It is possible to begin to imagine the diverse narratives that have shaped the cultural and physical environment in the Bahamas by looking at the evolution of the Bahamian landscape. To explore the many narratives that have shaped modern Bahamian society and the built environment. Bahamian cultural heritage is preserved and promoted through mechanisms and methods. As Bahamians spend time experiencing spaces, places, and activities associated with specific strands of history, they gain an understanding of their own culture and character.

Past, Present and Future: Architecture of Bahamas - Sheet1
The Wyannie Malone Historical Museum_©https://www.caciqueinternational.com/blog/2018/07/islandarchnotes.

History of Bahamas

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The clapboard house_©https://www.caciqueinternational.com/blog/2018/07/islandarchnotes
Past, Present and Future: Architecture of Bahamas - Sheet3
The clapboard house_©https://www.caciqueinternational.com/blog/2018/07/islandarchnotes

The Bahamas are an archipelago of nearly 700 islands and 2,000 cays situated 600 miles southeast of Florida along the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. This archipelago, which is known as The Bahamas, is surrounded by some of the cleanest waters in the world, and average temperatures in winter are around 70 degrees and in summer they reach 82 degrees. There is a common environmental, cultural, and historical heritage shared by the multiple islands and cays, but there are also distances and divisions inherent to their geography.

Despite the fact that many scholars have studied the remains of past human activities and the evolution of traditional cultural practices in The Bahamas, very little has been written about their preservation, promotion, and interpretation. 

Past Architectural Style of Bahamas 

During the American Revolution, a large number of fleeing loyalists flooded the Bahamas, altering the island’s architecture. Many islands in the Bahamas were designed based on these people’s own ideas about architecture. In the Bahamas, loyalists arrived from different parts of colonial America, but those from southern colonies, like North and South Carolina, had the greatest influence on architecture. It was evident in their structures that they adhered to a Georgian ideal in the building. It was through architecture that loyalist beliefs were manifested in the Bahamas in many ways. During the American Revolution, they experienced bitter experiences that shaped their views about architecture. As refugees in East Florida, the loyalists discovered how fleeting life had become. Having been displaced from their homeland, they came to the islands with hopes of securing a better future. Because the Bahamas was settled by Caribbean settlers, its architecture initially reflected that. Based on the evidence regarding the first settlers of the Bahamas and their origins, Bermuda emerged at the end of the 16th century. As far as New Providence was concerned, it attracted seamen while the Out Islands attracted farmers. Small, easily replaceable structures dominated the landscape because these people lived in an environment that discouraged large development projects. Only when some of their most notorious inhabitants arrived did the English begin paying attention to the islands

Late in the eighteenth century, the American Revolution refugees changed the appearance of Bahamian architecture; their legacy continues to influence the aesthetic taste of Bahamians to this day. In this British colony, symmetry was combined with environmental influences, such as bright colors used for the exteriors of buildings. Nassau’s capital city was influenced by grand structures spotted in places like Charleston, South Carolina. It is the mysteries surrounding the ruins of Great Houses from former plantations that captivate the average tourist, but the structures built by transplanted slaves proved more practical under the Bahamian conditions. In the Georgian style, ancient themes from Rome and Greece were incorporated into the architecture. During the early eighteenth century, symmetry and classical orders in columns became commonplace in public and private buildings in England

Future approaches of Bahamas tourism

Past, Present and Future: Architecture of Bahamas - Sheet4
Colorful Buildings_©https://nylonpink.tv/6-life-lessons-learned-bahamian-culture/
Colonial Style_©https://img.theculturetrip.com/1440x/smart/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/parliament-square.jpg

Bahamas tourism has almost always focused on promoting the region as a place of Sun, Sand, and Sea. The Bahamas offers beautiful beaches, pristine waters, and comfortable weather, but this approach hasn’t proven sustainable. Bahamas visitors have certainly been offered a broader range of experiences in recent years. It’s Better in The Bahamas, a centered approach around Adventure, Kids, and Family, Local Culture, Relaxation, and Events. They claim to offer a comprehensive experience of the culture and environment of the country juxtaposed with an affordable, all-inclusive price tag. While the vast majority of visitors, however, experience only the relaxation portions of their vacation, not the art or culture. In 2004 the World Tourism Organization estimated that a vast portion of all international tourism has a cultural component. While The Bahamas do not draw most of its visitors from heritage and/or eco-tourism, there are many hidden reminders of The Bahamas rich heritage.  This would not have been possible without the work of cultural heritage management professionals and projects to preserve the material and intangible cultural resources of the Bahamas.

Reference list

Baylor-ir.tdl.org. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://baylor-ir.tdl.org/bitstream/handle/2104/5539/jennette_walkine_edd.pdf?sequence=1> [Accessed 26 June 2022].

Cacique International. 2022. INTRODUCING | Island Arch Notes — Cacique International. [online] Available at: <https://www.caciqueinternational.com/blog/2018/07/islandarchnotes> [Accessed 26 June 2022].

Fau.digital.flvc.org. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://fau.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/fau%3A11921/datastream/OBJ/view> [Accessed 26 June 2022].

Getd.libs.uga.edu. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/jackson_christopher_c_201805_mhp.pdf> [Accessed 26 June 2022].

Islandlivingrealestate.com. 2022. How The Bahamas Helped Define Caribbean Architecture. [online] Available at: <https://www.islandlivingrealestate.com/blog/how-the-bahamas-helped-define-caribbean-architecture.html> [Accessed 26 June 2022].

Author

An observant Architect and wandering soul who captures the tales of poetic experiences through writing. She is a traveler by heart who explores the essence through understanding the relationship between people and places with sensitivity, as she believes “Architecture is an extension of one’s life “

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