The Bahamas (officially named The Commonwealth of The Bahamas), or The Bahama Islands, is an archipelago consisting of many islands in the Atlantic Ocean east of Florida. The country is made up of about 2,000 islands if you include the cays, which are small islands that are formed on coral reefs. Not densely populated, the Bahamas is renowned for its natural beauty, unique culture, and is a popular tropical vacation destination.
The word Bahamas is of Spanish origin and means “Shallow Water”.
Arawak Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World on San Salvador Island in 1492; see Voyages of Columbus. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. The Bahamas were also infamous as a pirate nest with some even trying to form a pirate Republic. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. Because of its geography, the country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly shipments to the US, and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.