The Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Bahamian dollar (BSD)
The Bahamas is an archipelago, made up of around 700 formations. It is located north of Cuba and southeast of Florida, on the Lucayan archipelago. Taino people, later known as Lucayans, are the earliest known inhabitants of the Bahamas, prior to Christopher Columbus’s arrival and claim of the Bahamas for Spain. Following significant activity by pirates off the coast of the Bahamas, the British claimed the islands and they became a Crown Colony in 1718. They remained a colony of Britain until independence in 1973. The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth and CARICOM.
The population of the Bahamas is approximately 391,000 as of 2016, with a total land mass of 470,000 sq km. Persons from the Bahamas are referred to as ‘Bahamian’. Of the 700 formations, inhabited islands include Rum Cay, Andros Island, Bimini and New Providence, which houses the capital city, Nassau. The official language of the Bahamas is English, although Bahamianese, or Bahamian Dialect, an English based creole language, is widely spoken. In addition to Bahamianese, it is estimated that around 25% of the total population are of Haitian descent, and therefore speak Haitian creole, a French-based creole language.
The Bahamas operates as a Parliamentary Democracy and a Constitutional Monarchy. Under the Constitution, Queen Elizabeth II is the current Head of State, and the Prime Minister is the Head of Government. The Queen is represented locally by a Governor General. Parliament therefore consists of Her Majesty, an appointed Senate and an elected House of Assembly