1904: The first car arrives in Nassau – a 4 hp. 1902 model Oldsmobile, the first mass-produced U.S. car, owned by U.S. Vice-Consul Henry Mostyn.
1906: The first telephone system is installed. There were 150 subscribers, 147 of which were businesses located around central Bay Street.
1908: The Royal Bank of Canada opens its first branch on Bay Street, marking the coming of foreign financial centers to The Bahamas, a trend which has grown into a most significant local industry.
1909: Electricity becomes available in The Bahamas when a gas generator is installed which produced a weak current. By 1916, there were still only 443 subscribers and 276 streetlights. Electric current to private homes was cut off at 1 am.
1911: The first movie is shown in Nassau. By 1913, two motion picture theatres were in business – the Royal and Imperial Theatres. The first twin cinemas, located on Blue Hill Road, would not open until 1976.
1913: Ice begins to be produced locally. Before then, it was imported from Maine during the winter and stored in an ice-house.
1919: Prohibition in the U.S. creates an economic boom in The Bahamas via rum running.
1935: The first Labor Union is formed.
1938: The sponge blight: A mysterious fungus sweeps sponge beds, bringing on a sudden drop in economy. After much hardship, what was once a very lucrative local industry eventually died.
1940: The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VII of England, arrives in Nassau to preside as Governor of The Bahamas.
1942: Construction of the Nassau International Airport begins, during which riots erupt over wages. Following the "Burma Road Riot", the Duke of Windsor organized ‘the Contract’ which allowed for up to 5,000 Bahamians to obtain work (mostly on farms) in the U.S. from 1943-1963.
1943: Sir Harry Oakes is mysteriously murdered; Mike Mckinney is the first Bahamian to die in action during WWII.
1949: The Hotels Encouragement Act is passed, designed to give a boost to the tourism industry.
1952: The People’s Penny Savings Bank, the first formal black-owned bank, opens in Grant’s Town. The dream of founder Leon Mckinney, the bank’s purpose was to allow any man, woman and child to take a step towards self-sufficiency by being able to open an account with 1 cent. The bank was eventually liquidated in the 1980’s.
1955: The Hawksbill Creek Agreement is signed, allowing American Wallace Groves to build Freeport.
1957: Nassau International Airport opens. One hundred protesting taxi drivers block access to the new airport for 24 hours.
1958: In support of 1957’s protests, a 16-day General Strike brings Nassau to a screeching halt. Unionized or not, just about every worker participated, and the strike was quite peaceful. The result was the Trade Union and Industrial Conciliation Act and the setting up of a Labor Department.
1959: The Bahamas National Trust is created with the aim of protecting the Bahamian environment.
1961: Women are granted the right to vote. They would first exercise that right during the General Election in November of 1962.
1965: A cruise ship, the Yarmouth Castle, sinks off Bahamian shores following a fire.
1966: Nassau harbor is dredged to create Arawak Cay.
1967: Majority rule comes into effect with the change of government; The first Paradise Island bridge opens.
1970: The U.S. dumps lethal nerve gas off Abaco shores in 6 miles of water.
1973: The Bahamas becomes an independent nation (143rd member of the United Nations); Bahamasair’s first plane arrives in Nassau, providing domestic service.
1974: The College of The Bahamas and National Insurance are established.
1977: Television 13 (ZNS) is officially commissioned.
1980: The Bahamas Defense Force arrests two Cuban fishing boats in Bahamian waters. While towing the Cuban boats to port, the BDF vessels are attacked by Cuban MIG Fighters who destroy the HMBS Flamingo and kill four Bahamian marines.
1981: The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) stage an unprecedented 3-week strike for improved pay and conditions.
1983: An archeological dig at Long Bay Site in San Salvador uncovers green and yellow glass beads pointing to Columbus’ first landing. International debate erupts over this theory.
1989: Cable television comes to The Bahamas on Grand Bahama. In 1995, a more elaborate cable system, which would cover most of the islands, is activated.
1992: The FNM wins the General Election and becomes only the second governing administration since 1967.
1993: For the first time, three private radio stations are granted licenses: 100 Jamz, LOVE 97 and another in Freeport.
1998: A second bridge connecting Paradise Island to New Providence opens, coinciding with a major downtown traffic reversal and the grand opening of Sun International’s Atlantis resort.
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