Fun Facts about the Bahamas

The flag of the Bahamas.
The flag of the Bahamas.

The Bahamas is a Commonwealth realm located in the Caribbean and is made up of hundreds of islands. The country is a popular tourist destination due to its tropical climate, given that the country enjoys over 340 days of sunlight annually. The following are fun facts about the Bahamas.

  • The Bahamas covers an area of 5,358 square miles and is made up of over 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The Bahamas lies in a relatively flat landscape, with the highest elevation in the country being the 207-foot high Mount Alvernia.
  • The origin of the name “Bahamas” is speculated to be from the ancient Amerindian Taino people who called the region “ba ha ma,” meaning “big upper middle land.”
  • The Taino (Lucayan) people are believed to be the first inhabitants of the islands, occupying the southern islands as early as the 11th century.
  • Christopher Columbus led a Spanish expedition which arrived in the Bahamas in 1492 and became the first Europeans to do so.
  • These early Spanish explorers forced most native Lucayans into slavery. Over 50% of Lucayans died from smallpox during this period.
  • Later, in 1718, The Bahamas officially became a British colony. The British placed a ban on slavery, which led to an influx of freed slaves into the country.
  • The Bahamas gained independence from Britain colonial rule on July 10, 1973.
  • Nassau is the largest city in the Bahamas and is the country’s capital city.
  • The Bahamas is a member of numerous international organizations including the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations (joined both in 1973).
  • The Bahamas has strong international relations, particularly with the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • The country lies in a hurricane-endemic region, and the Bahamas has been hit by devastating hurricanes, including the deadly 1999 Hurricane Floyd.
  • August is both the hottest and wettest month in the Bahamas.
  • Due to its tropical beaches, the Bahamas attracts over 5 million visitors annually.
  • The Bahamas is one of many British Commonwealth realms, and Queen Elizabeth II serves as the country's head of state.
  • Defense of the country is mandated to the Royal Bahamas Armed Forces, which is made up of an army, navy, and air force.
  • The Bahamas' national flower is the yellow elder and its national animal is the flamingo.
  • The Bahamas is among the richest countries in the Americas in terms of GDP per capita.
  • The official currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar.
  • Tourism is the Bahamas' chief foreign exchange earner, accounting for 50% of the country’s GDP.
  • The financial sector is another economic pillar in the Bahamas, which accounts for 15% of the GDP.
  • Agriculture accounts for about 7% of the GDP, and Bahamas is a food deficient country that relies on food imports.
  • The Bahamas has an estimated population of over 392,000 people and a population density of 65.3 persons per square mile.
  • The country has a relatively young population, as 93.1 % of its population is under 64 years of age.
  • The Bahamas has a life expectancy of 69.87 years.
  • Christianity is the dominant religion in the Bahamas. About 70% of Bahamians identify as Protestant Christians.
  • English is the official language in the Bahamas.
  • Junkanoo is the most popular festival in the country and is observed every New Year’s Day and Boxing Day.
  • Cricket is the most popular sport in the Bahamas and is the country’s national sport.
  • Education is a right mandated by the Constitution of the Bahamas, and 98.2% of the population is considered to be literate.
  • In the Bahamas there are 120 species of plants and 109 species of birds.
  • Inagua has the largest breeding colony of West Indian flamingoes in the world and is known as a birdwatcher’s paradise. The ratio of people to the flamingoes in the great Inagua is 1:61
  • Bahamians drive on the left side of the road, however, most vehicles in the country are left hand drive.
  • The Nasau Public Library, which is octagonal in shape, is a former jail.

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