Old ruins and other archaeological sites occur in many
places on San Salvador Island. A spectacular and easily accessible locality
is “Watling’s Castle”. This site consists of the ruins of a late 1700s to
early 1800s building called the Sandy Point plantation manor house.
It was constructed during the Loyalist Era (Plantation Era), during which
people loyal to Britain left America after its independence in the 1770s and
headed to the Bahamas. Several islands were subdivided into estates and
the land was used for moderately intense agricultural purposes.
Despite the name, “Watling’s Castle” was not
built by anyone named Watling, and no one named Watling ever lived
San Salvador Island was called “Triangulo” or
“Watling’s Island” on historic maps from the 1600s to the 1800s. It was
called “Guanahani” by the original Awarak Indians (Lucayan Indians).
Historical research has shown that this island was the one sighted by
Christopher Columbus’ ship at 2 AM, 12 October 1492 (it wasn’t Rum Cay
that Columbus first landed on - that’s demonstrable). Columbus called the
island San Salvador. That is the current, “official” name. The name
“Watling’s Island” is in reference to John Watling, a Caribbean-area &
South American-area pirate in the late 1600s. He lived long before
this structure was built and used.
“Watling’s Castle” (looking ~E) - Sandy Point
plantation manor house. This building is constructed of blocks of local
Pleistocene calcarenite limestone. The
original quarry from which the rock is derived is just west of here.