[ Long Island ] • Columbus Landing

Before the arrival of the Europeans, The Islands of The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands were inhabited by a peaceful and beautiful people called The Lucayans. The aboriginal people of The Bahamas spoke Arawak and the Arawakan name for what is now Long Island was Yuma.

October 12th, 1492 heralded the beginning of the end for the Native Americans who called these islands their home. Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the New World in what is now The Bahamas on that date on the island of Guanahani. There he met the first Lucayans and renamed the island San Salvador and claimed it in the name of the Spanish crown.


Continuing his voyage in the New World, he went on to make landfall in several other Bahamian islands. The third stop in the New World and in The Bahamas was on the island of Yuma on October 17th, 1492. He renamed it Ferdinandia, though it is now called Long Island.

Christopher Columbus & the Europeans’ arrival in the New World proved to be detrimental for the Native Americans of these lands. Ultimately, the Lucayan people were completely decimated. The Lucayans were removed from all the islands. Their population numbered at about 40,000 when Columbus arrived in 1492. Less than 30 years later, in 1520 the last remaining 11 Lucayans in The Bahamas were removed.

When Columbus landed on Long Island, it is said that he ascended to the highest hill on the island and said that it was the most beautiful island that he had ever seen. Climbing the hill for myself, it’s hard to not see why he said it if he did.


All the way in the Northernmost portion of Long Island is Columbus Landing. Get to it is relatively easy. There’s one road in Long Island that runs from the north in Seymour’s to the south in Gordons. When down in the north, continuing north, when the road begins to curve to the east to head towards Newton’s Cay Beach, there will be a dirt road on the left. You want to take that dirt road.

Tips:

  1. Go in a SUV or truck. The road is unpaved and at times, very rocky. If you don’t go in a sedan or something low, you’ll have to walk the trail.
  2. In any event, be prepared to hike. The trail is about 3 miles long and the hill is very steep.
  3. Wear sneakers or shoes that candle walking a lot of rocks.
  4. Be sure that your camera, phone and/or drone are all charged. The view is breath-taking.

At the end of the rocky trail lies the hill rising more than 100 feet high. Its ascent is steep, but there is a path with chains on either side that you can hold onto while climbing.


At the time of Columbus’ arrival to the new world, Long Island was believed to be one of the more populated islands in The Bahamas. On top of the hill lies a monument in the shape of a pyramid with a globe and cross at the top of it built by the people of Long Island in 1989. The monument was built and erected in honour of the Lucayan People and Christopher’s Columbus’ arrival. On it, a plaque reads:

This monument is dedicated to the gentle peaceful and happy aboriginal people of Long Island the Lucayans and to the arrival of Christopher Columbus on Oct. 17th, 1492.

The high point offers amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, nearby Gaillot Cay and also of Newton’s Cay. When you’re planning on visit, try to time it with low-tide, as that’s when you’ll have the best views and it’s definitely worth the hike.