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Bahamas, See : Flags, Maps

Bahamas, The (Central America and Caribbean)

Introduction ::Bahamas, The


Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas has prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. Because of its geography, the country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly shipments to the US and Europe, and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.

Geography ::Bahamas, The

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Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba

Geographic coordinates:
24 15 N, 76 00 W

Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 13,880 sq km country comparison to the world: 160 land: 10,010 sq km

water: 3,870 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries:

0 km



3,542 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream


long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Alvernia on Cat Island 63 m


Natural resources:

salt, aragonite, timber, arable land

Land use:

arable land: 0.58%

permanent crops: 0.29%

other: 99.13% (2005)

Irrigated land:

10 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

Natural hazards:

hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage

Environment - current issues:

coral reef decay; solid waste disposal

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited

People ::Bahamas, The


310,426 country comparison to the world: 177 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 25.3% (male 39,493/female 38,355)

15-64 years: 68.7% (male 103,889/female 107,528)

65 years and over: 5.9% (male 6,998/female 11,289) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 29.9 years

male: 28.8 years

female: 31 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.935% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 126

Birth rate:

16.25 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 128

Death rate:

6.89 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 140

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 98


urban population: 84% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 13.68 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 129 male: 13.68 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 13.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 70.84 years country comparison to the world: 140 male: 68.48 years

female: 73.27 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 128

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

3% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 24

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

6,200 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 118

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 200 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 105


noun: Bahamian(s)

adjective: Bahamian

Ethnic groups:

black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%


Baptist 35.4%, Anglican 15.1%, Roman Catholic 13.5%, Pentecostal 8.1%, Church of God 4.8%, Methodist 4.2%, other Christian 15.2%, none or unspecified 2.9%, other 0.8% (2000 census)


English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 95.6%

male: 94.7%

female: 96.5% (2003 est.)

Education expenditures:

3.6% of GDP (2000) country comparison to the world: 127

Government ::Bahamas, The

Country name:

conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas

conventional short form: The Bahamas

Government type:

constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm


name: Nassau

geographic coordinates: 25 05 N, 77 21 W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November

Administrative divisions:

31 districts; Acklins Islands, Berry Islands, Bimini, Black Point, Cat Island, Central Abaco, Central Andros, Central Eleuthera, City of Freeport, Crooked Island and Long Cay, East Grand Bahama, Exuma, Grand Cay, Harbour Island, Hope Town, Inagua, Long Island, Mangrove Cay, Mayaguana, Moore's Island, North Abaco, North Andros, North Eleuthera, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, South Abaco, South Andros, South Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, West Grand Bahama


10 July 1973 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 10 July (1973)


10 July 1973

Legal system:

based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Arthur A. FOULKES (since 14 April 2010)

head of government: Prime Minister Hubert A. INGRAHAM (since 4 May 2007)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (16 seats; members appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (41 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time

elections: last held on 2 May 2007 (next to be held by May 2012)

election results: percent of vote by party - FNM 49.86%, PLP 47.02%; seats by party - FNM 23, PLP 18

Judicial branch:

Privy Council in London; Courts of Appeal; Supreme (lower) Court;
Magistrates' Courts

Political parties and leaders:

Free National Movement or FNM [Hubert INGRAHAM]; Progressive Liberal
Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Friends of the Environment

other: trade unions

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Cornelius A. SMITH

chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668

consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Nicole A. AVANT

embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau, New Providence

mailing address: local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau; US Department of State, 3370 Nassau Place, Washington, DC 20521-3370

telephone: [1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 (after hours)
FAX: [1] (242) 328-2206

Flag description:

three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side; the band colors represent the golden beaches of the islands surrounded by the aquamarine sea; black represents the vigor and force of a united people, while the pointing triangle indicates the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop the rich resources of land and sea

National anthem:

name: "March On, Bahamaland!"

lyrics/music: Timothy GIBSON

note: adopted 1973; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)

Economy ::Bahamas, The

Economy - overview:

The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism together with tourism-driven construction and manufacturing accounts for approximately 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs half of the archipelago's labor force. Prior to 2006, a steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences led to solid GDP growth but since then tourism receipts have begun to drop off. The global recession in 2009 took a sizeable toll on the Bahamas, resulting in a contraction in GDP and a widening budget deficit. The decline continued in 2010 as tourism from the US and sector investment lagged. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy and, when combined with business services, account for about 36% of GDP. However, the financial sector currently is smaller than it has been in the past because of the enactment of new and more strict financial regulations in 2000 that caused many international businesses to relocate elsewhere. Manufacturing and agriculture combined 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$8.878 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 151 $8.923 billion (2009 est.)

$9.285 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$7.538 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

-0.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 193 -3.9% (2009 est.)

-1.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$28,600 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 49 $29,000 (2009 est.)

$30,500 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 1.2%

industry: 14.7%

services: 84.1% (2001 est.)

Labor force:

184,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 173

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 5%

industry: 5%

tourism: 50%

other services: 40% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:

7.6% (2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 80

Population below poverty line:

9.3% (2004)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: 27% (2000)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.4% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 69

Central bank discount rate:

5.25% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 82 5.25% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

5.5% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 143 5.5% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$1.284 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 130 $1.275 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of broad money:

$5.991 billion (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 114 $5.893 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$7.993 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 101 $7.883 billion (31 December 2008)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

citrus, vegetables; poultry


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

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:

2.045 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 132

Electricity - consumption:

1.902 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 135

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 206

Oil - consumption:

36,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 110

Oil - exports:

transshipments of 41,570 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 81

Oil - imports:

20,560 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 110

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 202

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 205

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 207

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 200

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 200

Natural gas - proved reserves:

NA cu m (1 January 2009 est.)

Current account balance:

-$283.2 million (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 95 -$1.442 billion (2007 est.)


$674 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 162

Exports - commodities:

mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables

Exports - partners:

US 35.99%, Singapore 18.64%, Poland 12.1%, Germany 6.24% (2009)


$2.401 billion (2006) country comparison to the world: 148

Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals

Imports - partners:

US 27.23%, South Korea 20.08%, Japan 14.55%, Singapore 5.89%, China 4.75%, Venezuela 4.26%, Italy 4.12% (2009)

Debt - external:

$342.6 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 168

Exchange rates:

Bahamian dollars (BSD) per US dollar - 1 (2009), 1 (2008), 1 (2007), 1 (2006)

Communications ::Bahamas, The

Telephones - main lines in use:

129,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 140

Telephones - mobile cellular:

358,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 166

Telephone system:

general assessment: modern facilities

domestic: totally automatic system; highly developed; the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network links 14 of the islands and is designed to satisfy increasing demand for voice and broadband internet services

international: country code - 1-242; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic submarine cable that provides links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 (2007)

Broadcast media:

2 television stations operated by government-owned, commercially run Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB); multi-channel cable TV subscription service is available; about 15 radio stations operating with BCB operating a multi-channel radio broadcasting network alongside privately-owned radio stations (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

21,939 (2010) country comparison to the world: 107

Internet users:

115,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 156

Transportation ::Bahamas, The


62 (2010) country comparison to the world: 78

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 23

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 13

914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 39

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 12

under 914 m: 22 (2010)


1 (2010)


total: 2,717 km country comparison to the world: 168 paved: 1,560 km

unpaved: 1,157 km (2002)

Merchant marine:

total: 1,170 country comparison to the world: 10 by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 229, cargo 191, carrier 2, chemical tanker 80, combination ore/oil 8, container 50, liquefied gas 78, passenger 100, passenger/cargo 29, petroleum tanker 222, refrigerated cargo 106, roll on/roll off 12, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 60

foreign-owned: 1,080 (Angola 5, Belgium 9, Bermuda 12, Brazil 1,
Canada 102, China 4, Croatia 1, Cyprus 14, Denmark 59, Finland 8,
France 19, Germany 39, Greece 209, Guernsey 6, Hong Kong 2,
Indonesia 2, Ireland 3, Italy 5, Japan 93, Jordan 2, Kuwait 2,
Malaysia 13, Monaco 14, Montenegro 2, Netherlands 22, Nigeria 2,
Norway 198, Poland 32, Saudi Arabia 16, Singapore 7, Slovenia 1,
Spain 9, Sweden 6, Switzerland 2, Thailand 4, Trinidad and Tobago 1,
Turkey 3, UAE 27, UK 24, US 100)

registered in other countries: 10 (Bolivia 1, Malta 1, Panama 7, Peru 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point

Military ::Bahamas, The

Military branches:

Royal Bahamian Defense Force: Land Force, Navy, Air Wing (2010)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age; no conscription (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 84,903 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 62,779

females age 16-49: 63,954 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 2,840

female: 2,758 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

0.7% of GDP (2009) country comparison to the world: 152

Transnational Issues ::Bahamas, The

Disputes - international:

disagrees with the US on the alignment the northern axis of a potential maritime boundary; continues to monitor and interdict drug dealers and Haitian and Cuban refugees in Bahamian waters

Illicit drugs:

transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center


Hellenica World