Coat of Arms
Prime Minister Perry Christie
»13,878 km2 (160th)
» Per capita -$31,382
» Per capita -$22,832
»BSD Bahamian Dollar
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The Bahamas officially the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is an island country consisting of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean; north of Cuba and Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti); northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands; southeast of the U.S. state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys.
Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. The designation of “Bahamas” can refer to either the country or the larger island chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands.
As stated in the mandate/manifesto of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Bahamas territory encompasses 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean space.
Originally inhabited by the Lucayan, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taino people, the Bahamas were the site of Columbus’ first landfall in the New World in 1492. Although the Spanish never colonized the Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola.
The islands were mostly deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuther
One of the most prosperous countries in the West Indies, The Bahamas relies on tourism to generate most of its economic activity.
Tourism as an industry not only accounts for over 60 percent of the Bahamian GDP, but provides jobs for more than half the country’s workforce. After tourism, the next most important economic sector is 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.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 has been limited.
Graphical depiction of the Bahamas’ product exports in 28 color-coded categories.
By the terms of GDP per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas.
In 1961, when Cuba (with its glitzy casinos and beach resorts) was closed to American tourists,
The Islands of the Bahamas’ good fortune began. Capitalising on their close proximity to the United States, the Bahamian government set out to increase the number of people visiting the islands every year.
They dredged Nassau’s harbour so that it could accommodate up to six cruise ships at a time and built a bridge connecting Nassau to Paradise Island.
In 1964, Great Britain granted The Islands of the Bahamas limited self-government, and in 1969 the colony of The Bahamas became part of the Commonwealth.
It then legally became a nation on 10 July 1973, which is celebrated today as Bahamian Independence Day.
Tourism now accounts for at least half of the country’s economy. The Islands of The Bahamas retain a symbolic link with The United Kingdom and remain a part of the Commonwealth of Nations.
- Lucayan National Park and Port Lucaya in Freeport
- Dolphin Cay on Paradise Island
- The Thunderball Grotto in Exuma
- Flamingos, iguanas and other tropical wildlife.
- Fort Fincastle, the Old Town and the Pirate museum in Nassau