Exuma is a district of the Bahamas, consisting of over 360 islands (or cays). The largest of the cays is Great Exuma, which is 37 mi (60 km) in length and joined to another island, Little Exuma by a small bridge. The capital and largest city in the district is George Town (permanent population 1,000), founded 1793 and located on Great Exuma.TheTropic of Cancer runs across a beach close to the city.The entire island chain is 130 mi (209 km) long and 27 sq. mi (72 km²) in area.
Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Exuma more than doubled, reflecting the construction of large and small resort properties and the related increased direct airlift to Great Exuma from locations as distant asToronto,Canada.
Exuma was settled in or around 1783 by American loyalists fleeing the Revolutionary War. The expatriates brought a cotto plantation economy to the islands. George Townwas named in honor of George III, to whom the settlers maintained their loyalty. A few smaller Cays still remain grandfathered as partially or wholly private, (still referred to as part of the Exuma-Bahamas Cays). Located by three digit suffix number (ex. Exuma xxx) Most noted Exuma 642, and 643 which in recent years, receding shorelines have shortened the lifespan of these particular adjoined cays.
John Rolle, 1st Baron Rolle (d.1842), a major Loyalist settler of the Exumas, is a major figure in the islands’ heritage. Upon his death in 1842, he bestowed all of his significant Exuma land holdings to his slaves. As a result, a number of towns on Great Exuma have been named after him (such as Rolleville and Rolletown).
The islands are a popular spot for yachting, sailing, diving, and coral reef and cave exploring. Many of the unnamed beaches and coves of the islands, including extensive offshore reef areas, are included in the protected Exuma National Land and Sea Park of the Bahamas National Trust. Some of the islands on which there are permanent residents and resorts include Staniel Cay (home of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, a fixture in the Exumas), Fowl Cay, Musha Cay and Iguana Cay. Thunderball Grotto, located just a few hundred yards off Staniel Cay, is one location where the James Bond film Thunderball was filmed. Sandy Cay, just a short boat ride from Little Exuma was the location used for filming the Pirates of the Caribbean beach scenes and one Shell commercial. The novel Wind from the Carolinas was set in Great Exuma.
The Exumas are the historic home of the Lucayan Natives, who were wholly enslaved in the 16th century, leaving the islands uninhabited until the 18th century. In the intervening period, the Exumas provided many hideouts and stashes for pirates.ElizabethHarborwas a favorite lair of Captain Kidd.