Harbour islands history is as colorful as the homes that dot its sandy beaches. Located just 100 miles east of Florida, and about a half hour’s flight from Miami International Airport; this location is ideal for a true luxurious vacation getaway.
Since the mid 1600’s, settlers have been drawn to the Exumas and Harbour Island in particular due to its strategic location along the Atlantic shelf being on the eastern side of the Bahamas.
In 1657, Captain William Sayle came with about two dozen settlers to make the island there home. After roughly ten years, the settlement failed due to harsh conditions on the island.
It would take almost a hundred years until the islands population grew into a sizable community of a few hundred people; thus gaining recognition in the British Parliament in 1729 with 24 members; four being from Harbour Island. St. John’s Episopal was also established around this time. As the island progressed into the mid to late 18th century; piracy of ships became the norm for local economic survival on the island.
Development of the island into a mainstream town occurred during the turn of the century. In 1791, then Governor Dunmore (now the namesake of the towns capital) established the development projects of 190 lots in Dunmore Town. the later part of the 19th century brought much prosperity to the island; with arriving inhabitants growing produce and development of the shipping industry to survive.
Tourism arrived after WWII; with expansion of the islands development due to Bahamas Airway’s construction of an airport on the islet. Farming was replaced with tourism as the service industry became the new cash cow of the Bahamas.
In 1973, the Bahamas gained independence from England and continues to grow its tourist trade as the number one island for home rentals in the Bahamas. There are currently over 200 hotel rooms on the island available; although we highly recommend one reviews the private large homes available for rent with large groups.