Diane Phillips writes that Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore (Acting) Tellis Bethel, author of The Lucayan Sea: Birthplace of the Modern Americas feels the waters of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding The Bahamas (boundaries indicated on above illustration) should be named The Lucayan Sea “to pay homage to the country’s first inhabitants and to provide an identity for the majestic waters of the archipelago, now just a part of the western Atlantic Ocean.”
When Christopher Columbus sailed through The Bahama Islands during the latter part of the 15th century, he encountered a people along the way who historians say he described in his diary as handsome, graceful, well-proportioned, gentle, generous and, most of all, peaceful.
The famed explorer was speaking, of course, about the Lucayans. As the first people ever to inhabit The Bahamas, The Lucayans were descendants of the Arawaks who lived and prospered along the shores of the country for generations before being captured as slaves shortly after Columbus’ arrival. In fact, the stretch of islands in the western Atlantic was not only called The Bahamas historically – there were references to it as the Lucayan Archipelago.
Today, the same body of water that provided life and sustenance to generations of Lucayans surrounds this archipelago. But if the eye-opening insights of Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commander (Acting) Tellis Bethel has anything to do with it, this body of water seeped in history could soon be named The Lucayan Sea.
“The name Atlas, derived from Greek mythology, was applied to the vast ocean between Africa and the Americas and became the Atlantic Ocean, and is not Bahamian at all,” said Capt. Bethel, Nassau native and author of The Lucayan Sea: Birthplace of the Modern Americas. “So why not give the waters immediately surrounding our islands a name that embodies our history, reclaims our heritage, and honours the people who first inhabited our islands? The Lucayan Sea is a perfect fit.”
A Change.org petition calling for the name has garnered nearly 500 signatures so far and is gaining more ground on social media every day. “If the Caribbean Sea is named after the Carib Indians, it makes sense to name the waters of The Bahamas after the Lucayans,” Capt. Bethel said. Those are among the 21 reasons Bethel cites in support of naming the country’s world-renowned turquoise waters. Most importantly, however, he emphasizes the name would call attention to The Bahamas and its contribution to the world’s history as the birthplace of the modern Americas.
“The name ‘Lucayan Sea’ provides us with a historic mouthpiece through which we can tell our story,” Capt. Bethel said. “Perhaps this is why there is an underwater canyon in the midst of The Bahamas called the ‘Tongue of the Ocean.’ The purpose of this tongue is to tell our story. Let’s tell our story.”
Commodore Tellis Bethel was born in Nassau, Bahamas. He currently serves in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and is author of the book The Lucayan Sea: Birthplace of the Modern Americas. To sign the petition to name this part of the western Atlantic Ocean, the Lucayan Sea, please visit www.change.org/t/lucayan-sea-en-us
For original article, see http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/local/RBDF_Commodore_Acting_and_Author_Encourages_Naming_Waters_in_the_Western_Atlantic_Ocean_the_Lucayan_Sea_after_The_Bahamas_First_Inhabitants49628.shtml