Grand Bahama is the most northerly island in The Bahamas. Ignored during early times because of its shallow waters and the treacherous Little Bahama Bank, Grand Bahama is now the second most populous island in The Bahamas and its major city, Freeport, is regarded as the nation’s second city. Grand Bahama is believed to have been originally settled by the Siboney Arawaks, followed by the Lucayan Arawaks, who called the island Bahama. Later it became known as Grand Bahama.
Freeport, which was a pine forest just over three decades ago, but is now a thriving port city, industrial centre and tourist area, is the brainchild of American financier the late Wallace Groves. His Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited was granted 50,000 acres of land with an option of a further 50,000 by the Government of The Bahamas to build a free port and industrial centre under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement of 1955. It has surpassed West End, which was known for its involvement as a transshipment centre for liquor during the prohibition years and is perhaps the first permanent settlement on Grand Bahama.
Other settlements include High Rock, Eight Mile Rock, Hawksbill Creek, Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Hunter’s, Pelican Point, McClean Town and Sweetings Cay. Places to visit in Freeportare the Mall, the Rand Nature Centre, Garden of the Groves, the Grand Bahama Museum, the Lucayan National Park and the Grand Lucayan Waterway.