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.

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Capital Nassau
Currency Bahamian dollar (BSD)
Population 377.3 thousand (2013)
Electricity 120 volt / 60 hertz (Type A, Type B)
Country code +1242
Time zone UTC−05:00
Emergencies +1-919 (emergency medical services, police, fire department)
Driving side left
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The word Bahamas is of Spanish origin and means “Shallow Water”.

Where did Columbus land?

When Christopher Columbus arrived in the West Indies in 1492, he landed on a Bahamian island he named San Salvador. The island now known as San Salvador (formerly called Watling Island) has long been thought to be the island where Columbus landed. But in truth, historians do not agree on the exact site of the landing. The possibility narrows between two islands: San Salvador and Samana Cay, about 80 miles southeast.

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.

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