Resolution J1109-2013

Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Independence of the Bahamas



  • Apr 17, 2013: ADOPTED
  • Apr 3, 2013: REFERRED TO FINANCE


LEGISLATIVE  RESOLUTION  commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Inde-
pendence of the Bahamas

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to recognize  and  pay
just  tribute  to  the  cultural  heritage  of  the  ethnic groups which
comprise and contribute to the richness and diversity of  the  community
of the State of New York; and
  WHEREAS,  Attendant  to such concern, and in keeping with its time-ho-
nored traditions, it is the intent of this Legislative Body  to  commem-
orate the 40th Anniversary of the Independence of the Bahamas; and
  WHEREAS,  The  people  of  this great State and nation and the Bahamas
enjoy a deep and abiding relationship rooted in kinship and culture; and
  WHEREAS, Like many areas in the Caribbean, the hundreds of islands and
cays that make up the Bahamas were "discovered" and claimed by  European
explorers in the late 1400s; the history of the Bahamas between the time
that the islands were settled and the centuries that passed before inde-
pendence  explains  why  the  culture and people of the Bahamas are rich
with native Caribbean, European and African influences; and
  WHEREAS, The first settlers on many of  the  islands,  thought  to  be
predominantly  the  Arawak  speaking  Lucayan  or Taino people, but also
included the Ciboney and the Carib people, arrived  from  South  America
sometime in the 9th Century; and
  WHEREAS,  For  hundreds  of  years  the indigenous culture thrived and
spread from island to island; Christopher Columbus arrived at San Salva-
dor and claimed the Caribbean islands for the Spanish on his first jour-
ney to the Americas in 1492; the word Bahamas is thought  to  come  from
the  Arawak  name  for the islands, but some historians believe it comes
from the Spanish, "Baja Mar," which means "shallow sea"; and
  WHEREAS, During the time Spain controlled the islands, African  slaves
were  brought  to  work  in the plantation fields or in the homes of the
plantation owners, government officials  and  other  wealthy  Spaniards;
most  of  the  original  population  was  destroyed through fighting and
diseases brought to the islands by the new African and Spanish  inhabit-
ants; and
  WHEREAS,  The Dutch gained control of the islands of the Bahamas for a
short time, but lost them to the English; the islands  were  claimed  by
the  English in 1670, and the Bahamas remained mainly under British rule
for the next 300 years; and
  WHEREAS, Then, a brief one year return to Spanish rule  came  in  1782
and ended with the Bahamas once again as British colonies; and
  WHEREAS, Slavery was officially abolished in the Bahamas in 1838; many
former  slaves  remained  on  the land and eventually became land owners
themselves and although all residents of  the  Bahamas  were  free,  the
islands remained a colony of the United Kingdom; and
  WHEREAS,  The House of Assembly was established in 1729 and meant that
much of the government of the country was actually based in the Bahamas;
this historical creation was a major factor  which  led  to  a  peaceful
negotiation for Bahamian Independence; and
  WHEREAS, In 1964, after decades of debate and legal maneuvering, Great
Britain  granted The Islands Of The Bahamas limited self-government; the
Bahamas became a British Commonwealth in 1969 ending the colonial  rule,
but not the British effect of the islands; and
  WHEREAS,  The  islands  became a nation on July 10, 1973, which is the
official date celebrated as Bahamian Independence Day; and
  WHEREAS, The 40th Anniversary of the Bahamas Independence provides  an
opportunity  to recognize the significance of their contributions to the
quality and character of life, and, through events and  activities,  for

all people to gain a greater appreciation of Bahamian history and tradi-
tions, and of the role Bahamians have played, and will continue to play,
in our society; and
  WHEREAS,  This Legislative Body is pleased to have this opportunity to
recognize such events of significance  which  foster  ethnic  pride  and
exemplify  the  cultural  diversity  that represents and strengthens the
fabric of the people and the State of New York; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause  in  its  deliberations  to
commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Independence of the Bahamas.


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