National Heroes’ Day of Bahamas is celebrated every second Monday in October to honor individuals who, through personal achievements and initiatives, have contributed to the growth and development of the Bahamas. This year, it will be observed on October 9. Did you know that National Heroes’ Day of Bahamas was called Discovery Day and Columbus Day until 2013? National Heroes’ Day of Bahamas usually kicks off by awarding individuals that distinguished themselves in the civil service. Then the Prime minister delivers a keynote speech at George Street in Nassau. While the honors and speeches end on that day, the festivities and celebrations may extend to an entire week.
History of National Heroes' Day of Bahamas
The first people to settle in the Bahamas were the Taínos, after crossing from Hispaniola or Cuba in dugout canoes. These people arrived between 300 and 400 A.D and proceeded to colonize the Bahamas. Between 700 and 1500, the Lucayan — a Taíno tribe — grew in size, populating the south-central area of the Bahamas. At the time of the first European contact, the population of the Lucayan was about 40,000.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus made landfall on San Salvador, one of the islands in the Bahamas, and claimed it for Spain. Over the next 30 years, the Spaniards systematically transported nearly the entire Lucayan population in the Bahamas to Hispaniola as labor slaves. With no more Lucayans left to enslave, the islands were abandoned for 130 years.
In 1648, William Sayle, leading a group of puritans and republicans, sailed from Bermuda to the Bahamas and founded a colony. This group was searching for religious and political freedom and economic opportunity. They settled on the Eleuthera island — named after the group. However, due to food scarcity and other hardships, many of the settlers went back to Bermuda. In 1666, other colonists from Bermuda settled in New Providence and made a living as seamen.
During the late 17th century and early 18th century, the Bahamians turned to wrecking and salvaging wrecks, the most profitable occupation at the time. Some of the world’s famous pirates made Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, their abode. Examples include Blackbeard, Calico Jack, Stede Bonnet, and Henry Jennings. The rise of piracy in the Bahamas led to the Spanish-British-French sacking of Nassau. However, order was established in 1718, when the King of England appointed Woodes Rogers as the Royal Governor.
In the 1950s, the first Bahamian political parties were formed — Progressive Liberal Party and United Bahamian Party. In 1964, the Bahamians achieved self-governance. In 1967, Sir Lynden O. Pindling became the first black Premier of the Bahamas. On 10 July 1973, the Bahamas became a fully independent nation but remained within the Commonwealth of Nations. In October 2013, Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes allowed the passage of the bill to replace Discovery Day with National Heroes’ Day. That shifted the focus from celebrating the discovery of the Bahamas by Columbus to appreciating the individuals contributing to the nation’s development.
National Heroes' Day of Bahamas timeline
Columbus and his crew set foot on San Salvador, one of the Bahamas islands.
Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, becomes an abode for pirates of all kinds, including the most notorious ones.
The Bahamas becomes a sovereign country of the Commonwealth realm.
A bill is passed to replace Discovery Day with National Heroes’ Day.
National Heroes' Day of Bahamas FAQs
Is the Bahamas part of the U.S?
No, the Bahamas has never been part of the United States. It was formerly a colony of Britain until 1973 when it gained independence.
What are the Bahamas known for?
Pristine white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, pirating history, underwater cave systems, and sunset-to-sunrise nightlife.
What festivals are held in the Bahamas?
Famous festivals held in the Bahamas include the Junkanoo and Junkanoo Festival, Eleuthera Pineapple Festival, The Bahamas International Film Festival, Fox Hill Day Festival, and All Andros Crab Festival.
National Heroes' Day of Bahamas Activities
Visit the Bahamas
This is the perfect opportunity to live your wildest dream — a trip to the Bahamas! Now is the time to start making your plans. Booking sites like Kayak, Expedia, and Momondo offer unbelievably cheap tickets to the Bahamas. Be advised to book your flight at least three months ahead to get the lowest prices.
Join other well-wishers to celebrate online
If you can’t travel to the Bahamas, don’t worry. You can still participate in the celebration by sending your best wishes to the country on social media. Send a tweet @opmthebahamas or @VisitTheBahamas, or share a post with them on Facebook or Instagram.
Try a Bahamian dish
The Bahamas has some of the best seafood dishes in the Caribbean, such as cracked conch, souse, baked crab, rock lobsters, and conch salad. Check Yelp or Foursquare for a nearby Bahamian restaurant.
5 Facts About The Bahamas
The Bahamas was an abode for pirates during the 17th century, including the infamous Blackbeard.
The world’s deepest blue hole
Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island is the deepest blue hole in the world at 663 feet.
Marching band on national currency
The Nassau Police Marching Band is the only marching band in the world that appears on a legal tender.
The Bahamas is not in the Caribbean
The Bahamas archipelago is actually north of the Caribbean, not a part of it.
A country of 700 islands
The Bahamas consists of 700 islands, only 30 of which are inhabited.
Why We Love National Heroes' Day of Bahamas
On National Heroes’ Day of the Bahamas, civil servants in various sectors are awarded and honored for contributing to the Bahamas’ progress and prosperity. It’s only natural to appreciate hard-working people for their efforts. Also, when these people feel sincerely appreciated, they’re encouraged to show even more commitment and dedication, so it’s a win-win situation.
Connecting with Bahamians
Either online or by actually visiting the Bahamas, we get a chance to make new connections with people of the Bahamas. See how you can connect on this day!
The Bahamas’ exquisite nature
If you travel to the Bahamas, you can enjoy beautiful pristine white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. The bonus will be being able to participate in the events happening during National Heroes’ Day of the Bahamas.
National Heroes' Day of Bahamas dates