Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Motto: "Forward, Upward, Onward, Together"
Anthem: "March On, Bahamaland"
and largest city
|Ethnic groups||85% African Bahamians
12% European Bahamians
3% Asians and Hispanic
|Government||Unitary Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy.|
|Dame Marguerite Pindling|
|House of Assembly|
• from the United Kingdom
|July 10, 1973|
|13,878 km2 (5,358 sq mi) (160th)|
• Water (%)
• 2010 estimate
• 1990 census
|23.27/km2 (60.3/sq mi) (181st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
• Per capita
|HDI (2011)|| 0.771
high · 43rd
|Currency||Bahamian dollar (BSD)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
• Summer (DST)
|ISO 3166 code||BS|
The Taino were the first people living there. In 1492, Christopher Columbus found the Americas by landing on another of the islands, San Salvador. The Eleutheran Adventurers soon came along, making a home in Eleuthera.
The islands' mostly black population speaks English, the country's main language.
Taínos were the first people to arrive in the Bahamas. They moved into the southern Bahamas from Hispaniola and Cuba around the 11th century AD, having come there from South America. They came to be known as the Lucayan. About 30,000 Lucayan lived the Bahamas when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. Columbus' first landfall in the New World was on an island named San Salvador, which some scholars believe to be present-day San Salvador Island.
The Spanish forced much of the Lucayan population to move to Hispaniola. They were used for forced labour. This and the exposure to foreign diseases led to most of the population of the Bahamas dying. Smallpox alone wiped out half of the population in what is now the Bahamas.
In 1670, King Charles II rented out the islands to the Carolinas, along with rights of trading, tax, and governing the country. During this time, the Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard. To restore proper government, Britain made the Bahamas a crown colony in 1718. The first governor was Woodes Rogers.
After the American War of Independence, the British resettled some 7,300 Loyalists and their slaves in the Bahamas from New York, Florida, and the Carolinas. The first group of loyalists left St. Augustine in East Florida in September 1783. These Loyalists established plantations on several islands. British Americans were outnumbered by the African-American slaves they brought with them, and ethnic Europeans remained a minority in the territory.
|DNA estimates of The Bahamas|
The official language of the Bahamas is English, but they also speak a local dialect called Bahamianese. The Bahamian dialect is based based on the West Country England accents along with South Hiberno English dialects with strong influences from West African languages.
Geography and climate
- See also: List of cities in the Bahamas
In 1864 the Governor of the Bahamas reported that there were 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 rocks in the colony.
The climate of The Bahamas is subtropical to tropical. The Gulf Stream can be very dangerous in the summer and autumn. This is when hurricanes pass near or through the islands. Hurricane Andrew hit the northern islands during the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Floyd hit most of the islands during the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season.
There has never been a freeze reported in The Bahamas. The temperature can fall as low as 2–3 °C (35.6–37.4 °F).
The Bahamas are divided into 32 districts and the town of New Providence.
The districts are:
The Bahamas does not have an army or an air force. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) is the navy. The Defence Force has a fleet of 26 coastal and inshore patrol craft along with 2 aircraft and over 850 personnel including 65 officers and 74 women.
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