Nassau <<NAS aw>> is the capital and largest city of the Bahamas. The city borders an excellent harbor on the northeast coast of New Providence Island. Nassau’s warm, sunny climate has made it a major tourist center.
Many of Nassau’s people work in tourism. But the city has few manufacturing industries and unemployment is high. Some Nassau residents live in charming, pastel-colored houses. In the older, poorer neighborhoods, people live in run-down houses, some of which have no running water.
English sailors founded Charles Towne at Nassau’s present site in the 1660′s. The settlement was renamed Nassau in 1695. During the late 1600′s, pirates used Nassau as a base for attacking Spanish ships sailing from Cuba or Mexico. The Bahamas then became a British colony with Nassau as the capital. Nassau prospered during the American Civil War (1861-1865), when ships carried goods from the city to the Confederate States. It also prospered during the Prohibition Era in the United States (1920–1933). During Prohibition, Nassau was a distribution center for the illegal shipment of alcoholic beverages to the United States. Tourism has been Nassau’s main industry since 1929.