entitled the captain of a ship to legally (and forcibly) board a merchant vessel if it was believed the merchant had broken the law of the nation from which the letter of marque was designated. This basically made piracy – or privateering – legal and left the unfortunate merchants at the mercy of the so-called “law”.

More Pirate Resources
Wikipedia: The Bahamas
Wisegeek: What Is a Letter of Marque
Bahamas History

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