Scottish-Bahamian heritage, survives in The Bahamas today, through many historical surnames, as well as, a tartan print, officially recognised by the Bahamas Government in 1966. Scotland, remains an important historical part to rich Bahama Island history, which is well worth recognising in the modern day, as it traces Scottish-Bahamian roots, historical attitudes and influences, as much as, English and African heritages. Surnames such as Thompson, Sands, Forsythe, Munroe, Johnston, Russell, Christie, Roberts, Kelly, MacKinney, Saunders, Malcolm, Crawford, MacPherson, Clark and Rae are all of Scottish origin.
The Bahamas Is Not One Thing; It Is Many Things
There is a rich tapestry to life in The Bahamas and what it means to be Bahamian. History books have tried to create a type of one dimensional influence, but in truth, Bahamian historical heritage has been moulded and shaped by a number strong cultural influences. It is this rich tapestry which may be used to form to avenues for research, recognition and revenue streams for Bahamians of the future. The Bahamas is not one thing; it is many things.
For over 200 years, an extraordinary mix of cultures, existed alongside each other, in the islands. Each exchanging and borrowing from the other – language, food, traditions and attitudes – emerging into the Bahamian society and sensibilities we see today.
The Straw Market, with its strong African historical roots and the Scottish Shop preserving Scottish heritage in the islands, sat alongside each other on the once main business thoroughfare of Bay Street. The long historical ties which have bound them together are barely regarded in modern Bahamian sensibilities. But they are nevertheless important and strong.
1967 – Bahamian dialect, reflects a hodgepodge mix of many influences, even an Alpine yodel.
The Plaid Room (designed to celebrate Scottish-Bahamas history) at the opening of the Jack Tar Hotel, Grand Bahama, February 1960. Bahamas Governor Sir Raynor Arthur (middle) at Governor’s Luncheon at formal opening of hotel.
Tartan of The Bahamas 1966
“Designed by Gordon Rees of the Scottish Shop in Nassau, now owned by Colin and Beverley Honnes. It was intended to commemorate the early Scottish settlers in the Bahamas including Thompson, Sands, Forsythe, Munroe, Johnston, Russell, Christie, Roberts, Kelly, MacKinney, Saunders, Malcolm, Crawford, MacPherson, Clark and Rae. The tartan was formally approved by the Bahamas Government in 1966.”