Harbour Island, Eleuthera, the Bahamas
The first inhabitants of Harbour Island, the Lucayan were Arawakan People who inhabited the Bahamas at the time of Christopher Columbus' landing on October 12, 1492. They are widely thought to be the first Amerindians encountered by the Spanish. Early accounts describe them as a peaceful people. Before Columbus' arrival, there were about 20,000 Lucayans, but because of slavery, diseases and other hardships brought about by the arrival of the Europeans, by 1517, they were virtually non-existent.
The Spaniards who followed Columbus depopulated the islands and they were deserted until the arrival of the Eleutherian Adventurers from Bermuda in the mid 1600s. The Adventurers (who were English) established the first permanent European settlements on an island which they named Eleuthera - the name derives from the Greek word for freedom. They later discovered New Providence and named it Sayle's Island. To survive, the settlers salvaged goods from wrecks.
In 1670 King Charles II granted the islands to the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas, who rented the islands from the king with rights of trading, tax, appointing governors, and administering the country.
During proprietary rule, the Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard. To restore orderly government, the Bahamas was made a British crown colony in 1718 under the royal governorship of Woodes Rogers, who cracked down on piracy.