In July 1703, during the War of the Spanish Succession, French and Spanish troops attacked the British territory of New Providence, and ultimately burnt it to the ground. By 1706, no one ruled over Nassau.
In the aftermath of the war, thousands of sailors were left without work. Many of them stayed in the Caribbean, where they had been stationed at the end of the conflict, while others headed towards Central America from Europe. Most of these seamen sought to take advantage of the ungoverned territory.