Cat Island, Bahamas

District of Cat Island
Astronaut photograph of Cat Island
Astronaut photograph of Cat Island
Coat of arms of District of Cat Island
Coat of arms
Cat Island in Bahamas (zoom).svg
Coordinates: 24°25′N 75°31′W / 24°25′N 75°31′W / 24.417; -75.517
Country Bahamas
IslandBadge of Cat Island.png Cat Island
 • TypeDistrict Council
 • Chief CouncillorKevin Brown
 • Deputy Chief CouncillorAlvin Thurston
 • Island AdministratorJackson McIntosh
 • Total389 km2 (150 sq mi)
 • Total1,522
 • Density3.9/km2 (10/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Area code(s)242

Cat Island is in the central Bahamas, and is one of its districts. Cat Island also has the nation's highest point, Mount Alvernia (also known as Como Hill). It rises to 206 feet (63 m) and is topped by a monastery called The Hermitage. This assembly of buildings was erected by the Franciscan "Brother Jerome" (John Hawes).


The first European settlers were Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, who arrived in 1783. The island may have been named after Arthur Catt, a pirate, or the name may refer to its one-time large population of feral cats.[citation needed]

Historically, the island gained wealth from cotton plantations, but slash and burn farming is now the main way of life for Cat Islanders. An economic crop is Croton eluteria (called also cascarilla) bark, which is gathered and shipped to Italy where it becomes a main ingredient in medicines, scents and Campari.

Until written accounts were found, Cat Island was thought to be Guanahani or San Salvador, the first island Christopher Columbus arrived at in the Americas.