The Bahamas achieved independence from Britain July 10, 1973 , and is now a fully self-governing member of the Commonwealth and a member of the United Nations, the Caribbean Community and the Organization of American States.
The Bahamas is an independent English speaking nation in the West Indies. The archipelago of 700 islands and 2,400 cays (small islands) covers an area of 5,358 sq miles (13, Thirth of the islands are inhabited. The largest island is Andos Island. The Biminis are just 50 miles (80 km) east of Florida. The island of Grand Bahamas is home to the second largest city in the country, Freeport. The island of Abaco is to its east. The most southeastern island is Inagua. Other notable islands include Eleuthera, Cat Island, San Salvador, Acklins, Crooked island, Exuma and Mayaguana.

The original inhabitants of The Bahamas were Arawak Indians, who had migrated through the Antilles from South America . Within a few decades after Columbus landed on San Salvador in 1492, the Spanish had depopulated the islands by shipping the peaceful Arawaks to slavery in the mines of Hispaniola and Cuba, where they died by the thousands.
The first permanent settlement in The Bahamas was established by a group of English settlers from Bermuda called the Company of Eleutheran Adventurers, who organized a community on what is now the island of Eleuthera in 1647, seeking religious freedom.
During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, piracy flourished in the islands because of their proximity to important shipping lanes. Woodes Rogers, the first Royal Governor, who established orderly conduct in 1718, crushed the power of the buccaneers.
In 1776, a US naval squadron captured Nassau , but withdrew after only one day. Following the American War of Independence, some 6,000 American loyalists and their slaves settled in The Bahamas.
The American Civil War brought prosperity to The Bahamas, which served as a transfer point for munitions and medical supplies to be run through the northern blockade of Confederate ports. Cotton from the south was the main commodity of exchange.
During the prohibition era in the United States , from 1917 to 1933, The Bahamas again prospered because of its proximity to the mainland. This time the islands supplied liquor for American rumrunners. Taking advantage of the colony's ideal weather conditions, the Royal Air Force used The Bahamas as a flight training area during World War II. The islands were also used by British and American units hunting German submarines

Under Prime Minister Lynden Pindling, who died August 26, 2000 , The Bahamas was governed by the Progressive Liberal Party for more than a quarter of a century, having won successive general elections in 1967, 1968, 1972, 1977, 1982 and 1987. The Free National Movement ousted the PLP from office in the general election of 1992 and, under the leadership of Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham, won the 1997 poll. Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister and Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party was elected to office in May, 2002. Under its parliamentary form of government, The Bahamas must have another general election by 2007.

The Constitution of The Bahamas is based on the Westminster Model; Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch, and Judicial Branch. As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations , The Bahamas recognizes Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. The governor-general is Her Majesty's representative in The Bahamas and constitutes a symbol of the nation's unity.
Judicial Authority is vested in the Judicature which comprises the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal with such jurisdiction, powers and authority as may be conferred on these Courts respectively by the Constitution or any other law.


The Bahamas is a stable, developing nation with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism alone accounts for more than 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs almost half of the archipelago's labour force. Manufacturing and agriculture together contribute approximately a tenth of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. Overall growth prospects in the short run rest heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector, which depends on growth in the United States , the source of the majority of tourist visitors.

- Arthur Hanna
Prime Minister
Perry Christie

Bahamanian culture is a hybrid of African, European and indigenous forms. And out of this infusion sprang a rhythmic form of music called junkanoo .
Famous Residents
Residents of the Bahamas include the Bacardi family (Bacardi Rum) and Sir John Templeton (Templeton Investment Fund/Templeton Award), who have run their international empires from the Bahamas .
The Bahamas also has a thriving second home market. Famous sports figures, such as Barry Bonds, Michael Jordan, Ernie Els and Jim Courier, are property owners at the exclusive Ocean Club Estates on Paradise Island . In Lyford Cay, rich and famous home owners include Arthur Hailey, Sean Connery, Tony O'Reilly and members of the Goulandris (shipping) family, to name a few.
Quick Facts

Official Name
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Atlantic Ocean , east of Florida in the US , north of Cuba and the Caribbean .
Nassau (also the largest city)

301,790 (85% black and 12% white)



Religion Christianity

Parliamentary democracy

Head Of State
Governor-General - Arthur Hanna representing Queen Elizabeth II
Head Of Government
Prime Minister - Perry Christie
Independence Day

July 10 (1973) from United Kingdom


Bahamian dollar (BSD)

Major trading partners

US, Spain , Germany , France, Poland , Switzerland , Peru , Paraguay , South Korea , Italy , Brazil , Japan and Venezuela


tourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe

Believe It...There are more places of worship per person in the Bahamas than any other nation in the world

Paradise Island
Atlantis Hotel located on Paradise Island , 10 minutes from downtown Nassau and 30 minutes from the airport