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On 12 October 1492 Columbus reached an island in the Bahamas and claimed it for Spain, an event long regarded by Europeans as the 'discovery' of America.
Despite the arrival of additional settlers, including Europeans, slaves and former African slaves from Bermuda and the receipt of relief supplies from Virginia and New England, the Eleuthera colony struggled for many years, hampered by poor soil, fighting between settlers, and conflict with the Spanish.
When the Spanish decided to remove the remaining Lucayans to Hispaniola in 1520, they could find only eleven.
The islands remained abandoned and depopulated for 130 years afterwards.
The earliest permanent European settlement was in 1648 on Eleuthera.
During the 18th century slave trade, many Africans were brought to the Bahamas as slaves to work for free.
Sometime between 500 and 800 AD, Taínos began crossing in dugout canoes from Hispaniola and/or Cuba to the Bahamas.