Great Stirrup Cay is uninhabited except for cruising day trippers. But that was not always true. The first residents were the Lucayans dating back to 600 AD. These Indians lived and farmed throughout the Caribbean. Their name means “people of the islands.” Most of them were removed and enslaved by the Spanish during the 1500s. From the mid-17th century until 1730, the island was a hideout for seagoing bandits during the Golden Age of Piracy. Beginning in 1815, it became a settlement for British slave traders and a couple of plantations. During the American Civil War, the Confederates and Unionists engaged in several sea battles here. At this same time, the existing lighthouse was built in 1863. During WWII, this was an American base. They used underwater cables to detect German subs. From about 1940 until 1991, the U.S. Air Force used Berry Islands as a tracking station. In 1986, the Belcher Oil Company sold the 268 acres to the Norwegian Caribbean Line (the original name for NCL).