History of Exuma
We know that Christopher Columbus discovered San Salvador in the Bahamas. We also know that he did not discover the island of Exuma because if he had found this jewel in the sun he would surely have stayed rather than return to Spain.
After the American war of Independence some wealthy landowners, loyal to the English crown, dismantled their homes brick by brick and shipped everything, including their slaves, to the Bahamas. One of the wealthiest was Lord Rolle who established his new home in Exuma. For some years he grew cotton but the thin soil and the chenille bug thwarted his efforts and he returned to England.
Before leaving he freed all his slaves and created what is knon as “generation land” where slaves were given plots of his land to build on and farm if they took Lord Rolles name. This explains why there are so many Rolles in Exuma today.
George Town is the capital of Exuma with a population of around 800. It is built around Lake Victoria and on the western edge of Elizabeth Harbour. Nowadays it has several hotels and restaurants and dive shops and a supermarket.
During the second world war the American Navy chose Elizabeth Harbour as the most protected large expanse of water in the whole Bahamas and based many warships in Exuma. After the war the area resorted to its previous tranquil state and only now are the Out Islands being discovered by the tourist. Many of the local needs are provided by the weekly mailboat from Nassau.