Freeport, Bahamas

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City of Freeport
Lucayan Harbor JonWorth.jpg
Nickname(s): The Industrial Capital
The Second City
City of Freeport is located in Bahamas
City of Freeport
City of Freeport
Coordinates: 26°31′42.5″N 78°41′47.7″W / 26.528472°N 78.696583°W / 26.528472; -78.696583Coordinates: 26°31′42.5″N 78°41′47.7″W / 26.528472°N 78.696583°W / 26.528472; -78.696583
Country The Bahamas Bahamas
Island Crest of Grand Bahama.gif Grand Bahama
District Freeport
Established 1955
Government
 • Type District Council
 • Chief Councillor Antia Doherty
 • Deputy Chief Councillor April Crother-Gow
Area
 • City 558 km2 (215 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Population (2000)
 • City 26,910
 • Density 48/km2 (125/sq mi)
 • Metro 55,500
Time zone Eastern Time Zone (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 242
IATA airport code FPO
ICAO airport code MYGF
Website http://gbpa.com/home/
Flag of the Bahamas.svg

Freeport is a city, district and free trade zone on the island of Grand Bahama of the northwest Bahamas. In 1955, Wallace Groves, a Virginian financier with lumber interests in Grand Bahama, was granted 50,000 acres (or 202 km2) of pineyard with substantial areas of swamp and scrubland by the Bahamian government with a mandate to economically develop the area. Freeport has grown to become the second most populous city in the Bahamas.The main airport serving the city is the Grand Bahama International Airport. The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) operates the free trade zone, under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement signed in August 1955 whereby the Bahamian government agreed that businesses in the Freeport area would pay no taxes before 1980, later extended to 2054.[1] The area of the land grants has been increased to 138,000 acres (or 526 km2).[2]

History[edit]

Freeport is a 230-square-mile (600 km2) free trade zone on Grand Bahama Island, established in 1955 by the government of The Bahamas. The city of Freeport emerged from a land grant comprising 50,000 acres (200 km2) of swamp and scrub to become a cosmopolitan centre. The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) operates the free trade zone, under special powers conferred by the government under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement,[3] which was recently extended until August 3, 2054. The agreement also increased the land grants to 138,000 acres (560 km2).

Geography[edit]

Freeport is strategically located just 65 miles (105 km) off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida, and on the major EW–NS shipping routes. This has positioned it for tremendous growth as an ideal centre for international business. Consequently, a growing number of international companies use Freeport for a business site.

National parks[edit]

The Rand Nature Centre, named after its founder James Rand, Petersons Cay a small isle about 300 yards off the shore of Grand Bahama and the Lucayan National Park founded by Peter Barratt a former architect and town planner of Freeport. The Lucayan National Park is 40 acres (0.16 km2) in extent and includes five ecological zones stretching from the south shore to the pineyard.[4] There is an extensive underwater cave system beneath the park. One cave entrance is accessible by stairs at the national park. Other caves are accessible for certified scuba s.

Climate[edit]

Freeport features a tropical climate, more specifically a tropical monsoon climate, with mild winters and hot, humid summers. Seldom do temperatures drop below 60 °F (16 °C). Average temperatures range in the low to upper 80s, with water temperature varying between 72° and 78°F. The winters are usually mild (mid-60s to 70s) and dry (with the exception of some rainfall due to cold fronts), while the summers are usually hot and wet. Although a freeze has never been reported in the Bahamas, snow was reported to have mixed with rain in Freeport in January 1977, the same time that it snowed in the Miami area. The temperature was about 4.5 °C (40.1 °F) at the time.[5]

Climate data for Freeport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 23
(74)
23
(74)
25
(77)
27
(80)
28
(83)
30
(86)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(87)
29
(84)
27
(80)
24
(76)
27.4
(81.4)
Average low °C (°F) 18
(64)
18
(64)
19
(66)
21
(69)
23
(73)
25
(77)
26
(79)
26
(78)
25
(77)
23
(73)
21
(69)
18
(65)
21.9
(71.2)
Precipitation mm (inches) 58
(2.3)
58
(2.3)
66
(2.6)
53
(2.1)
142
(5.6)
165
(6.5)
142
(5.6)
206
(8.1)
251
(9.9)
170
(6.7)
86
(3.4)
80
(3)
1,477
(58.1)
Source: Weatherbase [6]

Economy[edit]

Tourism, which topped over a million visitors a year, has considerably diminished since 2004, when two major hurricanes, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne, hit the island. Several cruise ships stop weekly at the island. Much of the tourist industry is centered on the seaside suburb of Lucaya, owing its name to the pre-Columbian Lucayan inhabitants of the island evidence of whom has been found on the island. Freeport features at least two Junkanoo festivals near New Year's.

The city is often promoted as Freeport/Lucaya. Most hotels on the island are located along the southern shore facing the Northwest Providence Channel. Primary shopping venues for tourists include the International Bazaar near downtown Freeport and the Port Lucaya Market Place in Lucaya. Recovery from two hurricanes has taken several years, but is now nearing full recovery.

Notable natives and residents[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blount, Steve. "Freeport, Bahamas". USA Today. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Freeport Grand Bahama". Government of the Bahamas. 
  3. ^ "The History of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island". Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "The National Parks of The Bahamas". Bnt.bs. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  5. ^ ^ Walker, N. D., Roberts, H. H., Rouse, L. J. and Huh, O. K. (1981, November 5). Thermal History of Reef-Associated Environments During A Record Cold-Air Outbreak Event. Coral Reefs (1982) 1:83–87
  6. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Freeport, The Bahamas". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 24, 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barratt, Peter. Grand Bahama. IM Publishing, Freeport, 2002 (3rd edition) ISBN 0-9717351-0-7

External links[edit]