|Island Notes: Bahama saga|
|Wednesday, 06 June 2012 14:50|
An age will come after many years when the ocean will lose the chains of things and a huge land lie revealed Seneca
Human life may have had its origin on the African continent but the Gobi Desert, one of the most desolate places on the planet, is a more likely starting place for a story about the Bahamian islands. There is compelling reason to believe that it was from this remote region of central Asia - the most inland place on earth - that one of the greatest migrations in human history commenced. It was a migration that would bring the first human visitors to the continents of the Americas and eventually to the necklace of islands known as The Bahamas..
Map showing the great trek from Central Asia to the Bahama Islands
The great migration started when a small tribe set out on a hurried eastward trek to escape hostile invaders who were entering the steppes from western Asia. After trekking for many centuries the fleeing migrants crossed a narrow neck of land now known as the Bering Strait and arrived on a new continent. Eventually they were to create new ‘nations’ on the vast uninhabited lands of the Americas. During this incredible hegira, the migrants crossed deserts, mountains, plains and, when confronted with water, learned how to make watertight craft to allow them to navigate streams, rivers, lakes, and later, even oceans. On their journey they explored and eventually colonised the continents of North and South America. And, just before the end of the great migration, a spearhead of explorers visited, and colonised, the Bahama Islands which were some 15,000 miles from their original starting point near the centre of the Asian continent.
It might be difficult to find two places on the surface of the now-inhabited globe that are physically and climatically as different as central Asia and the islands of the Bahamas. But, strange as it may seem, the human history of the islands of the Caribbean Basin, and indeed of the great continents of North and South America, begins with some tribes of primeval Stone Age nomads who subsisted on the margins of the frigid Asian desert somewhere between 20,000 to 40,000 years ago
© Peter Barratt
Island Notes is contributed weekly by Peter Barratt, an architect/town planner formerly in charge of the development of Freeport, and author of a number of books including FREEPORT NOTEBOOK, GRAND BAHAMA, and BAHAMA SAGA. He has some very interesting notes on the early history of Freeport but, he admits himself, he should have taken a correspondence course in poetry writing. Barratt's books are available in Grand Bahama at Oasis drug store, the Rand Nature Centre, Bahamian T'ings and the Garden of the Groves shops. In Nassau his books are available at most bookshops on the island.
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