An archipelagic state, the Bahamas includes over 700 islands, islets, and cays in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamas is located north of Hispaniola and Cuba, southeast of Florida, US, and northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Bahamas encompasses a territory of 470,000 square km of ocean space. It is the first New World land where Columbus landed in 1492. Though the islands of the Bahamas were initially populated by the native Lucayan people, the Spanish shipped the natives in great numbers as slaves to Hispaniola, leaving large parts of the Bahamas deserted between 1513 and 1648. After that, the British colonists from Bermuda started settling down in the Bahamas which formally became a British Crown colony in 1718. Later, thousands of American loyalists settled here with their African slaves in large plantations. Slavery was abolished in 1834 in the Bahamas, and today the descendants of the slaves constitute a majority of the population of the country. Currently, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas, and its economy is based primarily on finance and tourism.
The Five Biggest Cities In The Bahamas
Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas is located on the New Providence Island which is the business district of the country. Nearly 70% of the total population of the Bahamas live in Nassau. Historically considered to be a pirate stronghold, Nassau currently hosts the House of Assembly and various judicial departments of the country. Nassau’s modern growth started after the occupation of the city by immigrant American Loyalists and their slaves in the late 18th century following the American Revolutionary War. Nassau houses the Lynden Pindling International Airport, and ferries provide water travel services to the surrounding islands from Nassau. UNESCO recognizes the city as a City of Crafts and Folk Art, one of the three countries to enjoy this title.
Lucaya, ranking second among the biggest cities in the Bahamas, is located on the Grand Bahama Island about 160 km east-northeast of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale. Lucaya is one of the prime tourist destination in the Bahamas. It has a large number of hotels, resorts, and attractions. A dolphinarium, scuba diving, and shark feeding dives are some of the attractions and activities offered to tourists visiting this city.
Freeport, ranking third among the biggest cities in the Bahamas is a free trade zone located on the Grand Bahama Island. The city houses the Grand Bahama International Airport and domestic Bahamian ferry services. The strategic location of Freeport just 130 km off the coast of Florida’s Palm Beach, has rendered the city an ideal center for international business. Tourists visit the city in great numbers but tourism witnessed a downfall after the major hurricanes of 2004, but the loss is now nearly completely recovered.
Located on the island of Grand Bahama, West End is the westernmost and oldest town in the region. It is the capital of Grand Bahama Island. It hosts the West End Airport which serves mostly private aircrafts.
Coopers Town is a small town in the second largest island in the Bahamas which is Abaco. The town houses a number of prominent residents of the Bahamas. The Albert Bootle family from Grand Bahama settled here in the 1870’s. The former Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham also belongs to Coopers Town. Pineapple and sea sponge harvesting were the major industries in the town, but the absence of natural harbor has discouraged the industrial growth of the Coopers Town.