The Bahamas

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Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Forward, Upward, Onward, Together"
Anthem: "March On, Bahamaland"
Royal anthem"God Save the Queen"
Capital
and largest city
Nassau
25°4′N 77°20′W / 25.067°N 77.333°W / 25.067; -77.333
Official languages English
Ethnic groups 85% African Bahamians
12% European Bahamians
3% Asians and Hispanic[1]
Demonym Bahamian
Government Unitary Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy.[2][3]
 -  Monarch Elizabeth II
 -  Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes
 -  Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie
Legislature Parliament
 -  Upper house Senate
 -  Lower house House of Assembly
Independence
 -  from the United Kingdom July 10, 1973[4] 
Area
 -  Total 13,878 km2 (160th)
5,358 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 28%
Population
 -  2010 estimate 353,658[5] (177th)
 -  1990 census 254,685
 -  Density 23.27/km2 (181st)
60/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $9.136 billion[6]
 -  Per capita $26,225[6]
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $7.787 billion[6]
 -  Per capita $22,352[6]
HDI (2011) Increase 0.771[7]
high · 53rd
Currency Bahamian dollar (BSD)
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 -  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Drives on the left
Calling code +1-242
Internet TLD .bs

The Bahamas (officially called Commonwealth of The Bahamas) is a group of islands in the West Indies. The country's capital, Nassau, is on New Providence Island.

The Taino were the first people living there. In 1492, Christopher Columbus found the Americas by landing on another of the islands, San Salvador. The Eleutheran Adventurers soon came along, making a home in Eleuthera.

The islands' mostly black population speaks English, the country's main language.

The Bahamas are a popular place for people to visit for holidays, the 700 islands and cays attract a large number of visitors from nearby America, as well as Europe and other countries.

History[change | edit source]

Taínos were the first people to arrive in the Bahamas. They moved into the southern Bahamas from Hispaniola and Cuba around the 11th century AD, having come there from South America. They came to be known as the Lucayan. About 30,000 Lucayan lived the Bahamas when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. Columbus' first landfall in the New World was on an island named San Salvador, which some scholars believe to be present-day San Salvador Island.

The Spanish forced much of the Lucayan population to move to Hispaniola. They were used for forced labour. This and the exposure to foreign diseases led to most of the population of the Bahamas dying.[8] Smallpox alone wiped out half of the population in what is now the Bahamas.[9]

In 1670, King Charles II rented out the islands to the Carolinas, along with rights of trading, tax, and governing the country.[10] During this time, the Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard. To restore proper government, Britain made the Bahamas a crown colony in 1718. The first governor was Woodes Rogers.[11]

After the American War of Independence, the British resettled some 7,300 Loyalists and their slaves in the Bahamas from New York, Florida, and the Carolinas. The first group of loyalists left St. Augustine in East Florida in September 1783. These Loyalists established plantations on several islands. British Americans were outnumbered by the African-American slaves they brought with them, and ethnic Europeans remained a minority in the territory.

People[change | edit source]

See also: List of Bahamian people and White Bahamian

Nearly 500,000 people live in the Bahamas. The ethnic groups of the population is:
82.1% African descent
15.4% European descent
2.5% Asian and other.

DNA estimates of The Bahamas
Ethnicity % approx.
Black African
  
70%
Mulatto
  
13.8%
White
  
12.4%
Asian
  
3.8%

Languages[change | edit source]

The official language of the Bahamas is English, but they also speak a local dialect called Bahamian Creole. The Bahamian dialect is based based on the West Country England accents along with South Hiberno English dialects with strong influences from West African languages.

Geography and climate[change | edit source]

See also: List of cities in the Bahamas

In 1864 the Governor of the Bahamas reported that there were 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 rocks in the colony.[12]

The closest island to the United States is Bimini. The southeasternmost island is Inagua. The largest island is Andros Island. Nassau, capital city of The Bahamas, is on the island of New Providence.

All the islands are low and flat. The highest point in the country is Mount Alvernia on Cat Island. It is 63 metres (207 ft) high.

Climate[change | edit source]

The climate of The Bahamas is subtropical to tropical. The Gulf Stream can be very dangerous in the summer and autumn. This is when hurricanes pass near or through the islands. Hurricane Andrew hit the northern islands during the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Floyd hit most of the islands during the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season.

There has never been a freeze reported in The Bahamas. The temperature can fall as low as 2–3 °C (35.6–37.4 °F).

Districts[change | edit source]

The Bahamas are divided into 32 districts and the town of New Providence.

The districts are:

Military[change | edit source]

The Bahamas does not have an army or an air force. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) is the navy. The Defence Force has a fleet of 26 coastal and inshore patrol craft along with 2 aircraft and over 850 personnel including 65 officers and 74 women.

References[change | edit source]

  1. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bf.html
  2. "•GENERAL SITUATION AND TRENDS". Pan American Health Organization. http://www.paho.org/english/dd/ais/cp_044.htm.
  3. "Mission to Long Island in the Bahamas". Evangelical Association of the Caribbean. http://www.caribbeanevangelical.org/newsevents/oldarticles.htm?id=82.
  4. "1973: Bahamas' sun sets on British Empire". BBC News. July 9, 1973. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/9/newsid_2498000/2498835.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
  5. COMPARISON BETWEEN THE 2000 AND 2010 POPULATION CENSUSES AND PERCENTAGE CHANGE.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "The Bahamas". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=99&pr.y=5&sy=2008&ey=2011&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=313&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  7. "Human Development Report 2011". United Nations. 2011. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Table1.pdf. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  8. Joanne E. Dumene, "Looking for Columbus", Five Hundred Magazine, April 1990, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 11–15
  9. "Schools Grapple With Columbus's Legacy: Intrepid Explorer or Ruthless Conqueror?", Education Week, 9 October 1991
  10. "Diocesan History". Anglican Communications Department. 2009. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20090210085306/http://bahamas.anglican.org/history.php. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  11. Woodard, Colin (2010). The Republic of Pirates. Harcourt, Inc. pp. 166–168, 262–314. ISBN 978-0-15-603462-3. http://www.republicofpirates.net.
  12. Albury:6

Related pages[change | edit source]

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