Michael Lerner and
Before discovery of the New World, the Lucayan Indians inhabited what is now known as the Bahamas. The Lucayan named one group of islands, Bimini, and it is one of the few islands that retained is original name after the Spanish sailed across the Atlantic.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the New World on the island of San Salvador in the eastern Bahamas. After he observed the shallow seas surrounding the islands, he referred to it as "baja mar" (which means "low water or sea"), thus the area was named The Bahamas, or "The Islands of the Shallow Sea."
Bimini's first settlers were freed slaves from New Providence, who had gone in search of opportunities on the other islands of the Bahamas. Many of the current natives are direct descendants of these original settlers.
In the 1920's, Bahamian rum runner Bruce Bethel purchased a World War I concrete Liberty ship, the SAPONA. Bethel brought the ship to Bimini and used it as a warehouse for liquor. The Sapona and Bimini served as a base of operations for rumrunners from Nassau during prohibition. His plans also included using it as a nightclub, but that never materialized. The Sapona was run aground in 1926, and broken in two by the great storm of that same year. During World War II, US Navy pilots used the ship for target practice.
Since the early 1920s, Bimini has developed into a famed destination for adventurers, travelers, and smugglers from around the world . And when Pulitzer prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway found his way here in 1935, Bimini began to develop its own tropical vacation allure. Hemingway was so enthralled with Bimini, he used it as the inspiration for his classics "The Old Man & the Sea" and "Islands in the Stream".
Referred to by many as the Big Game Fishing Capital of the World, the waters of Bimini have since been made world famous by anglers and divers. The Lost City of Atlantis and the Fountain of Youth are other legends that are believed by many to be found in Bimini as well.
For more about Bimini's History, visit the Bimini Museum
on North Bimini, and purchase Ashley B. Saunders' books, "History of Bimini" - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (New World Press P.O. Box 652 Bimini, Bahamas)