The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is an archipelagic sovereign state in the Atlantic Ocean consisting of more than 700 islands, cays and islets. Located on the northeastern part of the Caribbean, the Bahamas lies north of Cuba and Saint-Domingue and southeast of the state of Florida.
During the Golden Age of Piracy, the Bahamas, like many places in the Caribbean, was a popular retreat for pirates. Nassau, now its largest city and capital, served as a notorious base-of-operations for a self-proclaimed Republic of Pirates from 1706 until the British Empire regained control in 1718.
Republic of Pirates
The Bahamas was a colony of England, and later the United Kingdom, from 1648 until 1973. While the Bahamas were being colonized by Britain, it was sparsely populated, which led to it becoming a pirate haven. The city of Nassau in the Bahamas was declared a pirate republic in 1706. Intended as a community entirely devoid of restraints on liberty, the anarchic proto-state sank into squalor and dilapidation by the following decade due to the lack of any real administration.
After the Templar Woodes Rogers was appointed governor of the islands in 1718, he dissolved the state by reestablishing British military control. In order to extinguish the pirate presence, he first offered a royal pardon to all pirates to be accepted by 5 September before moving to arrest all remaining pirates after this deadline. However, piracy in general still persisted in the area, and he was recalled from his post in 1722. He would eventually return to serve another term.
The Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton sailed to the Bahamas aboard the Aquila in 1773 and in 1776. By destroying privateer ships such as the Somerset, he greatly improved the safety of naval trade routes to the islands.
Later in 1778, Ratonhnhaké:ton returned to the islands in an effort to find and kill Nicholas Biddle, captain of the American warship Randolph. After disabling the masts, Ratonhnhaké:ton boarded the vessel and duelled the Templar, ultimately killing Biddle. The Randolph was then sunk, as per Biddle's last wish.