Eleuthera, sometimes spelled Eleuthra, is an island in The Bahamas, lying 50 miles (80 km) east of Nassau. It is very long and thin—110 miles (180 km) long and in places little more than a mile wide. According to the 2000 Census, the population of Eleuthera is approximately 8,000. The name "Eleuthera" is derived from the feminine form of the Greek word ελεύθερος (eleutheros), "free".
The topography of the island varies from wide rolling pink sand beaches to large outcrops of ancient coral reefs. The eastern side of the island faces the Atlantic Ocean while the western side faces the Great Bahama Bank, one of the two Bahama Banks. The original population of Taino, or Arawaks, was mostly deported by the Spanish to work in the mines of Hispaniola, where they died out by 1550.
The island is believed to have been unoccupied until the first European settlers—puritan pilgrims—arrived in 1648 from Bermuda. These settlers, known as the "Eleutherian Adventurers", gave the island its current name—eleutheria means "freedom" in Greek, while Ἐλευθερά eleuthera means "free". Some people think that Christopher Columbus may have come to Eleuthera before visiting islands in the West Indies.