Info & Resources


Written by Staff Writer

Country Overview:
Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. Because of its geography, the country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly shipments to the US and Europe, and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.

Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba

Geographic coordinates:
24 15 N, 76 00 W

Total: 13,940 sq km, land: 10,070 sq km, water: 3,870 sq km

Area – Comparative:
Slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries:
0 km

3,542 km

Tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream

Territorial sea: 12 nm

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest Point:
Highest point: Mount Alvernia, on Cat Island 63 m

Natural Resources:
Salt, aragonite, timber, arable land


Noun: Bahamian(s)

adjective: Bahamian

Ethnic groups:
black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%

Baptist 35.4%, Anglican 15.1%, Roman Catholic 13.5%, Pentecostal 8.1%, Church of God 4.8%, Methodist 4.2%, other Christian 15.2%, none or unspecified 2.9%, other 0.8% (2000 census)

English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

Country Name:
Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Government Type:
Constitutional parliamentary democracy

Capital Name:

10 July 1973 (from UK)

National Holiday:
Independence Day, 10 July (1973)

10 July 1973

Legal System:
Based on English common law

Executive Branch:
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Arthur D. HANNA (since 1 February 2006)

Head of Government:
Prime Minister Hubert A. INGRAHAM (since 4 May 2007)

Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister’s recommendation

The monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister

About the author

Staff Writer