“Tucked away at the end of a long pathway lined with souvenir vendors and guarded by massive limestone walls is the impressive Queen’s Staircase, which not only serves as an access to Fort Fincastle and the adjacent Water Tower, but also as a reminder of New Providence’s slave history.
Towards the end of the 18th Century, New Providence was a target for French and Spanish marauders who sought control of the Caribbean islands, including The Bahamas.
Fearing an invasion, the British, who had already colonized the country, built fortifications throughout New Providence and Hog Island (now Paradise Island).
Three prominent forts remain – Fort Charlotte, Fort Montagu and Fort Fincastle.
Because of Fort Fincastle’s strategic position on top of a high hill, a quick access route from the town of Nassau was needed to reach the fort in case of an attack. As a result, an escape route had to be created through solid limestone.
According to historians, the task took a total of 16 years to complete, as approximately 600 slaves used pickaxes to cut through the limestone, creating a tunnel to the fort, and a stairway in the process.
It wasn’t until decades later that the stairs were named the Queen’s Staircase in honour of Queen Victoria who had signed a declaration to abolish slavery on her ascension to the throne in 1837.
The 102-foot staircase was modified to include 64 steps, each representing a year of Queen Victoria’s reign, however, two more steps were added for practical purposes to access the top of the hill.
The bottom step of the staircase, though, was buried after the development of a paved pathway which leads to the staircase, leaving a total of 65 steps.
“Photo source:- vintagebahamas.comInformation source:- Ms. Rodgers’ History BGCSE students Facebook page 𝘃𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗯𝗮𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗮𝘀.𝗰𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝟭𝟬𝟬% 𝗕𝗮𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗼𝘄𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲