The official name is The Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Located in the West Indies. The total area is 13,939 km2. The official language is English. Population – 303.6 thousand people. (census 2000). The capital is the city of Nassau (210 thousand people) on the island of New Providence. National holiday – Independence Day July 10 (since 1973). The monetary unit is the Bahamian dollar.
Member of the UN and its specialized organizations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the OAS, the Non-Aligned Movement, Leningrad NPP, CARICOM, etc., an observer at the WTO, etc.
Geography of the Bahamas
They are located between 20°57′ and 26°57′ north latitude and 72°57′ and 80° west longitude. Washed by the Atlantic Ocean. Consist of 700 islands (29 large) and approx. 2.5 thousand reefs. They are divided into the most populated islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama and the rest, officially called Family Islands. The length of the coastline is 3542 km. The Bahamas stretch for 1220 km from the northeast to the southwest. They are separated from the north of America by the Florida and New Bahama Straits, from Cuba by the Old Bahama Strait. The largest islands (km2): Andros (4144), Great Abaco (2010), Great Inagua (1723), Grand Bahama (1114). Islands of coral origin, the surface is slightly hilly, the highest point is Alvernia on Cat Island (63 m). Aragonite deposits. The climate is tropical.
The average temperature in December-February is +21°С (+19°С in the north), in July-August +24°С (+32°С in the south). 310 sunny days a year. The average annual precipitation decreases from north to south from 1600 to 1100 mm. From June to November, hurricanes are frequent, causing flooding. Small rivers on the island of Andros, on the rest there are no surface sources. There are many salt lakes connected with the sea. Forest areas have been preserved on the islands of Big Abaco, Andros, Big Bahama, New Providence, the total area is 842 thousand hectares. In the rest of the territory, thorny sparse shrubs grow. The soils are lateritic red-brown, fertile. The animal world is poor, there are no large animals. The Bahamian raccoon is the only predator of the West Indies. Bats, lizards, incl. iguanas. A large species diversity of birds, of which 28 species are endemic, among which the local parrot stands out.
Population of the Bahamas
According to Countryaah, the population of the Bahamas, according to an estimate for 2002, amounted to 314 thousand people. 40 islands are inhabited, almost 70% of the inhabitants are concentrated in New Providence. The population is increasing by 1.4% per year. Birth rate 18.7%, mortality – 7.5%, infant mortality – 17.1 people. per 1000 newborns (2002 estimate). Life expectancy 69.9 years, incl. women 73.5, men 66.3. The share of the urban population is 89%. There are 100 women for 96 men. At the age of 0-14 years – 29% of the population, 15-64 years – 64.7%, 65 years and older – 6.3%. Adult literacy is 96.2%. 85% of the Bahamians are descendants of African slaves, 10% are English settlers, the rest are from Asia and the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America, the mulatto stratum is insignificant. In everyday life, the local dialect of the English language is used with the inclusion of words of African origin.
History of the Bahamas
The Bahamas have been inhabited by Lucayan Indian tribes of the Arawak language group since the 5th century BC. n. e. The island of San Salvador became the first territory of the New World, discovered by H. Columbus on October 12, 1492, who proclaimed the Bahamas a Spanish possession. English colonists landed in 1647, and in 1670 the Bahamas were declared British property. From the 17th century Before the slave trade was banned in 1807, 10,000 slaves were imported from Africa. For the possession of the islands, for almost 100 years, there was a struggle between Great Britain and Spain, finally assigned to Great Britain in 1783. After the American War of Independence, a large number of colonists, who remained loyal to the king, moved to the Bahamas along with their slaves. In 1739, a Legislative Assembly was created, the right to vote in which was received only by white residents; it was extended to blacks in 1807. In 1947, secret ballot was introduced, in 1958 – universal suffrage. In 1964, internal self-government was granted to the Bahamas, and the local government began to be formed based on the results of elections. Independence was proclaimed on July 10, 1973. At the beginning of 1980s in connection with the transformation of the Bahamas into a drug trafficking center, relations with the United States deteriorated sharply. The measures taken and the reduction in drug trafficking contributed to the normalization of the Bahamian-American relations. The problem reappeared in 1990s, drug trafficking is estimated at 200-300 million US dollars, or 4-7% of the GDP of the Bahamas.