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The Bahamas is unlike other CARICOM countries. While other CARICOM countries had relatively stable plantation economies, the history of the Bahamas is one of boom and bust, capitalising on whatever opportunity presented itself, whether legal or illegal, safe or dangerous. Even today, its economy is very fragile and opportunistic. The early history is one of piracy, buccaneering and salvaging from shipwrecks. Indeed, the inhabitants were reputed to have lured ships onto the reefs so that they could claim the booty. While the salt and sponge industries provided periods of stable, steady if not generous income, it was the period of blockade-running during the American Civil war (1861-1865) that led to floods of money entering the country: supplying arms, gun powder, boots and all kinds of contrabands, and collecting cotton from Southern States to re-export to Britain.
Copyright Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies