Facts at a glance:

Capital: Nassau (New Providence Island)

Form of Government: Parliamentary democracy within the British Commonwealth.

Chief of State: British Monarch: King Charles III, represented by Governor-General Cornelius A. Smith

Head of Government: Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon.Perry Gladstone Christie, PC, MP.

Location: An archipelago of 700 islands and more than 2,000 cays extending in a 1200 km (750 mi.) arc from 27EN, 50 miles off the southeastern coast of Florida to the northern edge of the Caribbean, at 21EN.

Area: 13,878 (5,358 sq. mi.)

Population: 414,656 (2024 est.)

Ethnic Make-Up: 86% of African descent, 6% European and 8% other.

Adult Literacy: 96%

Currency: Bahamian Dollar (B$)

Exchange rate: U.S.$1.00 = B$ 1.00

Time Zone: EST; GMT-5

Phone Code: (242) plus local 7-digit number

History: Prior to 1492, when Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the New World, allegedly in these islands, the Bahamas Islands were occupied by aboriginal peoples known as Lucayans. The islands were occupied by the English, French settlers, Dutch boaters and Spanish sea merchants.

From 1670 to 1838, the British fortified the island of New Providence, using Lord Proprietors and Royal Governors to administer and regulate all activity. The islands became a British colony in 1717. Following the U.S. Revolutionary War of 1776-83, about 6,000 loyalists and their slaves settled in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas became an independent nation within the British Commonwealth on July 10, 1973.

UWI Connections: UWI Open Campus: The Bahamas

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