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The Bahamas were an ideal location for buccaneering. The region was a major shipping lane. Many of the Spanish boats laden with treasure after plundering South and Central America were themselves plundered as they came through the islands on their way to Europe. The hundreds of islets and cays allowed pirate ships to hide from and pounce on their unwitting prey, and the numerous sandbars and reefs put the captains of slow and treasure-heavy galleons at a distinct disadvantage. After the galleons were relieved of their precious cargo, the islands' many limestone caverns provided the plunderers with convenient caches for their treasure. Some of which may still be there today... 

There were many major and minor pirates and privateers who plied the waters of The Bahamas. Each of them, like tourists today, had a favorite island. Henry Morgan, whose treasure has yet to be found, preferred the dangerous shoals off Andros. Captain Kidd lurked at Kidd Cove, his favorite anchorage in Elizabeth Harbour, Exuma. William Catt is reputed to have buried treasure in the waters off Cat Island, and the infamous Anne Bonney also favored this area. In San Salvador, British pirate captain George Watling took over the island and named it after himself. The island retained his name until the early1900's.

The art of rapacious behavior was not the sole purview of pirates. Many people of The Abacos essentially survived by plundering ships unfortunate enough to wreck off the islands, either by a storm or by some help from unscrupulous islanders swinging lanterns at night off the treacherous sandbars and reefs. This lucrative industry continued until the first lighthouse was built in 1836. The waters off these islands are said to be the final resting place for nearly 500 Spanish galleons. Divers off the coasts of Bimini and Grand Bahama Island can also view the wrecks of numerous galleons and pirate ships. 







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