The Bahamas became a Britishcrown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American Revolutionary War, the Crown resettled thousands of American Loyalists to the Bahamas; they took their slaves with them and established plantations on land grants. African slaves and their descendants constituted the majority of the population from this period on. The slave trade was abolished by the British in 1807; slavery in the Bahamas was abolished in 1834. Subsequently, the Bahamas became a haven for freed African slaves. Africans liberated from illegal slave ships were resettled on the islands by the Royal Navy, while some North American slaves and Seminoles escaped to the Bahamas from Florida. Bahamians were even known to recognize the freedom of slaves carried by the ships of other nations which reached the Bahamas. Today Afro-Bahamians make up 90% of the population of 332,634.
The name Bahamas is most likely derived from either the Taínoba ha ma ("big upper middle land"), which was a term for the region used by the indigenous people, or possibly from the Spanishbaja mar ("shallow water or sea" or "low tide") reflecting the shallow waters of the area. Alternatively, it may originate from Guanahani, a local name of unclear meaning.
The word The constitutes an integral part of the short form of the name and is, therefore, capitalized. So – in contrast to "the Congo" and "the United Kingdom" – it is proper to write "The Bahamas". The name The Bahamas is thus comparable with certain non-English names that also use the definite article, such as Las Vegas or Los Angeles. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the country's fundamental law, capitalizes the "T" in "The Bahamas".