Valentines Residences, Resort & Marina

Harbour Island, Bahamas


The Beginnings of Eleuthera

posted by on March 12th, 2013

Eleuthera, or “Lutra”, as it is called by native Eleuthereans, is true to its name, the Greek

Eleuthera map

Eleuthera map

word for “Freedom”.  A large, modern-appointed island in the east of the Bahamas, Eleuthera still has some of the most pristine natural environments in the world.

From tip to top, Eleuthera is blessed with 220 miles of shoreline ranging from pink sand beaches to rugged crashing Atlantic.

The picturesque old fishing villages have a quaint feel, with some houses over two hundred years old.  Famous for its artists and the sweetest, most delicious pineapples in the world, Eleuthereans are painters, fishermen, farmers and craftspeople.

Eleuthera is the birthplace of the Bahamas, the site of the first successful European settlement in The Islands.  In 1648 Puritan Pilgrims led by Captain William Sayle left Bermuda to seek religious freedom, and to lead their lives as they wished.

Shipwrecked off the Devil’s Backbone, they barely made it to shore alive, losing all they had brought with them.  The Adventurers were farmers seeking land to establish food crops.

When they straggled ashore, the original people of Cigatoo, the island’s aboriginal name, had long since been extinguished, leaving virtually no trace.  Although bounded by rich seas, the Adventurers did not know how to harvest food from the waters, and they starved.

A rescue mission was mounted by Captain Sayle to bring back provisions, landing in the Carolinas.

News of their plight reached fellow Puritans in the Colony of Massachusetts, and aid came just in time.

Appreciatively, the rescued survivors in The Company of Eleutherian Adventurers cut down braziletto and other rare woods then abundant in Eleuthera, sending them to Boston as a gift of thanksgiving to their saviors.

The cargo of fine woods was then sold to assist in the building of Harvard University.  The proceeds were the largest bestowment received by the University to that time.  The bond established between Harvard and Eleuthera continues to this day.

The Constitution drawn by the Eleutherian Adventurers is proudly displayed in the Parliament buildings in Nassau.  It outlines the Charter for the first Republic in the New World.

Of course, the story of Eleuthera continues beyond its beginnings.  In the following three hundred years, Eleuthera has seen boom and bust through the era of pirates, cotton, pineapple and sisal, the seventies jetsetters, and into the modern home-owner era.

The story of Eleuthera is a fascinating account.  For more about the history of Eleuthera, read “An Island Called Freedom, The Story of Eleuthera” by Everild Young, when you come to visit SeaView Cottage, and available in finer Eleuthera gift shops.

For current day fun in Eleuthera, visit Valentines Residences, Resort & Marina.

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