Is the Bahamas part of the US? No, the Bahamas is not a part of the United States but a self-administered, independent country, which forms part of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Caribbean Community.
The archipelago was once a favourite with loyalists and pirates, but now it’s one of the swankiest travel destinations frequented by the rich. Anyone who enjoys boating, fishing, sailing, and snorkelling will find their hands full with things to do! For all the beach lovers out there, the Bahamas is a dream come true.
Was the Bahamas a British Colony?
The Bahamas became a British colony in 1718 and remained a part of the crown colony right until the country gained independence in 1973. Even though the islands were officially declared a British colony in 1718, early English refugees from Bermuda had begun settling in Eleuthra (then called Cigatoo) since 1648.
To learn more about the history of the Bahamas, check out: Bahamas History (Historical Places To Visit)
Where Is The Bahamas Located On The World Map?
The Bahamas is located in the Caribbean Sea, north of Cuba, northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and east of the Florida Keys. The Bahamas occupies around 180,000 square metres of ocean space.
What Continent Is The Bahamas In?
The Bahamas belongs to the Caribbean region of North America. The country is located off the south-eastern coast of the USA in North America.
First officially hoisted on the 10th of July 1973, the flag of the Bahamas consists of a black triangle at the hoist, followed by a horizontal golden band sandwiched between two further aquamarine bands. The black triangle represents the people of the Bahamas and their strength, while the golden band symbolises the sand and resources of the land. The two outer aquamarine bands represent the waters surrounding the islands.
Geography Of The Bahamas
The Caribbean archipelago is a set of beautiful islands with white powdery beaches. The Bahamas is the makeup of 700 islands and 2,400 cays, spread over an area of 5,358 square miles. Scientists are of the view that the archipelago was formed when Pangea (a single supercontinent that existed in the Permian period) broke apart. This eventually lead to a collision between the North American and Caribbean plates that formed the basement rocks on which the islands rest today.
Acklins, Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Berry Islands, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Exuma, Harbour Island, New Providence, Inagua, Rum Cay, Spanish Wells, San Salvador, and Ragged Island are the main islands of the archipelago.
At 206 feet, Mount Alvernia is the highest elevation in the Bahamas; the mountain is located on Cat Island.
You might be interested in this related article: Do the Bahamas have Volcanoes?
As of 2022, the Bahamas population is 393,248. The country is one of the high-income countries, with a GPD per capita of USD 28,607.90.
The people of the Bahamas are called Bahamians. Their origin can be traced back to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. You can also become a Bahamian by acquiring citizenship.
Most Bahamian people descend from the African groups in Ghana, the Bight of Biafra, Fula kingdoms, the Kingdom of Kongo, the Oyo Empire, Songhai and Mali. Most Bahamians are of Black African descent. More than half of the population reside on New Providence Islands, while the others live on Grand Bahama: the northernmost island of the country.
Another interesting read on the Bahamas: Weird Laws in the Bahamas
The official language of the Bahamas is English; however, there’s a Bahamian dialect called Bahamian Creole. The language is spoken by both white and black nationals, although you may detect slight differences between the two dialects. Bahamian Creole is widely spoken in some regions, especially where Black Bahamians of African ancestry live.
Bahamian dialect shares similar features with other English-based creoles in the Caribbean – people in Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia speak a similar dialect.
The Capital of the Bahamas is Nassau, originally known as Charles Towne. This is a popular port in New Providence Island and also one of the most-visited resorts in the country. With a temperate climate and white sandy beaches, Nassau attracts the rich and the famous from all around the world.
The city was first established in the 17th century as Charles Towne, and its current name was taken from a royal family in England; however, the name wasn’t used until 1729. Nassau has a few notable buildings, and these include the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral, a pink and white building that overlooks the city, Government House, Nassau Public Library, old forts, and the government buildings in Parliament Square. If you wander towards the eastern end of the harbour, you’ll find several marine gardens, while you can explore them on glass-bottomed boat tours.
This region of the Bahamas also nurtures rich vegetation composed of purple bougainvillaea, scarlet poinciana trees, and poinsettias. Furthermore, the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo, found west of the city, is home to flamingos; you will also encounter many tropical plant species here. Paradise Island is another noteworthy geographical feature of the city; this is a luxury resort, which is connected to the city by two bridges.
The capital of the Bahamas is a tourist haven, and it’s also an international banking centre. The city plays the role of a major exporter, with main exports like spiny lobster, fruits, vegetables, crude slat, rum, and other seafood. Nassau can be reached by both air and sea.
You might find these articles on Nassau, Bahamas useful:
What is the Bahamas Currency?
The currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar. The sign is $ and the code is BSD. This is the currency that has been in use in the Bahamas since 1966. One Bahamian dollar can be divided into 100 cents. In 2020, the country introduced a legal digital currency, which is called the Sand Dollar; the Bahamas is the first country to introduce a digital currency.
The Bahamian dollar is pegged to the US dollar. The idea is to maintain stability between the two nations and encourage economic development and economic affiliations.
Check out our article on: Can you use US dollars in the Bahamas?
Bahamians love to party and have fun. In the Bahamas, there’s always an event taking place, which is one of the many reasons that it’s considered a major tourist destination. Carnivals are a big part of the Bahamian event calendar.
While Junkanoo is the main cultural event of the year, the locals also give much consideration and time to several other festivals, including Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival, Independence Day, Emancipation Day, International Beer Festival, Discovery Day, and Bahamas Film Festival.
Read more on holidays celebrated in the Bahamas here: Is Thanksgiving Celebrated in the Bahamas?
Bahamian cuisine is all about fresh seafood, tropical fruits, spices and citrus flavours. After all, it’s a tropical island. Conch especially is super popular here. You’ll find numerous mouth-watering dishes made from it and obviously a lot of other flavour-packed, fresh seafood dishes.
You’ll also find the best spicy Bahamian Chicken stew and the BEST Rum Cakes here! Whether you decide to go fine-dine or try some Bahamian street food, you’ll only find deliciousness. Since the Bahamas are made out of countless small islands, the cuisine can vary, and it’s heaven!
Learn more about Bahamian cuisine here: Food & Drinks to Try in the Bahamas
The Bahamas Wildlife
With over 700 islands, the Bahamas homes an impressive range of wildlife and marine life. With the majestic Pink Flamingos as the national animal, the Bahamas also have many endemic species.
Exuma Pigs, Sandy Cay Rock Iguana, bottlenose and spotted dolphins, Eleuthera turtles, and Abaco Parrots are some of the stars here. There’s even a shark sanctuary. It’s vital, that you take a wildlife expert when exploring the diverse wildlife in the Bahamas, as they’re protected under the law. There are penalties for even disturbing wildlife. Because they’re a key part of what makes the Bahamas what it is.
Learn more about Bahamian Animals: Animals of the Bahamas
The Bahamas as a Holiday Destination
Nestled in the stunningly pristine turquoise waters of the Caribbean Ocean in the northwest of the West Indies, The Bahamas is one incredible holiday destination that is sought by every type of traveller.
Regardless of being small in size, The Bahamas has a healthy list of bragging rights.
For instance, did you know that the Bahamas have 700 islands – out of which only 30 are inhabited?
It homes the world’s second deepest blue hole. Found in Long Island, this is also called Dean’s Blue Hole (that doesn’t sound right). With a drop of 660 feet, it goes very deep.
The Bahamas also has the third-largest barrier reef on the planet. Stretched out for approx. 190 miles. The Andros Barrier Reef – is not just the 3rd largest reef on the planet, but one of the most breathtakingly beautiful under-ocean places you could ever explore.
Check out our comprehensive list of Places to Visit in the Bahamas: Places to Visit in the Bahamas
And finally, for all you travel-loving wine connoisseurs and sommeliers, here’s another reason to visit the Bahamas. It is home to the World’s third-largest wine cellar. Found in Nassau (the capital of the Bahamas, in New Providence) here is a place for you to indulge in some of the finest wine, paired up with some good cheeses and get tipsy in style. The wine collections are on a whole other level of premium luxury, and it even promises a world-class gourmet wine luncheon.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Bahamas
How Many Islands in the Bahamas are Inhabited?
Out of the 700 islands in the Bahamas, only about 30 islands are inhabited. Andros, which happens to be the largest island in the Bahamas is also one of the least populated with moderate tourism.
Can Bahamas Residents Gamble?
It is illegal for Bahamas residents to gamble as per the country’s current laws.
Will the Bahamas be Underwater?
Due to the low elevation of the islands in the Bahamas and the effects of climate change, there is a threat of the Bahamas going completely underwater within the next 80 years. Some studies point toward parts of Grand Bahama including Nassau, Abaco and Spanish Wells going underwater by 2050.
Why the Bahamas is so Expensive?
The Bahamas is generally considered expensive due to its positioning as a travel destination for high-net-worth tourists. This constant influx of high-spending tourists pushes costs of accommodation, food and other entertainment facilities to the higher end.
To add to this, the Bahamas dollar is pegged to the US dollar while most goods are imported into the country, resulting in heavy taxes being imposed by the customs.
How Far are the Bahamas from Florida?
The Bahamas is 300 miles or 482 kilometres from Florida. However, the eastern coast of Florida is considered to be only 50 miles or 80 kilometres from the western islands of the Bahamas.