Nassau (năˈsô) [key], city (1990 pop. 172,196), capital of the Bahamas. A port on New Providence island, it has a large and beautiful harbor and is the commercial and social center of the islands. Its warm, healthful climate and colorful atmosphere have made it a popular resort. Formerly called Charles Towne, it was renamed Nassau in 1695. In the 18th cent. it was a rendezvous for pirates, among them Blackbeard. Three forts, Nassau (1697), Charlotte (1787–94), and Fincastle (1793), were built to ward off the numerous Spanish invasions. American revolutionists in 1776 captured and held it a short time.