2. Christopher Columbus made landfall in the New World in 1492 on San Salvador Island, the Bahamas.
3. The name "Bahamas" originates from the Spanish phrase "baja mar," meaning "shallow sea," which is how Columbus described the islands.
4. About 40,000 Lucayans lived on the islands upon Columbus' arrival. Within 25 years, they were wiped out by disease, hardships and slavery.
5. English Puritans known as Eleutheran Adventurers arrived in the Bahamas in 1649 in search of religious freedom.
6. During the late 1600s and the early 1700s, many privateers and pirates lived in the Bahamas, including Blackbeard and Calico Jack.
7. Nassau, the nation's capital, was established in 1670 as a commercial port. Spanish troops destroyed it first and the French and Spanish navies destroyed it a second time.
8. The Bahamian economy thrived because of the U.S. Civil War and the Prohibition era.
9. The Bahamas gained its independence from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973, after 325 years of British rule. Like many former British colonies, the Bahamas are a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Click here to read more about Bahamian history.