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San Salvador Island

From Academic Kids

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Map of Bahamas

San Salvador Island, also known as Watling Island, is an island and district of the Bahamas. Until 1986, when the National Geographic Society suggested Samana Cay, it was widely believed that during his first expedition to the New World, San Salvador was the first land sighted by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492.

The British gained control of what are now The Bahamas in the early 1700s. For some time, San Salvador was the home of the buccaneer George Watling, who gave the island its alternative name by which it was officially known until 1925. At that time, the name "San Salvador" was transferred from another place, now called Cat Island, and given to Watling Island under the belief that is seemed a much more likely match for Columbus's description of Guanahani.

Today, thanks to its many sandy beaches, the island's prosperous main industry is tourism. About 1,000 people reside on San Salvador Island and its principal community is Cockburn Town, the seat of local government and home of a public teacher's college.

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