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The Bahamas


San Salvador Island, landing place of Christopher Columbus in the Bahamas
San Salvador Island, Bahamas. It is generally believed that during Christopher Columbus' first expedition to the New World, the island of San Salvador was the first land he saw and visited in October 1492.
Image: GdML

 
Location map of the Bahamas. Where in the world are the Bahamas?
Location map of Bahamas


Flag of Bahamas
Flag of Bahamas

The Bahamas in brief

Destination Bahamas, a Nationsonline country profile of the Caribbean archipelago in the northwest West Indies.

New Providence island, with Bahama's capital Nassau, lies about 310 km (190 mi) off the southern coast of Florida and north of Cuba. The coral-based archipelago consists of around 700 islands and islets and more than 2,000 cays (coral reefs). Just about 30 islands are inhabited. The Bahamas share maritime borders with Cuba, Haiti, the United States, and Turks and Caicos Islands (UK).

With a land area of 13,943 km², the island chain is about the size of Montenegro, or slightly smaller than Connecticut.

The Bahamas has a population of just 397,000 people (2021 est.). Political capital and the commercial hub is Nassau. Spoken languages are English and Bahamian Creole.


 
What are The Bahamas known for?

700 islands and 2,400 cays (i.e., coral reefs), mostly nice weather, except for a few hurricanes every other year. The Bahamas are a tourist's wet dream, palm-fringed tropical islands surrounded by turquoise waters. Some of the islands even offer pink sand beaches.

It was in the Bahamas where Columbus landed on San Salvador Island on October 12, 1492, when he got lost on his way to India.

After 325 years of "peaceful" British rule, the Bahamas became an independent country within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1973.

For several years in the 18-century, the Republic of Pirates was the stronghold of a loose confederacy led by privateers turned pirates in Nassau on New Providence Island. According to legend, the Pirates of the Caribbean used the place for binge drinking and other entertainments. This has not changed much to this day.


Atlantis on Paradise Island, The Bahamas
A Caribbean tourist dream or a nightmare? Hotel brochure description: "Atlantis Bahamas is a lush, oceanside resort located on Paradise Island in The Bahamas. The resort features five distinct hotels: the iconic The Royal, the laid-back The Beach, the multigenerational The Coral, the ultraluxury The Cove and the residential-style The Reef." Note the use of flowery adjectives.
Image: Navin75

Today, the Bahamas have become one of the world's foremost summer vacation resorts; the archipelago attracts more than five times its population in tourists each year.
Very popular with tourists are the large all-inclusive-adults-only resorts. Unlimited food, cocktails and more. Girls from many foreign countries offer their services.

Cruise ships, the islands are easily accessible by these Polluters of the Seas; they come from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral near Orlando, Florida, many of those are registered in the Bahamas. The country has one of the world's largest open-registry shipping fleets.

Tourism, international banking (offshore finance), and investment management account for more than 55% of the country's gross domestic product. The Bahamas are widely popular as a tax haven since the 1990s.


Tourist attractions
The main activities in the Bahamas are water sports, fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling, sailing and - duty-free shopping.

Besides island hopping, the Bahamas don't really have much to offer except two dozen lighthouses and some plantation ruins.
There are the Blue Holes of the South Abaco Cave Systems and the underwater cave system in the Lucayan National Park.
And there are, for lack of other attractions, the Swimming Pigs of the Exumas; are they trying to escape before they get eaten?

 

The Commonwealth of The Bahamas | The Bahamas



Background:
The Bahamas stretches for 760 miles from the coast of Florida in the northwest to almost Haiti in the southeast. The archipelago consists of about 2,400 Cays (coral reefs) and 700 islands, 30 of which are inhabited.

When Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 on the island of San Salvador, the Caribbean islands were inhabited by Lucayans, a subgroup of Arawak Indians. Slavery, disease, and other hardships wiped out the entire tribe within 25 years of Columbus' arrival.

A British settlement in The Bahamas was established in 1647 by a group of English Puritans, known as the Company of Eleutheran Adventurers.
They took over an island the Arawaks called Cigatoo and named it Eleuthera, the Greek word for freedom.
In 1717 and again in 1783, the islands became a British colony.

The real Pirates of the Caribbean. During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, piracy flourished in the islands because of their proximity to important shipping lanes. The pirates, based at Nassau, attacked French and Spanish ships, while the French and Spanish forces burned Nassau several more times.

Today The Bahamas has become one of the world's foremost vacation resorts. Nassau is the political capital and the commercial hub of The Bahamas.

Other Caribbean island nations: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico
 
 

 

Country Profile



Official Name:
Commonwealth of the Bahamas
short form: The Bahamas

ISO Country Code: bs, BHS

Time:
Local Time = UTC -4h
Actual Time: Sat-June-15  12:17

Country Calling Code: +1 242

...show more




Official Sites of The Bahamas

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Bahamian Parliament in Nassau
The Bahamian Parliament in Nassau.
Image: Matt Wade



Political System of The Bahamas
The Bahamas is a constitutional parliamentary democracy and a commonwealth realm. Head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Bahamian governor-general, who acts on the advice of the prime minister and the cabinet.
The head of government is the prime minister, usually the leader of the majority party in parliament. The bicameral parliament consists of an appointed Senate and an elected assembly.


Government
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas
The main website of the Government of the Bahamas.

The Embassy of The Bahamas to China


Weather
The Bahamas Meteorology Department
Offers current weather conditions for all islands.

 

 


 


Maps of The Bahamas



Bahamas Map
Map of The Bahamas (click map to enlarge)
Image: © nationsonline.org


Maps


profile Map of The Bahamas
Political map of The Bahamas.
Google Earth Google Earth The Bahamas
Searchable map and satellite view of The Bahamas.
Google Earth Google Earth Nassau
Searchable map and satellite view of the Bahamas' capital.

Map of Central America and the Caribbean
Reference Map of Central America and the Caribbean.
 

 


News from The Bahamas



The Bahamas Newsstand


Online News from The Bahamas



BahamasUncensored.com
Most incisive political news about and from the Bahamas.

thebahamasweekly.com
Bahamas News and events

The Freeport News
Grand Bahamas' First Newspaper.

The Nassau Guardian
The leading Bahamas newspaper with local news.

The Tribune
Bahamian daily.

TV
ZNS TV
Government-run TV station.
 

 


Arts & Culture of The Bahamas


Urban art Nassau, mural painting Nassau
Urban art :: fenced in bahamas :: Nassau.
Image: Shannon Kringen


Arts & Culture

Art | The Official Site of The Bahamas
A guide to art galleries in the major islands.

Arts & Culture - thebahamasweekly.com
Art, music, books, and events.

Antonius Roberts
A portrait of a Bahamian artist.

Bahamas International Film Festival
A non-profit organization dedicated to providing the local community and international visitors with a diverse presentation of films from around the world.

Musicians & Entertainers of The Bahamas
Music of the Bahamas. 
 

 


Business & Economy of The Bahamas


Prince George Wharf, Nassau Harbour, Bahamas
Prince George Wharf, the facility serves passenger cruise ships in Nassau Harbour.
Image: TampAGS

The gross domestic product (GDP) of the Bahamas is about 5.7 billion dollars, with tourism accounting for 50 percent, financial services for almost 20 percent, and the remainder divided between retail and wholesale, fishing, light industry, and agriculture. [1]


The Central Bank of The Bahamas
Official website of Central Bank of The Bahamas.

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce
Official website of Bahamas Chamber Of Commerce - Nassau.


Transportation

Airlines
Bahamasair
The National Airline of The Bahamas.

Bahamas Ferries
Bahamas Ferries
The Bahamas Marine Island Link connects Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Long Island, and New Providence.
 
 

 


 


Tourism in Bahamas



Glass Window Bridge, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Glass Window Bridge, Eleuthera Island, Bahamas
© Bahamas Government


Destination Bahamas - Travel and Tour Guides



Advertisement

Discover Bahamas:
Abaco Islands, Andros Barrier Reef, Berry Islands, Exuma Cays, Garden of Groves, Grand Bahama, Harbour Island, Nassau, New Providence. Links to accommodation, hotels, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, sea parks, cruising, diving with dolphins, tours, and much more.


Bahamas
The official tourism site of the Islands of the Bahamas.

Grand Bahama Island Tourism
The Official Web site of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board.

Bahama Out Islands
Guide to the other islands of The Bahamas.

The Bahamas Guide.com
An extensive travel and tourism guide to the Bahamas Islands.

Bahamas Vacation Guide
Another guide to the Bahamas, but one with the experience of years.

Wikivoyage Logo Wikivoyage: The Bahamas
The free worldwide travel guide to The Bahamas in many languages.

 

 


 


UNESCO World Heritage Sites


Nassau Harbour Lighthouse with Atlantis Paradise Island resort, Bahamas
Nassau Harbour Lighthouse with Atlantis Paradise Island resort in the background.
Image: Jerry and Pat Donaho
 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in The Bahamas

There are two properties for The Bahamas' on UNESCO's Tentative List:

World Heritage Site Historic Lighthouses of The Bahamas
Eleven lighthouses constructed by the British Imperial Lighthouse Service (ILS) between 1836 and 1887.


World Heritage Site The Inagua National Park
The park is located on Great Inagua Island. It is an important area for breeding, passage, and wintering for numerous species of waterbirds, and it is the world's largest breeding colony of West Indian flamingos.

 

 


Education in The Bahamas



Palácio Universitário campus Rio de Janeiro
The College of The Bahamas became the University of The Bahamas in November 2016.
Image: University of The Bahamas


University of The Bahamas
The Bahamas' premier tertiary institution with campuses throughout the archipelago.
 
 

 


Environment & Nature



Flamingos in the Inagua National Park, Bahamas
Flamingos in the Inagua National Park, on the island of Inagua, the southernmost district of the Bahamas. The Inagua National Park is on the UNESCO's Tentative List of World Heritage Sites.
Image: PARKS242 - Patricia Vazquez


The Bahamas National Trust
A non-profit organization in The Bahamas that manages the country’s national parks.

PARKS242
Parks 242 is a blog related to The Bahamas National Trust’s Parks.

Ecosystems of The Bahamas
Information about the ecosystems and endangered species of The Bahamas.

Bahamas EcoVentures
Education about mangroves and mangrove forests.
 
 

 


Bahamas History



The Landing of Columbus. Christopher Columbus is depicted landing in the West Indies
Columbus makes landfall in the Caribbean and claimed possession of the whole New World for Spain. Columbus' first landing on Watling Island (San Salvador) of The Bahamas.
Image description: Columbus raises the royal banner to claim the land for his Spanish patrons. He stands bareheaded with his hat at his feet to honor the sanctity of the occasion. The captains of the Niña and Pinta carry the banner of Ferdinand and Isabella. The crew shows a range of emotions, some looking for gold in the sand. Natives watch from behind a tree.

Painting: John Vanderlyn (1776 – 1852)


Brief History of The Bahamas
Outline of Bahama's history.

Wikipedia W History of The Bahamas
Wikipedia entry for the history of The Bahamas.

Wikipedia W Republic of Pirates
Wikipedia entry for the confederacy run by privateers-turned-pirates in Nassau on New Providence island in The Bahamas in the early 18th century.

 

 


Indigenous People of The Bahamas



The Landing of Columbus
The Landing of Columbus; very few of the indigenous people survived the encounter.
Image source: Library of Congress

Arawak Tribe of the Bahamas
Article about the Lucayan people of the Bahamas by Originalpeople.org.

Lucayan people
Wikipedia entry about the original inhabitants of the Bahamas before the arrival of European colonizers.
 

 


Additional Information


Selected country profiles of the Bahamas published by international organizations.


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Amnesty International: Bahamas
Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization focused on human rights.

BBC Country profile: Bahamas
Country profiles by the British public service broadcaster.

The Commonwealth: Bahamas
Profile of the Commonwealth Member country Bahamas.

FAO: Bahamas
UN Food and Agriculture Organization in the Bahamas.

Freedom House profile The Bahamas
The U.S. government-funded non-profit organization whose goal is to promote liberal democracies worldwide.

GlobalEDGE: The Bahamas
Global business knowledge portal - Global Insights by country, The Bahamas.

The Heritage Foundation: Bahamas
2020 Index of Economic Freedom by The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank.

Human Rights Watch: Bahamas
HRW conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

OEC: Bahamas
The Observatory of Economic Complexity provides the latest international trade data.

Wikipedia: Bahamas
Wikipedia's The Bahamas page in many languages.

The World Factbook -- Bahamas
CIA World Factbook intelligence on The Bahamas.

 

 



 
Other Countries and Territories in the Caribbean
Anguilla | Antigua and Barbuda | Aruba | Barbados | British Virgin Islands | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada | Guadeloupe | Haiti | Jamaica | Martinique | Montserrat | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Trinidad and Tobago | U.S. Virgin Islands

Countries of South America:
Argentina | Bolivia | Bahamas | Brazil | Colombia | Ecuador | French Guiana | Guyana | Paraguay | Peru | Suriname | Uruguay | Venezuela

Countries of Middle and Central America:
Belize | Costa Rica | El Salvador | Guatemala | Honduras | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama