Bahamas facts: learn all about these terrific tropical islands!

Beautiful beaches, wonderful wildlife and colourful carnivals  - it’s time to learn all about the Bahamas!




Bahamas facts


OFFICIAL NAME: Commonwealth of the Bahamas
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional parliamentary democracy
CAPITAL: Nassau    
POPULATION: 374,000
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: English, Creole
MONEY: Bahamian dollar
AREA: 13,939 square kilometers



Flag of the Bahamas


Bahamas flag


Map of the Bahamas


Bahamas map


The Bahamas: geography and nature


Located in the Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas consists of 700 tropical islands. Only about 30 of them are inhabited by people. New Providence - one of the largest islands and the location of  Nassau, the capital city - is home to 70 percent of the country’s population.

Turtles, parrots, iguanas and the world’s largest colony of pink flamingos all thrive in the warm climate of the Bahamas - where the temperature here rarely drops below 15.5ºC! The warm waters surrounding the islands boast colorful fish such as blue tang and stoplight parrotfish. And Andros Island features the 225km-long Andros Barrier Reef - one of the longest coral reefs in the world. No wonder this tropical country is such a hot spot!


Fish swim along a coral reef in the Bahamas.


The history of the Bahamas


Humans have lived on the islands of the Bahamas since around the fourth century. In the 1600s the area drew pirates such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack. These bold buccaneers looted cargo ships sailing along trading routes that circled the islands.

The territory came under British rule in 1718, and would remain that way until 1973, when the Bahamas gained its independence. Today the spot is a popular destination for tourists - over five million people visit each year to check out the country’s wildlife, culture and beautiful beaches!


A beautiful beach in the Bahamas


Party time on the Bahamas


The people of the Bahamas are called Bahamians - and boy can they throw a party! On the 26 December each year, they celebrate Junkanoo, one of the most entertaining carnivals in the world! People in colourful costumes parade through the streets of Nassau to the sounds of drums, horns, cowbells and whistles.


 musician plays at a Junkanoo festival in the Bahamas.

This celebration, which may have started as early as the 16th century, honours the country’s history with traditional music and dancing. It’s a time to have fun, Bahamian style!




Credits
Words adapted from feature by Angela Modany, NGS Staff.
Bahamas Map: National Geographic Maps. Bahamas Beach: John Wollwerth, Dreamstime. Bahamas Fish: Vilainecrevette, Dreamstime. Bahamas Flamingos: Richard Carey, Dreamstime. Bahamas Government: Enrique Gomez, Dreamstime. Bahamas Junkanoo: Svetlana Day, Dreamstime.
 

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