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Date: 2015-9-30 18:47:37

Brief Introduction to Bahamas

The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is an island country of the Lucayan Archipelago consisting of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean; north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic); northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands; southeast of the U.S. state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys. Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. The designation of “Bahamas” can refer to either the country or the larger island chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands.


As stated in the mandate/manifesto of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the BThe Bahamas is a former British colony which gained independence in 1973, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch, although it has had its own parliament for over 260 years as an independent member of the British Commonwealth. The Bahamas comprises of over 700 islands in the Caribbean Sea to the southeast of Florida. Since independence, the Bahamas has enjoyed a stable democratic government.


In the same time zone as New York, the Bahamas is less than an hour by air from Miami and is directly accessible from a number of other major cities. The islands, with their tropical climate, attract millions of visitors each year.


In terms of gross domestic product per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada). Its economy is based on tourism and finance.


The Bahamas’ economic freedom score is 68.7, making its economy the 41st freest in the 2015 Index. Its overall score has decreased by 1.1 points, with notable declines in financial freedom and labor freedom offsetting improvements in freedom from corruption and monetary freedom. The Bahamas’ overall score continues to be higher than the regional and world averages, and its economy is the 4th freest out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region.


Over the past half-decade, economic freedom in the Bahamas has improved by 0.7 point despite score declines in the past two years. Gains in economic freedom have been led by strong improvements in freedom from corruption and trade freedom, which have advanced by 16 and 10 points, respectively. More modest improvements have occurred in monetary and fiscal freedoms.


Despite some improvement, corruption remains a problem, and regulatory inefficiency continues to hold back the economic dynamism that should result from the competitive financial sector and a tax regime with no personal or corporate income tax. Ultimately, it is the government’s ability to promote more broad-based reforms that will determine the prospects for a long-term and diversified economic expansion.


In 2012, Prime Minister Perry Christie and his Progressive Liberal Party won a five-year term. The Bahamian economy centers on tourism, international banking, investment management, and financial services, with tourism accounting for more than 60 percent of GDP. While accession to the World Trade Organization would be a positive step, politicians and the private sector are locked in a dispute about how to replace the revenues that would be lost. Due to its geographic location just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, the country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly shipments to the U.S. and Europe, and is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the U.S.


Capital: Nassau


Flag: Three horizontal stripes of blue, gold, and blue, with a black triangle at the hoist.


Anthem: March on Bahamaland.


Monetary Unit: The Bahamas dollar (b$) of 100 cents has been in use since May 1966. As of June 1972, the Bahamas dollar ceased to be part of the sterling area and was set on a par with the US dollar. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50 cents, and 1, 2, and 5 dollars, and notes of 50 cents and 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. b$1.00000 (or us$1=b$1; as of 2015).


Weights and Measures: Imperial weights and measures are in use.


Holidays: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, first Friday in June; Independence Day, 10 July; Emancipation Day, first Monday in August; Discovery Day, 12 October; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Whitmonday.


Time: 7 am = noon GMT.


Language: English is the official language of the Bahamas. Haitian immigrants speak French or a Creole patois.


Ethnic Groups: About 85% of the population are descendants of slaves brought to the Western Hemisphere from Africa. About 12% of the total is white, largely of British origin, and 3% are Asian and Hispanic.ahamas territory encompasses 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean space.


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


The Bahamas became a British Crown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American War of Independence, the Crown resettled thousands of American Loyalists in the Bahamas; they brought their slaves with them and established plantations on land grants. Blacks constituted the majority of the population from this period.


The Bahamas became a haven for freed African slaves: the Royal Navy resettled Africans here liberated from illegal slave ships; American slaves and Seminoles escaped here from Florida; and the government freed American slaves carried on United States domestic ships that had reached the Bahamas due to weather. Slavery in the Bahamas was abolished in 1834. Today the descendants of slaves and free Africans make up nearly 90% of the population; issues related to the slavery years are part of society.


The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch. In terms of gross domestic product per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada). Its economy is based on tourism and finance.