Blockade Running from Nassau

From 1861-65, writes Richard Drysdale, during the American Civil War, Nassau in the Bahamas thrived on trade with the Confederacy.

In 1861 the Bahamas was all but a forgotten colony. Its 7,000 or so inhabitants, most of whom lived in Nassau, had a precarious livelihood as there was little economic enterprise that could provide more than a basic standard of living. Various forms of enterprise had been tried and had usually collapsed. Piracy and privateering were of the past.

Poor soils had hindered the development of large-scale commercial agriculture, and sugar and tobacco could be more easily and more profitably grown elsewhere. Cotton had done well at first, only to fall victim to the Chenille bug. Sustained economic growth seemed an impossibility and poverty was widespread.

T.E. Taylor, who was to become one of the most renowned blockade-runners out of Nassau during the American Civil War, accurately placed the Bahamas in perspective when he wrote:

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