The name Bahamas is of LucayanTaino (Arawakan) derivation, although some historians believe it is from the Spanish bajamar, meaning “shallow water.” The islands occupy a position commanding the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the entire Central American region. Their strategic location has given the history of The Bahamas a unique and often striking character. It was there that Christopher Columbus made his original landfall in the Americas. The subsequent fate of the peaceful original inhabitants remains one of the more tragic episodes in the development of the entire region, while the early attempts at European-dominated settlement were marked by intense national rivalries, interspersed with long periods of lawlessness and piracy. As a result, the society and culture that has evolved in The Bahamas is a distinctive blend of European and African heritages, the latter a legacy of the slave trade and the introduction of the plantation system using African slaves.
The 2002 season was a career high for Ferguson-McKenzie: she won five gold medals, with victories at the IAAF World Cup and Grand Prix Final, and a 100 m, 200 m and relay gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Her performance in the 100 m remains a personal best and Commonwealth Games record, and her time in the 200 m was the fastest by any athlete that year. She won her only individual Olympic medal in 2004, taking bronze in the 200 m. Injury ruled her out for the whole of 2005. She failed to reach the finals at the 2007 World Championships, unable to compete with the new generation of American and Jamaican sprinters. However, she managed to reach the 100 and 200 metres finals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.