When Columbus first reached what he thought was a new route to China & Japan without going through the Muslim lands, he had stepped foot on what we now call The Bahamas in 1492. The local inhabitants were the Lucayan People, the last of whom were removed, and sent into slavery, by 1520. English colonists settled the islands in 1648 and it formally became a Crown Colony. After American independence, many loyalists were settled in the Bahamas, bringing their slaves with them and establishing plantations on land grants. Later slavery was abolished (1807 in Britain, 1834 in The Bahamas). It became a safe haven for freed slaves and today more than 90% of the population is predominantly of African descent. The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth Realm in 1973, retaining Elizabeth II as Monarch.
Sign at a state park in Florida commemorating escapes to The Bahamas