Info & Resources

Bahamas

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.

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

Geographic coordinates:
24 15 N, 76 00 W

Area:
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

Coastline:
3,542 km

Climate:
Tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream

Terrain:
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

Population:
307,451

Nationality:
Noun: Bahamian(s)

Nationality:
adjective: Bahamian

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

Religions:
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)

Languages:
English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

Country Name:
Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Government Type:
Constitutional parliamentary democracy

Capital Name:
Nassau

Independence:
10 July 1973 (from UK)

National Holiday:
Independence Day, 10 July (1973)

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

Elections:
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