Adelaide Beach, The Bahamas – Foothold of Freedom in New Providence
You may have visited Nassau in The Bahamas many times. You may have even wandered away from the downtown area and mega-resorts that make the city name, Nassau, better known than the island’s actual name, New Providence. It’s not likely, though, that you ended up here. This is Adelaide Beach. The secluded stretch of sand rests along the southwest shores of New Providence. Two of the finest golf courses in The Bahamas – Albany and Blue Shark – sit close by. So too does the uber-exclusive Albany luxury resort community. In its vibe and style, though, Adelaide might as well be a million miles away. The reason lies in the uncommon bit of slave history that occurred right here nearly 200 years ago.
Emancipated At Sea
It was the early 1830s. Slavery had not been abolished in the British West Indies. The slave trade, however, was made illegal in 1807. Ships continuing the practice were regularly boarded by the British Royal Navy. African men and women found aboard were granted their freedom.
One such collection of Africans – 157 people effectively emancipated at sea – were the original inhabitants of Adelaide Village.
The British Royal Navy rescued them from a Portuguese sailing vessel in 1831. That same year, then Governor of The Bahamas, Sir James Carmichael Smyth, had founded Adelaide, and a series of other settlements, expressly for freed slaves to start new lives.
From Slavery to The Shores of Adelaide Beach
The Africans brought to these shores built their own thatched-roof homes out of limestone and wood. They drew sustenance from the sea and their own small farms.
In short order, they developed a distinctive community; one very much set apart from Nassau and the rest of New Providence.
A little piece of Africa in The Bahamas.
Adelaide Village Today
Today, Adelaide Village retains much of its isolated character. Few people live here. Many of them, though, are said to be descendants of the original 157 African residents. Many still raise chickens and grow fruits and vegetables in their yards. The homes are still mostly small and modest.
The vibe: quiet, peaceful.
This is especially true on Adelaide Beach. You’re never liable to find a crowd here, unless you visit on a major holiday. I didn’t see or hear another soul during my midweek afternoon visit back in January.
Seclusion, peace, tranquility, and a fabulous sunset were reason enough to spend a little extra time here.
For a conscious traveler like me, though, it’s the history that made visiting Adelaide Beach truly unforgettable.