a flag for every occasion
Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II (1952)
Governor-General: Sir Orville Alton Turnquest (1995)
Prime Minister: Hubert Ingraham (1992)
Area: 5,382 sq mi (13,940 sq km)
Population (2001 est.): 297,852 (average annual rate of natural increase: 1.2%); birth rate: 19.1/1000; infant mortality rate: 17.0/1000; density per sq mi: 55
Capital and largest city (1991 census): Nassau, 171,542
Monetary unit: Bahamian dollar
Ethnicity/race: black 85%, white 15%
Religions: Baptist 29%, Anglican 23%, Roman Catholic 22%, others
Literacy rate: 90% (1963)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (1998 est.): $5.58 billion; per capita $20,000. Real growth rate: 3%. Inflation: 1.3%. Unemployment: 9%. Arable land: 1%. Agriculture: citrus, vegetables; poultry. Labor force: 148,000 (1996); tourism, 40%; other services, 50%; industry, 5%; agriculture, 5% (1995 est.). Industries: tourism, banking, cement, oil refining and transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe. Natural resources: salt, aragonite, timber. Exports: $362.8 million (1998): pharmaceuticals, cement, rum, crawfish, refined petroleum products. Imports: $1.74 billion (1998): foodstuffs, manufactured goods, crude oil, vehicles, electronics. Major trading partners: U.S., Switzerland, UK, Italy, Japan.
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 77,000 (1994); mobile cellular: 2,400 (1993). Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998). Radios: 215,000 (1997). Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997). Televisions: 67,000 (1997). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (1999).
Transportation: Railways: 0 km. Highways: total: 2,693 km; paved: 1,546 km; unpaved: 1,147 km (1997 est.). Ports and harbors: Freeport, Matthew Town, Nassau. Airports: 62 (1999 est.).
International disputes: none.
The Bahamas are an archipelago of about 700 islands and 2,400 uninhabited islets and cays lying 50 mi off the east coast of Florida. They extend for about 760 mi (1,223 km). Only about 30 of the islands are inhabited; the most important is New Providence (80 sq mi; 207 sq km), on which the capital, Nassau, is situated. Other islands include Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Andros, Cat Island, and San Salvador (or Watling's Island).
The Arawak Indians were the first inhabitants of the Bahamas. Columbus's first encounter with the New World on Oct. 12, 1492, was the Bahamian island of San Salvador. The British first built settlements on the islands in the 17th century. In the early 18th century, the Bahamas were a favorite pirate haunt.
The Bahamas were a crown colony from 1717 until they were granted internal self-government in 1964. The islands moved toward greater autonomy in 1968 after the overwhelming victory in general elections of the Progressive Liberal Party, led by Prime Minister Lynden O. Pindling, over the predominantly white United Bahamians Party. With its new mandate from the 85% black population, Pindling's government negotiated a new constitution with Britain under which the colony became the Commonwealth of the Bahama Islands in 1969. On July 10, 1973, the Bahamas became an independent nation.
Hubert A. Ingraham, of the Free National Movement Party, was sworn in as prime minister on Aug. 20, 1992, ending 25 years of rule by the Progressive Liberal Party. Once heavily reliant on agriculture and fishing, the Bahamas has diversified its economy into tourism, financial services, and international shipping. While it enjoys a per capita income that is among the top 30 in the world, there is a big gap between the urban middle class and poor farmers. In addition, the nation is vulnerable to hurricanes, which regularly inflict serious damage.
See Also: The Islands Of The Bahamas http://bahamas.com
(Source: www.infoplease.com )
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