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The Bahamas

The Bahamas
General information
Common namethe Bahamas
Namethe Bahamas
Motto"Forward, Upward, Onward, Together"
Anthem"March On, Bahamaland"
Royal anthem"God Save the Queen"
Largest citycapital
Official languagesEnglish
Regional languagesBahamian Dialect
Ethnic groups85% Black Bahamians, 12% White Bahamians, 3% Asians and Hispanic
GovernmentUnitary Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy.
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralSir Arthur Foulkes
Prime MinisterHubert Ingraham
Upper HouseSenate
Lower HouseHouse of Assembly
from the United KingdomJuly 10, 1973
Total Area5358 sq mi (13877.2 km2) (160th)
Water %28%
Population Est.330000 (177th)
Population census254685 (1990)
Density (pop.)23.2/km2 (181st) (60/sq mi)
GDP PPP$8.921 billion (2010)
GDP (PPP) per capita$25,894
GDP (nominal)$7.538 billion (2010)
GDP (nominal) per capita$21,878
Other information
HDI(+) 0.784 (2010) (very high) (43rd)
CurrencyBahamian dollar (BSD)
Time zoneEST (UTC−5)
- Summer (DST)EDT (UTC−4)
Drives on theleft
Calling code+1-242

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The Bahamas c-enaudio=En-us-Bahamas.oggbəˈhɑːməz, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets (rocks). It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States (nearest to the state of Florida). Its land area is 13939 km2 (13939000000 m2), with an estimated population of 330,000. Its capital is Nassau. Geographically, The Bahamas lie in the same island chain as Cuba, Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands; the designation of Bahamas refers normally to the Commonwealth and not the geographic chain.

Originally inhabited by the Lucayans, 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 to 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.

The Bahamas became a Crown Colony in 1718 when the British clamped down on piracy. Following the American War of Independence, thousands of pro-British loyalists and enslaved Africans moved to The Bahamas and set up a plantation economy. The slave trade was abolished in the British Empire in 1807 and many Africans liberated from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled in The Bahamas during the 19th century. Slavery itself was abolished in 1834 and the descendants of enslaved and liberated Africans form the bulk of The Bahamas's population today.

In terms of GDP, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas, (following Bermuda, The United States, Cayman Islands, Canada, and The British Virgin Islands) and one of the richest in the world whose population is predominantly of African origin.

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