We have a peculiar historical mystery here. Who changed Woodes Rogers’s historic words, originally inscribed on the great seal of the Bahamas? Someone did obviously.

In 1940, when the Duke of Windsor landed to take up his new post as Governor, he used the great, then 222 year old, seal of executive office which read

“Destroy the pirates, restore commerce.”

But popular Bahamian history has always said that the motto was

“Pirates expelled. Commerce restored.”

If the great seal, minted in 1718, truly read Destroy pirates, maybe someone decided that in modern times, ‘destroy’ was just too strong a word for an official national motto.

(The Pennsylvania News, Thursday Evening, July 18, 1940)