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Race and Class in the Colonial Bahamas, 1880-1960$
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Gail Saunders

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062549

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062549.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Race and Class in the Colonial Bahamas, 1880-1960

Gail Saunders

University Press of Florida

The introductory chapter examines race and class divisions in the Bahamas on the basis of geography and demographics. The population of the Bahamas archipelago is spread over twenty-one islands, with twenty-five percent of it located in New Providence where Nassau, the capital, is situated. New Providence’s geographical features helped to create internal divisions and insular variations as well as racial and class divisions among people. The author defines the different racial segments of the population (white, brown, and black), noting the existence of pervasive segregation in Nassau and the Out Islands (the islands outside of New Providence), where the majority of the population lived in the 1880s. Bahamian society at emancipation and well into the twentieth century was dominated by the white elite, who controlled the political, social, and economic life of the colony. Racial discrimination and segregation were rife.

Keywords:   population, white, brown, black, New Providence, Nassau, Out Islands, segregation, white elite, discrimination

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