According to 800zipcodes, the Bahamas comprises around 700 islands in the North Atlantic, which despite their geographical proximity to the US state of Florida belong to Central America. The good 300,000 residents are spread over only about 5 percent of the islands. The island of New Providence, on which the capital Nassau is located, is undoubtedly the most important. Other important islands are Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Abaco and Andros, the largest of the Bahamas islands.
The island state was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century and later given to Great Britain. The Bahamas have been independent since 1973. To the absolute vacation paradise make the Bahamas the white sandy beaches and the turquoise sea, which is also home to the third largest reef in the world off Cat Island. More than 200 species of birds can be observed in the 22 national parks on land. These national parks extend over 260,000 hectares of land and sea. One of the most popular national parks in the Bahamas is Central Andros National Park, it is also the largest national park in the islands. It has a total area of 117,000 hectares.
The name “Bahamas” comes from the Spanish conquerors of the time. These gave the waters around the islands the name “Bojo Mar”, which means “shallow sea” in German. From this the name Bahamas emerged in the course of time.
Behind the sonorous name hides a paradise for divers and snorkelers and a landscape of incredible beauty. In the Bahamas, people quickly recognized the potential that the islands hold and used this for the expansion of tourism. Today vacation traffic is one of the main industries in the Bahamas. Around 60 percent of the island’s population work in the tourist sector. Other important fields of employment in the Bahamas are sea and air transport.
Several scenes from various James Bond films were also filmed here. This of course boosted tourism, as numerous James Bond fans want to visit the islands and see the original filming locations.
Bahamas – key data
Area: 13,880 km² (land: 10,010 km², water: 3,870 km²)
Population: 313,312 (July 2011 estimate, CIA)
Population density: 24 residents per km²
Population growth: 0.922% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Nassau (231,520 residents, 2006)
Highest point: Mount Alvernia on Cat Island, 63 m
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean, 0 m
Form of government: The Bahamas has been a parliamentary monarchy since 1973, represented in the Commonwealth. The constitution also comes from 1973. The bicameral parliament consists of a 40-member House of Representatives and a Senate with 16 appointed members. The Bahamas have been independent from Great Britain since July 10, 1973.
Administrative structure: 21 districts: Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Exuma, Freeport, Fresh Creek, Governor’s Harbor, Green Turtle Cay, Harbor Island, High Rock, Inagua, Kemps Bay, Long Island, Marsh Harbor, Mayaguana, New Providence, Nichollstown and Berry Islands, Ragged Island, Rock Sound, Sandy Point, San Salvador and Rum Cay
Head of Government: Prime Minister Perry Christie, since May 8, 2012
Head of State: the British Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, since April 14, 2010 her representative in the Bahamas has been the Governor General Arthur Foulkes.
Language: English is the official language in the Bahamas, Creole is also spoken.
Religion: 32% Baptists; 20% Anglicans; 19% Roman Catholic Church. Several religious minorities such as Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists, Presbyterians, Seventh Day Adventists, and Muslims.
Local time: CET -6 h. Summer time in the Bahamas is valid from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October: CET -5 hours.
Telephone code: +1 (242)
Mains voltage: 120 V, 60 Hz. An adapter is required for American flat sockets.
Bahamas – geography
The Bahamas is about 970 km in the southeast of Florida (USA) and consists of more than 700, mostly small and flat islands. Around 2,400 cays (coral reefs) surround the Bahamas. These numbers sometimes fluctuate depending on whether a shallow inlet between two islands is interpreted as a separation or as a submerged land bridge (these inlets are often only a few centimeters deep).
Here is a detailed satellite image of the Bahamas.
The extension of the Bahamas runs over 650 km from the southeast coast of the USA on the northeast coast of Cuba to the northwest coast of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The west-east extension of the Bahamas is about 750 km.
In total, only 30 islands in the Bahamas are inhabited. Originally the fertile soil layer on the islands was relatively thin, but on the inhabited islands this has improved through cultivation. The two most populous islands are New Providence and Grand Bahama. Fewer people live on the so-called Out Islands or Family Islands. The uninhabited islands are characterized by rocky landscapes, swamps and coniferous forests. However, you will find extensive sandy beaches everywhere.
The islands, reefs and cliffs represent the highest elevations of the Bahama Banks. The surface of the banks is generally only 20 m below sea level. This explains the name, which is derived from the Spanish “bajamar” (low water). The islands themselves rarely protrude more than 30 m from the sea. The highest point in the Bahamas is Mount Alvernia on Cat Island with 63 m. Like the banks, the islands are mainly made of limestone and are largely karstified. Due to the water permeability of the limestone, there is not a single river, but there is a large number of underground cavities, some of which have been penetrated by seawater.
With an area of 5,957 km², Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas. The third largest barrier reef in the world is located here with a length of 225 km.
In addition to small stocks of tropical forests (including mahogany and ebony), pine trees in particular thrive on the more rainy islands.