New Providence is the most populous island in the Bahamas, containing more than 70% of the total population. It also houses the national capital city, Nassau.The island was originally under Spanish control following Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World, but the Spanish government showed little interest in developing the island (and the Bahamas as a whole). Nassau, the island's largest city, was formally known as Charlestown.
It was laid out and renamed Nassau in 1695 by Nicholas Trott, the most successful Lords Proprietor, in honour of the Prince of Orange-Nassau who became William III of Great Britain. The three branches of Bahamian Government; the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary are all headquartered on New Providence. New Providence functions as the main commercial hub of The Bahamas.
It is also home to over 400 banks and trust companies; and its hotels and port account for more than two thirds of the four million-plus tourists who visit The Bahamas annually. Other settlements on New Providence include Grants Town, Bain Town, Fox Hill, Adelaide, Yamacraw, South Beach, Coral Harbour, Lyford Cay, Paradise Island, Sea Breeze, Centreville, The Grove (South) and The Grove (West Bay), Cable Beach, Delaporte, Gambier and Love Beach.
The name New Providence Island is derived from a 16th‐century governor who gave thanks to ‘Divine Providence’ for his survival after a shipwreck. The ‘New’ was added later to distinguish it from a small island off British Honduras (now Belize) used by pirates.