A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Motto: "Forward, Upward, Onward, Together"
Anthem: "March On, Bahamaland"
and largest city
| Nassau |
|Vernacular language||Bahamian Creole|
| Ethnic groups |
|92.7% African |
|Government|| Unitary parliamentary |
|Cornelius A. Smith|
|House of Assembly|
• from the United Kingdom
|10 July 1973|
|13,878 km2 (5,358 sq mi)(155th)|
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2010 census
|25.21/km2 (65.3/sq mi)(181st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|$12.612 billion (148th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|$12.803 billion (130th)|
• Per capita
very high · 54th
|Currency|| Bahamian dollar (BSD)|
(US dollars widely accepted)
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
• Summer (DST)
|Calling code||+1 242|
|ISO 3166 code||BS|
The Bahamas ( // (
The Lucayan Archipelago, also known as the Bahama Archipelago, is an island group comprising the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The archipelago is in the western North Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba along with the other Antilles, and east and southeast of Florida.
An archipelagic state is a designation used for certain island countries that consist of an archipelago. The designation is legally defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines.
The Bahamas were inhabited by the Lucayans, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taíno people, for many centuries.Columbus was the first European to see the islands, making his first landfall in the 'New World' in 1492. Although the Spanish never colonised the Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery on Hispaniola. The islands were mostly deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.
The Lucayanpeople were the original inhabitants of the Bahamas before the arrival of European colonizers. They were a branch of the Taínos who inhabited most of the Caribbean islands at the time. The Lucayans were the first inhabitants of the Americas encountered by Christopher Columbus. The Spanish started seizing Lucayans as slaves within a few years of Columbus's arrival, and they had all been removed from the Bahamas by 1520.
Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonist who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. He led the first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, initiating the permanent European colonization of the Americas. Columbus discovered a viable sailing route to the Americas, a continent that was then unknown to the Old World. While what he thought he had discovered was a route to the Far East, he is credited with the opening of the Americas for conquest and settlement by Europeans.
The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania.
The Bahamas became a British crown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American Revolutionary War, the Crown resettled thousands of American Loyalists in the Bahamas; they brought their slaves with them and established plantations on land grants. African slaves and their descendants constituted the majority of the population from this period on. The slave trade was abolished by the British in 1807; slavery in the Bahamas was abolished in 1834. Subsequently, the Bahamas became a haven for freed African slaves; the Royal Navy resettled there the Africans liberated from illegal slave ships, North American slaves and Seminoles escaped here from Florida, and the government-freed slaves carried on US domestic ships that had reached the Bahamas due to adverse weather conditions. Today Afro-Bahamians make up 90% of the population of 332,600.
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with Ireland and after the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.
Crown colony, dependent territory or royal colony were dependent territories under the administration of United Kingdom overseas territories that were controlled by the British Government. As such they are examples of dependencies that are under colonial rule. Crown colonies were renamed "British Dependent Territories" in 1981 with the exception of Hong Kong, which remained a Crown colony. Since 2002, Crown colonies have been known officially as British Overseas Territories.
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates. The earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. Narrow channels which funnel shipping into predictable routes have long created opportunities for piracy, as well as for privateering and commerce raiding. Historic examples include the waters of Gibraltar, the Strait of Malacca, Madagascar, the Gulf of Aden, and the English Channel, whose geographic structures facilitated pirate attacks. A land-based parallel is the ambushing of travelers by bandits and brigands in highways and mountain passes. Privateering uses similar methods to piracy, but the captain acts under orders of the state authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation, making it a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors.
The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973 with Elizabeth II as its queen.In terms of gross domestic product per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada), with an economy based on tourism and finance.
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in which Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning constitutional monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent co-equal kingdom from the other realms. As of 2019, there are 16 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom. All 16 Commonwealth realms are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states. Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth.
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period, often annually. GDP (nominal) per capita does not, however, reflect differences in the cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries; therefore using a basis of GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) is arguably more useful when comparing differences in living standards between nations.
The name Bahamas is most likely derived from either the Taíno ba ha ma ("big upper middle land"), which was a term for the region used by the indigenous Native Americans,or possibly from the Spanish baja mar ("shallow water or sea" or "low tide") reflecting the shallow waters of the area. Alternatively, it may originate from Guanahani , a local name of unclear meaning.
Taíno is a poorly-attested Arawakan language that was spoken by the Taíno people of the Caribbean. At the time of Spanish contact, it was the principal language throughout the Caribbean. Classic Taíno was the native language of the northern Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and most of Hispaniola, and it was expanding into Cuba. Ciboney is essentially unattested, but colonial sources suggest that it was a similar language to the Taíno language and was spoken in westernmost Hispaniola, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and most of Cuba.
Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in Spain and the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
Guanahani is an island in the Bahamas that was the first land in the New World sighted and visited by Christopher Columbus' first voyage, on October 12, 1492. It is not known precisely which island it was, and several theories have been put forth by historians. Guanahani is the native Taíno name; Columbus called it San Salvador.
The word The constitutes an integral part of the short form of the name and is, therefore, capitalised. So in contrast to "the Congo" and "the United Kingdom", it is proper to write "The Bahamas." The name The Bahamas is thus comparable with certain non-English names that also use the definite article, such as Las Vegas or Los Angeles. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the country's fundamental law, capitalizes the "T" in "The Bahamas."
The first inhabitants of the Bahamas were the Taino people, who moved into the uninhabited southern islands from Hispaniola and Cuba around the 800s-1000s AD, having migrated there from South America; they came to be known as the Lucayan people. [ citation needed ]An estimated 30,000 Lucayans inhabited the Bahamas at the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1492.
Columbus's first landfall in what was to Europeans a 'New World' was on an island he named San Salvador (known to the Lucayans as Guanahani ).Whilst there is a general consensus that this island lay within the Bahamas, precisely which island Columbus landed on is a matter of scholarly debate. Some researchers believe the site to be present-day San Salvador Island (formerly known as Watling's Island), situated in the southeastern Bahamas, whilst an alternative theory holds that Columbus landed to the southeast on Samana Cay, according to calculations made in 1986 by National Geographic writer and editor Joseph Judge, based on Columbus's log. On the landfall island, Columbus made first contact with the Lucayans and exchanged goods with them, claiming the islands for Spain, before proceeding to explore the larger isles of the Greater Antilles.
The 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas theoretically divided the new territories between Spain and Portugal, placing the Bahamas in the Spanish sphere; however they did little to press their claim on the ground.The Spanish did however make use of the native Lucayan peoples, many of whom were enslaved and sent to Hispaniola for use as forced labour. The slaves suffered from harsh conditions and most died from contracting diseases to which they had no immunity; half of the Taino died from smallpox alone. As a result of these depredations the population of the Bahamas was severely diminished.
The English had expressed an interest in the Bahamas as early as 1629,however it wasn't until 1648 that the first English settlers arrived on the islands. Known as the Eleutherian Adventurers and led by William Sayle, they migrated from Bermuda seeking greater religious freedom. These English Puritans established the first permanent European settlement on an island which they named 'Eleuthera', Greek for 'freedom'. They later settled New Providence, naming it Sayle's Island. Life proved harder than envisaged however, and many - including William Sayle - chose to return to Bermuda. To survive, the remaining settlers salvaged goods from wrecks.
In 1670 King Charles II granted the islands to the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas in North America. They rented the islands from the king with rights of trading, tax, appointing governors, and administering the country from their base on New Providence.Piracy and attacks from hostile foreign powers were a constant threat: in 1684 Spanish corsair Juan de Alcon raided the capital Charles Town (later renamed Nassau), and in 1703 a joint Franco-Spanish expedition briefly occupied Nassau during the War of the Spanish Succession.
During proprietary rule, the Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including Blackbeard (circa 1680–1718).To put an end to the 'Pirates' republic' and restore orderly government, Great Britain made the Bahamas a crown colony in 1718 under the royal governorship of Woodes Rogers. After a difficult struggle, he succeeded in suppressing piracy. In 1720, Rogers led local militia to drive off a Spanish attack during the War of the Quadruple Alliance. In 1729 a local assembly was established giving a degree of self-governance for the English settlers. The reforms had been planned by the previous Governor George Phenney and authorised in July 1728.
During the American War of Independence in the late 18th century, the islands became a target for US naval forces under the command of Commodore Esek Hopkins; US Marines occupied Nassau for a brief period in 1776.In 1782, following the British defeat at Yorktown, a Spanish fleet appeared off the coast of Nassau. The city surrendered without a fight. Spain returned possession of the Bahamas to Great Britain the following year, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. Before the news was received however, the islands were recaptured by a small British force led by Andrew Deveaux.
After US independence, the British resettled some 7,300 Loyalists with their African slaves in the Bahamas, including 2,000 from New Yorkand at least 1,033 whites, 2,214 blacks and a few Native American Creeks from East Florida. Most of the refugees resettled from New York had fled from other colonies, including West Florida, which the Spanish captured during the war. The government granted land to the planters to help compensate for losses on the continent. These Loyalists, who included Deveaux and also Lord Dunmore, established plantations on several islands and became a political force in the capital. European Americans were outnumbered by the African-American slaves they brought with them, and ethnic Europeans remained a minority in the territory.
In 1807 the British abolished the slave trade, followed by the United States the next year.During the following decades, the Royal Navy intercepted the trade; they resettled in the Bahamas thousands of Africans liberated from slave ships.
In the 1820s during the period of the Seminole Wars in Florida, hundreds of North American slaves and African Seminoles escaped from Cape Florida to the Bahamas. They settled mostly on northwest Andros Island, where they developed the village of Red Bays. From eyewitness accounts, 300 escaped in a mass flight in 1823, aided by Bahamians in 27 sloops, with others using canoes for the journey. This was commemorated in 2004 by a large sign at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.Some of their descendants in Red Bays continue African Seminole traditions in basket making and grave marking.
In 1818the Home Office in London had ruled that "any slave brought to the Bahamas from outside the British West Indies would be manumitted." This led to a total of nearly 300 slaves owned by US nationals being freed from 1830 to 1835. The American slave ships Comet and Encomium used in the United States domestic coastwise slave trade, were wrecked off Abaco Island in December 1830 and February 1834, respectively. When wreckers took the masters, passengers and slaves into Nassau, customs officers seized the slaves and British colonial officials freed them, over the protests of the Americans. There were 165 slaves on the Comet and 48 on the Encomium. The United Kingdom finally paid an indemnity to the United States in those two cases in 1855, under the Treaty of Claims of 1853, which settled several compensation cases between the two countries.
Slavery was abolished in the British Empire on 1 August 1834.After that British colonial officials freed 78 North American slaves from the Enterprise , which went into Bermuda in 1835; and 38 from the Hermosa, which wrecked off Abaco Island in 1840. The most notable case was that of the Creole in 1841: as a result of a slave revolt on board, the leaders ordered the US brig to Nassau. It was carrying 135 slaves from Virginia destined for sale in New Orleans. The Bahamian officials freed the 128 slaves who chose to stay in the islands. The Creole case has been described as the "most successful slave revolt in U.S. history".
These incidents, in which a total of 447 slaves belonging to US nationals were freed from 1830 to 1842, increased tension between the United States and the United Kingdom. They had been co-operating in patrols to suppress the international slave trade. However, worried about the stability of its large domestic slave trade and its value, the United States argued that the United Kingdom should not treat its domestic ships that came to its colonial ports under duress as part of the international trade.[ citation needed ] The United States worried that the success of the Creole slaves in gaining freedom would encourage more slave revolts on merchant ships.
During the American Civil War of the 1860s the islands briefly prospered as a focus for blockade runners aiding the Confederate States.
The early decades of the 20th century were ones of hardship for many Bahamians, characterised by a stagnant economy and widespread poverty.Many eked out a living via subsistence agriculture or fishing.
In August 1940, the Duke of Windsor was appointed governor of the Bahamas. He arrived in the colony with his wife, the Duchess. Although disheartened at the condition of Government House, they "tried to make the best of a bad situation".He did not enjoy the position, and referred to the islands as "a third-class British colony". He opened the small local parliament on 29 October 1940. The couple visited the "Out Islands" that November, on Axel Wenner-Gren's yacht, which caused controversy; the British Foreign Office strenuously objected because they had been advised (mistakenly) by United States intelligence that Wenner-Gren was a close friend of the Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring of Nazi Germany.
The Duke was praised at the time for his efforts to combat poverty on the islands. A 1991 biography by Philip Ziegler, however, described him as contemptuous of the Bahamians and other non-European peoples of the Empire. He was praised for his resolution of civil unrest over low wages in Nassau in June 1942, when there was a "full-scale riot".Ziegler said that the Duke blamed the trouble on "mischief makers – communists" and "men of Central European Jewish descent, who had secured jobs as a pretext for obtaining a deferment of draft". The Duke resigned from the post on 16 March 1945.
Modern political development began after the Second World War. The first political parties were formed in the 1950s, split broadly along ethnic lines - the United Bahamian Party (UBP) representing the English-descended Bahamians (known informally as the 'Bay Street Boys'),and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) representing the Afro-Bahamian majority.
A new constitution granting the Bahamas internal autonomy went into effect on 7 January 1964, with Chief Minister Sir Roland Symonette of the UBP becoming the first Premier.In 1967 Lynden Pindling of the PLP became the first black Premier of the Bahamian colony; in 1968 the title of the position was changed to Prime Minister. In 1968 Pindling announced that the Bahamas would seek full independence. A new constitution giving the Bahamas increased control over its own affairs was adopted in 1968. In 1971 the UBP merged with a disaffected faction of the PLP to form a new party, the Free National Movement (FNM), a de-racialised, centre-right party which aimed to counter the growing power of Pindling's PLP.
The British House of Lords voted to give the Bahamas its independence on 22 June 1973.Prince Charles delivered the official documents to Prime Minister Lynden Pindling, officially declaring the Bahamas a fully independent nation on 10 July 1973. It joined the Commonwealth of Nations on the same day. Sir Milo Butler was appointed the first governor-general of the Bahamas (the official representative of Queen Elizabeth II) shortly after independence.
Shortly after independence the Bahamas joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on 22 August 1973,and later the United Nations on 18 September 1973.
Politically the first two decades were dominated by Pindling's PLP, who went on to win a string of electoral victories.Allegations of corruption, links with drug cartels and financial malfeasance within the Bahamian government failed to dent Pindling's popularity. Meanwhile, the economy underwent a dramatic growth period fuelled by the twin pillars of tourism and offshore finance, significantly raising the standard of living on the islands. The Bahamas' booming economy led to it becoming a beacon for immigrants, most notably from Haiti.
In 1992 Pindling was unseated by Hubert Ingraham of the FNM.Ingraham went on to win the 1997 Bahamian general election, before being defeated in 2002, when the PLP returned to power under Perry Christie. Ingraham returned to power from 2007-2012, followed by Christie again from 2012-17. With economic growth faltering, Bahamians re-elected the FNM in 2017, with Hubert Minnis becoming the 4th Prime Minister.
The Bahamas consists of a chain of islands spread out over some 500 miles in the Atlantic Ocean, located to the east of Florida in the United States, north of Cuba and Hispaniola and west of the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands (with which it forms the Lucayan archipelago). It lies between latitudes 20° and 28°N, and longitudes 72° and 80°W and straddles the Tropic of Cancer. 10,010 km2 (3,860 sq mi).There are some 700 islands and cays in total (of which 30 are inhabited) with a total land area of
Nassau, capital city of the Bahamas, lies on the island of New Providence; the other main inhabited islands are Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Rum Cay, Long Island, San Salvador Island, Ragged Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Exuma, Berry Islands and Mayaguana. The largest island is Andros.
All the islands are low and flat, with ridges that usually rise no more than 15 to 20 m (49 to 66 ft). The highest point in the country is Mount Alvernia (formerly Como Hill) on Cat Island at 64m.
Disney has its own private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay. It is located near Great Abaco Island and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. In 1997, The Walt Disney Company purchased a 99-year land lease for the cay from the Bahamian government, set to expire in 2096.
The climate of the Bahamas is mostly tropical savannah climate or Aw according to Köppen climate classification. The low latitude, warm tropical Gulf Stream, and low elevation give the Bahamas a warm and winterless climate. The Bahamas have been free of snowfall, with the exception of snow mixed with rain reported in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama on 19 January 1977. 10 °C (50 °F) for a few hours when a severe cold outbreak comes off the North American mainland, there is only a 7 °C difference between the warmest month and coolest month in most of the Bahama islands. As with most tropical climates, seasonal rainfall follows the sun, and summer is the wettest season. The Bahamas are often sunny and dry for long periods of time, and average more than 3,000 hours or 340 days of sunlight annually.Although every few decades low temperatures can fall below
Tropical storms and hurricanes can on occasion impact the Bahamas. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew passed over the northern portions of the islands, and Hurricane Floyd passed near the eastern portions of the islands in 1999.
|Climate data for Nassau|
|Average high °C (°F)||25.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||21.4|
|Average low °C (°F)||17.3|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||39.4|
|Average precipitation days||8||6||7||8||10||15||17||19||17||15||10||8||140|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||220.1||220.4||257.3||276.0||269.7||231.0||272.8||266.6||213.0||223.2||222.0||213.9||2,886|
|Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN), Hong Kong Observatory (sun only)|
|23 °C |
|23 °C |
|24 °C |
|26 °C |
|27 °C |
|28 °C |
|28 °C |
|28 °C |
|28 °C |
|27 °C |
|26 °C |
|24 °C |
The Bahamas is part of the Lucayan Archipelago, which continues into the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Mouchoir Bank, the Silver Bank, and the Navidad Bank.
The Bahamas Platform, which includes the Bahamas, Southern Florida, Northern Cuba, the Turks and Caicos, and the Blake Plateau, formed about 150 Ma, not long after the formation of the North Atlantic. The 6.4 km (4.0 mi) thick limestones, which predominately make up The Bahamas, date back to the Cretaceous. These limestones would have been deposited in shallow seas, assumed to be a stretched and thinned portion of the North American continental crust. Sediments were forming at about the same rate as the crust below was sinking due to the added weight. Thus, the entire area consisted of a large marine plain with some islands. Then, at about 80 Ma, the area became flooded by the Gulf Stream. This resulted in the drowning of the Blake Plateau, the separation of The Bahamas from Cuba and Florida, the separation of the southeastern Bahamas into separate banks, the creation of the Cay Sal Bank, plus the Little and Great Bahama Banks. Sedimentation from the "carbonate factory" of each bank, or atoll, continues today at the rate of about 2 cm per kyr. Coral reefs form the "retaining walls" of these atolls, within which oolites and pellets form.
Coral growth was greater through the Tertiary, until the start of the Ice Ages, and hence those deposits are more abundant below a depth of 36 m. In fact, an ancient extinct reef exists half a km seaward of the present one, 30 m below sea level. Oolites form when oceanic water penetrate the shallow banks, increasing the temperature about 3 °C and the salinity by 0.5 per cent. Cemented ooids are referred to as grapestone. Additionally, giant stromatolites are found off the Exuma Cays. :22,29–30
Sea level changes resulted in a drop in sea level, causing wind blown oolite to form sand dunes with distinct cross-bedding. Overlapping dunes form oolitic ridges, which become rapidly lithified through the action of rainwater, called eolianite. Most islands have ridges ranging from 30 to 45 m, though Cat Island has a ridge 60 m in height. The land between ridges is conducive to the formation of lakes and swamps. 41–59,61–64:
Solution weathering of the limestone results in a "Bahamian Karst" topography. This includes potholes, blue holes such as Dean's Blue Hole, sinkholes, beachrock such as the Bimini Road ("pavements of Atlantis"), limestone crust, caves due to the lack of rivers, and sea caves. Several blue holes are aligned along the South Andros Fault line. Tidal flats and tidal creeks are common, but the more impressive drainage patterns are formed by troughs and canyons such as Great Bahama Canyon with the evidence of turbidity currents and turbidite deposition. 33–40,65,72–84,86:
The stratigraphy of the islands consists of the Middle Pleistocene Owl's Hole Formation, overlain by the Late Pleistocene Grotto Beach Formation, and then the Holocene Rice Bay Formation. However, these units are not necessarily stacked on top of each other but can be located laterally. The oldest formation, Owl's Hole, is capped by a terra rosa paleosoil, as is the Grotto Beach, unless eroded. The Grotto Beach Formation is the most widespread.
The Bahamas is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with the queen of the Bahamas (Elizabeth II) as head of state represented locally by a governor-general.Political and legal traditions closely follow those of the United Kingdom and the Westminster system. The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and shares its head of state with other Commonwealth realms.
The prime minister is the head of government and is the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Assembly.Executive power is exercised by the Cabinet, selected by the prime minister and drawn from his supporters in the House of Assembly. The current governor-general is Dame Marguerite Pindling, and the current prime minister is The Rt. Hon. Hubert Minnis MP.
Legislative power is vested In a bicameral parliament, which consists of a 38-member House of Assembly (the lower house), with members elected from single-member districts, and a 16-member Senate, with members appointed by the governor-general, including nine on the advice of the Prime Minister, four on the advice of the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and three on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. As under the Westminster system, the prime minister may dissolve Parliament and call a general election at any time within a five-year term.
Constitutional safeguards include freedom of speech, press, worship, movement and association. The Judiciary of the Bahamas is independent of the executive and the legislature. Jurisprudence is based on English law.
The Bahamas has a two-party system dominated by the centre-left Progressive Liberal Party and the centre-right Free National Movement. A handful of other political parties have been unable to win election to parliament; these have included the Bahamas Democratic Movement, the Coalition for Democratic Reform, Bahamian Nationalist Party and the Democratic National Alliance.
The Bahamas has strong bilateral relationships with the United States and the United Kingdom, represented by an ambassador in Washington and High Commissioner in London. The Bahamas also associates closely with other nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
The Bahamanian military is the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF),the navy of the Bahamas which includes a land unit called Commando Squadron (Regiment) and an Air Wing (Air Force). Under the Defence Act, the RBDF has been mandated, in the name of the Queen, to defend the Bahamas, protect its territorial integrity, patrol its waters, provide assistance and relief in times of disaster, maintain order in conjunction with the law enforcement agencies of the Bahamas, and carry out any such duties as determined by the National Security Council. The Defence Force is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)'s Regional Security Task Force.
The RBDF came into existence on 31 March 1980. Its duties include defending the Bahamas, stopping drug smuggling, illegal immigration and poaching, and providing assistance to mariners. The Defence Force has a fleet of 26 coastal and inshore patrol craft along with 3 aircraft and over 1,100 personnel including 65 officers and 74 women.[ citation needed ]
The districts of the Bahamas provide a system of local government everywhere except New Providence (which holds 70% of the national population), whose affairs are handled directly by the central government. In 1996, the Bahamian Parliament passed the "Local Government Act" to facilitate the establishment of Family Island Administrators, Local Government Districts, Local District Councillors and Local Town Committees for the various island communities. The overall goal of this act is to allow the various elected leaders to govern and oversee the affairs of their respective districts without the interference of Central Government. In total, there are 32 districts, with elections being held every five years. There are 110 Councillors and 281 Town Committee members are elected to represent the various districts.
Each Councillor or Town Committee member is responsible for the proper use of public funds for the maintenance and development of their constituency.
The districts other than New Providence are:
The Bahamian flag was adopted in 1973. Its colours symbolise the strength of the Bahamian people; its design reflects aspects of the natural environment (sun and sea) and economic and social development.The flag is a black equilateral triangle against the mast, superimposed on a horizontal background made up of three equal stripes of aquamarine, gold and aquamarine.
The coat of arms of the Bahamas contains a shield with the national symbols as its focal point. The shield is supported by a marlin and a flamingo, which are the national animals of the Bahamas. The flamingo is located on the land, and the marlin on the sea, indicating the geography of the islands.
On top of the shield is a conch shell, which represents the varied marine life of the island chain. The conch shell rests on a helmet. Below this is the actual shield, the main symbol of which is a ship representing the Santa María of Christopher Columbus, shown sailing beneath the sun. Along the bottom, below the shield appears a banner upon which is the national motto:
"Forward, Upward, Onward Together."
The yellow elder was chosen as the national flower of the Bahamas because it is native to the Bahama islands, and it blooms throughout the year.
Selection of the yellow elder over many other flowers was made through the combined popular vote of members of all four of New Providence's garden clubs of the 1970s—the Nassau Garden Club, the Carver Garden Club, the International Garden Club and the YWCA Garden Club. They reasoned that other flowers grown there—such as the bougainvillea, hibiscus and poinciana—had already been chosen as the national flowers of other countries. The yellow elder, on the other hand, was unclaimed by other countries (although it is now also the national flower of the United States Virgin Islands) and also the yellow elder is native to the family islands.
By the terms of GDP per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas.Its currency (the Bahamian dollar) is kept at a 1-to-1 peg with the US dollar. It was revealed in the Panama Papers that The Bahamas is the jurisdiction with the most offshore entities or companies.
The Bahamas relies heavily on tourism to generate most of its economic activity. Tourism as an industry not only accounts for about 50% of the Bahamian GDP, but also provides jobs for about half of the country's workforce. [ citation needed ]The Bahamas attracted 5.8 million visitors in 2012, more than 70% of whom were cruise visitors.
After tourism, the next most important economic sector is banking and offshore international financial services, accounting for some 15% of GDP.
The government has adopted incentives to encourage foreign financial business, and further banking and finance reforms are in progress. The government plans to merge the regulatory functions of key financial institutions, including the Central Bank of the Bahamas (CBB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission.[ citation needed ] The Central Bank administers restrictions and controls on capital and money market instruments. The Bahamas International Securities Exchange consists of 19 listed public companies. Reflecting the relative soundness of the banking system (mostly populated by Canadian banks), the impact of the global financial crisis on the financial sector was limited.[ citation needed ]
The economy has a very competitive tax regime (classified by some as a tax haven). The government derives its revenue from import tariffs, VAT, licence fees, property and stamp taxes, but there is no income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, or wealth tax. Payroll taxes fund social insurance benefits and amount to 3.9% paid by the employee and 5.9% paid by the employer.In 2010, overall tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 17.2%.
Agriculture and manufacturing form the third largest sector of the Bahamian economy, representing 5–7% of total GDP. [ citation needed ]An estimated 80% of the Bahamian food supply is imported. Major crops include onions, okra, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, cucumbers, sugar cane, lemons, limes, and sweet potatoes.
The Bahamas has an estimated population of 391,232, of which 25.9% are under 14, 67.2% 15 to 64 and 6.9% over 65. It has a population growth rate of 0.925% (2010), with a birth rate of 17.81/1,000 population, death rate of 9.35/1,000, and net migration rate of −2.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population. The infant mortality rate is 23.21 deaths/1,000 live births. Residents have a life expectancy at birth of 69.87 years: 73.49 years for females, 66.32 years for males. The total fertility rate is 2.0 children born/woman (2010).
The most populous islands are New Providence, where Nassau, the capital and largest city, is located;and Grand Bahama, home to the second largest city of Freeport.
According to the 99% response rate obtained from the race question on the 2010 Census questionnaire, 90.6% of the population identified themselves as being Black, 4.7% White and 2.1% of a mixed race (African and European).Three centuries prior, in 1722 when the first official census of the Bahamas was taken, 74% of the population was native European and 26% native African.
Since the colonial era of plantations, Africans or Afro-Bahamians have been the largest ethnic group in the Bahamas, whose primary ancestry was based in West Africa. The first Africans to arrive to the Bahamas were freed slaves from Bermuda; they arrived with the Eleutheran Adventurers looking for new lives.
The Haitian community in the Bahamas is also largely of African descent and numbers about 80,000. Due to an extremely high immigration of Haitians to the Bahamas, the Bahamian government started deporting illegal Haitian immigrants to their homeland in late 2014.
The white Bahamian population are mainly the descendants of the English Puritans looking to flee religious persecution in England and American Loyalists escaping the American Revolution who arrived in 1649 and 1783, respectively.Many Southern Loyalists went to the Abaco Islands, half of whose population was of European descent as of 1985. The term white is usually used to identify Bahamians with Anglo ancestry, as well as "light-skinned" Afro-Bahamians. Sometimes Bahamians use the term Conchy Joe to describe people of Anglo descent.
A small portion of the Euro-Bahamian population are Greek Bahamians, descended from Greek labourers who came to help develop the sponging industry in the 1900s.They make up less than 2% of the nation's population, but have still preserved their distinct Greek Bahamian culture.
Bahamians typically identify themselves simply as either black or white.
The islands' population is predominantly Christian.Protestant denominations collectively account for more than 70% of the population, with Baptists representing 35% of the population, Anglicans 15%, Pentecostals 8%, Church of God 5%, Seventh-day Adventists 5% and Methodists 4%. There is also a significant Roman Catholic community accounting for about 14%. There are also smaller communities of Jews, Muslims, Baha'is, Hindus, Rastafarians and practitioners of traditional African religions such as Obeah.
The official language of the Bahamas is English. Many people speak an English-based creole language called Bahamian dialect (known simply as "dialect") or "Bahamianese."Laurente Gibbs, a Bahamian writer and actor, was the first to coin the latter name in a poem and has since promoted its usage. Both are used as autoglossonyms. Haitian Creole, a French-based creole language is spoken by Haitians and their descendants, who make up of about 25% of the total population. It is known simply as Creole to differentiate it from Bahamian English.
The culture of the islands is a mixture of African (Afro-Bahamians being the largest ethnicity), British (as the former colonial power) and American (as the dominant country in the region and source of most tourists).
A form of African-based folk magic (obeah) is practised by some Bahamians, mainly in the Family Islands (out-islands) of the Bahamas.The practice of obeah is illegal in the Bahamas and punishable by law.
In the less developed outer islands (or Family Islands), handicrafts include basketry made from palm fronds. This material, commonly called "straw", is plaited into hats and bags that are popular tourist items. Another use is for so-called "Voodoo dolls", even though such dolls are the result of foreign influences and not based in historic fact.
Junkanoo is a traditional Afro-Bahamian street parade of 'rushing', music, dance and art held in Nassau (and a few other settlements) every Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Junkanoo is also used to celebrate other holidays and events such as Emancipation Day.
Regattas are important social events in many family island settlements. They usually feature one or more days of sailing by old-fashioned work boats, as well as an onshore festival.
Many dishes are associated with Bahamian cuisine, which reflects Caribbean, African and European influences. Some settlements have festivals associated with the traditional crop or food of that area, such as the "Pineapple Fest" in Gregory Town, Eleuthera or the "Crab Fest" on Andros. Other significant traditions include story telling.
Bahamians have created a rich literature of poetry, short stories, plays and short fictional works. Common themes in these works are (1) an awareness of change, (2) a striving for sophistication, (3) a search for identity, (4) nostalgia for the old ways and (5) an appreciation of beauty. Some major writers are Susan Wallace, Percival Miller, Robert Johnson, Raymond Brown, O.M. Smith, William Johnson, Eddie Minnis and Winston Saunders.
Bahamas culture is rich with beliefs, traditions, folklore and legend. The most well-known folklore and legends in the Bahamas include the lusca and chickcharney creatures of Andros, Pretty Molly on Exuma Bahamas and the Lost City of Atlantis on Bimini Bahamas.
Sport is a significant part of Bahamian culture. The national sport is cricket. Cricket has been played in the Bahamas from 1846,the oldest sport being played in the country today. The Bahamas Cricket Association was formed in 1936, and from the 1940s to the 1970s, cricket was played amongst many Bahamians. Bahamas is not a part of the West Indies Cricket Board, so players are not eligible to play for the West Indies cricket team. The late 1970s saw the game begin to decline in the country as teachers, who had previously come from the United Kingdom with a passion for cricket, were replaced by teachers who had been trained in the United States. The Bahamian physical education teachers had no knowledge of the game and instead taught track and field, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and Association football where primary and high schools compete against each other. Today cricket is still enjoyed by a few locals and immigrants in the country usually from Jamaica, Guyana, Haiti and Barbados. Cricket is played on Saturdays and Sundays at Windsor Park and Haynes Oval.
The only other sporting event that began before cricket was horse racing, which started in 1796. The most popular spectator sports are those imported from the United States, such as basketball,American football, and baseball, rather than from the British Isles, due to the country's close proximity to the United States, unlike their other Caribbean counterparts, where cricket, rugby, and netball have proven to be more popular.
Dexter Cambridge, Rick Fox, Ian Lockhart, Magnum Rolle, Buddy Hield and Deandre Ayton are a few Bahamians who joined Bahamian Mychal Thompson of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA ranks. [ when? ] the Bahamian government has been working closely with Tottenham Hotspur of London to promote the sport in the country as well as promoting the Bahamas in the European market. In 2013, 'Spurs' became the first Premier League club to play an exhibition match in the Bahamas, facing the Jamaican national team. Joe Lewis, the owner of the club, is based in the Bahamas. [ better source needed ]Over the years American football has become much more popular than soccer, though not implemented in the high school system yet. Leagues for teens and adults have been developed by the Bahamas American Football Federation. However soccer, as it is commonly known in the country, is still a very popular sport amongst high school pupils. Leagues are governed by the Bahamas Football Association. Recently,
Other popular sports are swimming,tennis and boxing, where Bahamians have enjoyed some degree of success at the international level. Other sports such as golf, rugby league, rugby union, beach soccer, and netball are considered growing sports. Athletics, commonly known as 'track and field' in the country, is the most successful sport by far amongst Bahamians. Bahamians have a strong tradition in the sprints and jumps. Track and field is probably the most popular spectator sport in the country next to basketball due to their success over the years. Triathlons are gaining popularity in Nassau and the Family Islands.
Bahamians have gone on to win numerous track and field medals at the Olympic Games, IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games. Frank Rutherford is the first athletics olympic medallist for the country. He won a bronze medal for triple jump during the 1992 Summer Olympics.Pauline Davis-Thompson, Debbie Ferguson, Chandra Sturrup, Savatheda Fynes and Eldece Clarke-Lewis teamed up for the first athletics Olympic Gold medal for the country when they won the 4 × 100 m relay at the 2000 Summer Olympics. They are affectionately known as the "Golden Girls". Tonique Williams-Darling became the first athletics individual Olympic gold medallist when she won the 400m sprint in 2004 Summer Olympics. In 2007, with the disqualification of Marion Jones, Pauline Davis-Thompson was advanced to the gold medal position in the 200 metres at the 2000 Olympics, predating William-Darling.
The Bahamas were hosts of the first men's senior FIFA tournament to be staged in the Caribbean, the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.The Bahamas also hosted the first 3 editions of the IAAF World Relays.
According to 1995 estimates, 98.2% of the Bahamian adult population are literate.[ citation needed ]
The University of The Bahamas (UB) is the national higher education/tertiary system. Offering baccalaureate, masters and associate degrees, UB has three campuses, and teaching and research centres throughout the Bahamas. The University of The Bahamas was chartered on 10 November 2016.[ citation needed ]
The Bahamas contains about 1,620 km (1,010 mi) of paved roads. Inter-island transport is conducted primarily via ship and air. The country has 61 airports, the chief of which are Lynden Pindling International Airport on New Providence, Grand Bahama International Airport on Grand Bahama Island and Leonard M. Thompson International Airport (formerly Marsh Harbour Airport) on Abaco Island.
Nassau is the capital and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The city has an estimated population of 274,400 as of 2016, just over 70% of the population of the country (≈391,000). Lynden Pindling International Airport, the major airport for the Bahamas, is located about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of Nassau city centre, and has daily flights to major cities in Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and the United States. The city is located on the island of New Providence, which functions much like a business district. Nassau is the site of the House of Assembly and various judicial departments and was considered historically to be a stronghold of pirates. The city was named in honour of William III of England, Prince of Orange-Nassau.
The earliest arrival of humans in the islands now known as The Bahamas was in the first millennium AD. The first inhabitants of the islands were the Lucayans, an Arawakan-speaking Taino people, who arrived between about 500 and 800 AD from other islands of the Caribbean. Their ancestors came from mainland South America, where Arawakan-language peoples were present in most territories, and especially along the northeastern coast.
The Bahamas are a group of about 700 islands and cays in the western Atlantic Ocean, of which only between 30 and 40 are inhabited. The largest of the islands is Andros Island, located north of Cuba and 200 kilometres southeast of Florida. The Bimini islands are to its northwest. To the North is the island of Grand Bahama, home to the second-largest city in the country, Freeport. The island of Great Abaco is to its east. In the far south is the island of Great Inagua, the second-largest island in the country. Other notable islands include Eleuthera, Cat Island, San Salvador Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, and Mayaguana. Nassau is the capital and largest city, located on New Providence. The islands have a tropical savannah climate, moderated by the Gulf Stream. The total size is 13,878 km2 (5,358 sq mi). Due to the many widespread islands it has the 41st largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 654,715 km2 (252,787 sq mi).
This article talks about transportation in the Bahamas, a North American archipelagic state in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Right Excellent Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, is regarded as the "Father of the Nation" of the Bahamas, having led it to majority rule on 10 January 1967 and to independence on 10 July 1973. He served as the first black premier of the Colony of the Bahama Islands from 1967 to 1969 and as Prime Minister of the Bahamas from 1969 to 1992. He was leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) from 1956 to 1997 when he resigned from public life under scandal.
Andros Island is an archipelago within the Bahamas, the largest of the Bahamian Islands. Politically considered a single island, Andros in total has an area greater than all the other 700 Bahamian islands combined. The land area of Andros consists of hundreds of small islets and cays connected by mangrove estuaries and tidal swamplands, together with three major islands: North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros. The three main islands are separated by "bights", estuaries that trifurcate the island, connecting the island's east and west coasts. It is 104 miles (167 km) long by 40 miles (64 km) wide at the widest point.
The Abaco Islands lie in the northern Bahamas 180 miles (290 km) east of South Florida. They comprise the main islands of Great Abaco and Little Abaco, along with smaller barrier cays. The northernmost are Walker's Cay, and its sister island Grand Cay. To the south, the next inhabited islands are Spanish Cay and Green Turtle Cay, with its settlement of New Plymouth, Great Guana Cay, private Scotland Cay, Man-O-War Cay, and Elbow Cay, with its settlement of Hope Town. Southernmost are Tilloo Cay and Lubbers Quarters. Another of note off Abaco's western shore is onetime Gorda Cay, now a Disney Island and cruise ship stop and renamed Castaway Cay. Also in the vicinity is Moore's Island. On the Big Island of Abaco is Marsh Harbour, the Abacos' commercial hub and the Bahamas' third largest city, plus the resort area of Treasure Cay. Both have airports. A few mainland settlements of significance are Coopers Town and Fox Town in the north and Cherokee and Sandy Point in the south. Administratively, the Abaco Islands constitute seven of the 31 Local Government Districts of the Bahamas: Grand Cay, North Abaco, Green Turtle Cay, Central Abaco, South Abaco, Moore's Island, and Hope Town.
Eleuthera refers both to a single island in the archipelagic state of The Commonwealth of the Bahamas and to its associated group of smaller islands. Eleuthera forms a part of the Great Bahama Bank. The island of Eleuthera incorporates the smaller Harbour Island. "Eleuthera" derives from the feminine Greek adjective ἐλεύθερος (eleutheros), meaning "free". Known in the 17th century as Cigateo, it lies 80 km east of Nassau. It is long and thin—180 km long and in places little more than 1.6 km wide. Its eastern side faces the Atlantic Ocean, and its western side faces the Great Bahama Bank. The topography of the island varies from wide rolling pink sand beaches to large outcrops of ancient coral reefs, and its population is approximately 11,000. The principal economy of the island is tourism.
The Out Islands are the islands that make up the Bahamas with the exception of New Providence Island and Grand Bahama Island. The Abaco Islands and Eleuthera islands are among the Out Islands.
Lynx Air International was a United States airline based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
The Bluff is a settlement on North Eleuthera, Bahamas.
Bahamian Creole is an English-based creole language spoken mainly in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.
The effects of Hurricane Andrew in the Bahamas included three direct fatalities and $250 million (1992 USD) in damage. Forming from a tropical wave on August 16, Andrew remained weak until rapidly intensifying on August 22, and late on August 23 it made its first landfall in The Bahamas on Eleuthera as a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 260 km/h (160 mph); early the next day Hurricane Andrew passed through the southern Berry Islands with winds of 240 km/h (150 mph). The hurricane later made a devastating landfall in southern Florida, and after striking southern Louisiana it dissipated over the eastern United States. Andrew was the first major hurricane to affect the nation since Hurricane Betsy in 1965. It caused $250 million in damage, with damage heaviest on Eleuthera and Cat Cay. Four deaths occurred due to the storm, of which one was indirectly related to the hurricane.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Bahamas:
The Bahamas National Trust is a non-profit organisation in the Bahamas that manages the country's twenty-seven national parks. Its headquarters is located in New Providence at The Retreat Gardens on Village Road. The Bahamas National Trust was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959, through the efforts of two groups of conservationists.
The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
The Bahamian pineyards are a tropical and subtropical coniferous forest ecoregion in The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, where they occur on an area of 2,100 km2 (810 sq mi). Pineyards are found on four of the northern islands in The Bahamas: Andros, Abaco, Grand Bahama, where they cover half of the island, and New Providence, as well as the Caicos Islands. Pineyards are dominated by Bahamian pine, while pinepink, bushy beard grass, southern bracken fern, Florida clover ash, Bahamian trumpet tree, West Indian snowberry, devil's gut, poisonwood, coontie and Florida silver palm grow in the understory. Without regular wildfires, pineyards will be supplanted by broadleafed coppice. Young Bahamian pines require extensive amounts of sunlight to grow, and are resistant to fire once they become adults. Fauna found in the pine forests includes rock iguanas, pygmy boas, the West Indian woodpecker, the Bahama woodstar, the Bahama yellowthroat,, the Bahama nuthatch, and the buffy flower bat. Kirtland's warblers migrate from jack pine forests in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan to Bahamian pineyards every year, where they spend the winter.
Afro-Bahamians are an ethnicity originating in The Bahamas of predominantly African descent. They are descendants of various African ethnic groups, many associated with the Empires of Ghana, Songhai and Mali, the various Fula Kingdoms, the Oyo Empire, and the Kingdom of Kongo to name a few. According to the 2010 Census, 92.7% of The Bahamas' population identifies as African or African mixed with European.
A Chief Councilor is the highest position within a District Council of the Bahamas. As provided within the Bahamas Local Government Act, the Chief Councillor is the representative of the council for all purposes. His or her tenure in office begins from the very day of election until the expiration of the term as prescribed by their respective District Council or if they so wish to resign.
In 1722 when the first official census of the Bahamas was taken, 74% of the population was European or native British and 26% was African or mixed. Three centuries later, and according to the 99% response rate obtained from the race question on the 2010 Census questionnaire, 90.6% of the population identified themselves as being Afro-Bahamian, about five percent (4.7%) Euro-Bahamian and two percent (2%) of a mixed race (African and European) and (1%) other races and (1%) not stated.