- Bahamas, The
officially Commonwealth of The BahamasArchipelago and nation consisting of about 700 islands and numerous cays, northwestern edge of the West Indies, lying southeast of Florida and north of Cuba.Area: 5,386 sq mi (13,950 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 309,000. Capital: Nassau (on New Providence Island). The people are a blend of African and European ancestry, the former a legacy of the slave trade. Language: English (official). Religion: Christianity. Currency: Bahamian dollar. Chief among the islands, from north to south, are Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, New Providence, Andros, Cat, and Inagua; New Providence has most of the population. All are composed of coraline limestone and lie mostly only a few feet above sea level; the highest point is Mount Alvernia (206 ft [63 m]) on Cat Island. There are no rivers. The country's market economy is heavily dependent on tourism, for which gambling is a particular attraction, and on international financial services. Most foodstuffs are imported from the U.S.; fish and rum are significant exports. It is a constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses; its chief of state is the British monarch, represented by a governor-general, and the head of government is the prime minister. The islands were inhabited by Lucayan Indians when Christopher Columbus sighted them on Oct. 12, 1492. He is thought to have landed on San Salvador (Watling) Island. The Spaniards made no attempt to settle but carried out slave raids that depopulated the islands; when English settlers arrived in 1648 from Bermuda, the islands were uninhabited. They became a haunt of pirates and buccaneers, and few of the ensuing settlements prospered. The islands enjoyed some prosperity following the American Revolution, when loyalists fled the U.S. and established cotton plantations there. They were a centre for blockade runners during the American Civil War. Not until the development of tourism after World War II did permanent economic prosperity arrive. The Bahamas was granted internal self-government in 1964 and became independent in 1973.
* * *▪ 2009Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2008 est.): 335,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Arthur Dion HannaHead of government:Prime Minister Hubert IngrahamBahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced in January 2008 that the government was drawing up a new energy strategy to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels; the measure was designed to make it easier and far more economical for consumers to access alternative energy sources and more energy-efficient technologies generally. That same month the U.S. rating agency Standard and Poor's lowered its outlook on The Bahamas from positive to stable following a reassessment of the country's growth and investment prospects, given its close tourism, financial, and trade links with the U.S.Agreement was reached in February for the Venezuelan-owned BORCO (Bahamas Oil Refining Co.) oil-storage terminal in Grand Bahama to be taken over by a partnership of private equity company First Reserve Corp. and Dutch firm Royal Vopak, holding 80% and 20%, respectively. The long-term plan was to spend $550 million to make the terminal a key oil-transhipment hub in the Americas. The Bahamas seemed ambivalent, however, about having liquid natural gas regasification plants located in the country; a government spokesman insisted in July that LNG was “not a priority.”Amnesty International in May criticized The Bahamas for its treatment of Haitian immigrants. AI pointed out that Haitians arriving in the country were “ill-treated” and were being “deported in large numbers.”David Renwick▪ 2008Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2007 est.): 331,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Arthur Dion HannaHead of government:Prime Ministers Perry Christie and, from May 4, Hubert IngrahamIn January 2007 a government spokesman of The Bahamas announced that the Freeport Container Port (FCP) would undergo a $250 million expansion; in recent years the Bahamian port had emerged as one of the main transshipment hubs in the region.The U.S. and The Bahamas agreed in January that the antidrug effort between the two countries would remain fully operational, despite the planned withdrawal of seven helicopters from The Bahamas by October. The aircraft would be replaced in 2008 by three other helicopters and additional drug-fighting equipment.The Free National Movement (FNM) party, led by Hubert Ingraham, defied the pundits and won the general election in The Bahamas in May by a relatively comfortable margin. The FNM obtained 23 seats, and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) won 18. The FNM had held power twice previously (1992–97 and 1997–2002). PLP leader and outgoing prime minister Perry Christie promised “intense” and “sustained” opposition.Analysts did not predict any major changes in government policy, since both parties were committed to the free market, foreign investment, and fiscal prudence. In his first policy statement, Prime Minister Ingraham announced the privatization of Bahamasair, the money-losing government-owned airline.David Renwick▪ 2007Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2006 est.): 327,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governors-General Paul Adderley (acting) and, from February 1, Arthur Dion HannaHead of government:Prime Minister Perry ChristieThe Bahamas opened an embassy in Beijing in January 2006 with an eye toward attracting Chinese tourists, who were traveling internationally in increasing numbers.The central bank reported in April that the number of banks and trust companies licensed to operate in The Bahamas—one of the pillars on which the economy was based—continued to shrink following the requirement that such institutions needed to establish a physical presence in the country. There were 250 such entities licensed at the end of 2005, down from 266 the previous year.The U.S. emphasized in a statement in May that it was not scaling down its assistance to Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos, known as OPBAT, which was set up in 1986 to try to stop the flow of illicit drugs from South America to the U.S., particularly via The Bahamas. Some reports suggested that the U.S. would use its resources to fight the war against terrorism instead.In August The Bahamas became the third country in the insular Caribbean to install equipment to detect nuclear weapons in containers passing through its ports. The equipment, provided under the auspices of the U.S.'s Container Security Initiative, was placed at the main container-transhipment facility at Freeport, Grand Bahama.David Renwick▪ 2006Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2005 est.): 303,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Dame Ivy DumontHead of government:Prime Ministers Perry Christie, Cynthia Pratt (acting) from May 4, and, from June 22, ChristieAfter suffering what officials referred to as a “slight stroke,” Prime Minister Perry Christie was replaced on May 4, 2005, by Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt, who served as acting prime minister until doctors pronounced Christie recovered on June 22.In May it was announced that Florida Power & Light had temporarily shelved its search for a long-term provider of liquefied natural gas (LNG) because none of the bidders planning to re-gasify LNG in The Bahamas could meet all of the utility's requirements. The news put The Bahamian government's hope for two LNG re-gas projects in jeopardy.A spokesman reaffirmed in July that the government remained committed to privatizing the Bahamas Telecommunications Co., though an attempt to find a buyer had collapsed in 2003 after bids from two potential investors were rejected. The government decided to talk directly to interested parties until it found one that had the necessary expertise and financial capability to operate the country's telecommunications system.American independent oil and gas producer Kerr-McGee was reportedly encouraged to continue evaluating The Bahamas offshore region as an exploration location for hydrocarbons. Though the country currently had no domestic production, the company felt that there was potential for oil. Kerr-McGee held licenses for 2.6 million ha (6.5 million ac) on The Bahamas continental shelf.Hurricane Wilma struck The Bahamas on October 24, causing much damage to Grand Bahama and the Bimini Islands. The Biminis were further shaken in December after a seaplane carrying mostly Bimini passengers crashed near Miami, killing all 20 people on board.David Renwick▪ 2005Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2004 est.): 317,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Ivy DumontHead of government:Prime Minister Perry ChristieThe Bahamas government announced in March 2004 that it had made “significant progress” on a key aspect of the fight against money laundering—mutual legal assistance treaties with other countries. “Positive responses” relating to legal assistance matters had been forthcoming following requests made by treaty partners.The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said in May that the tourism industry, financial services, and transshipment activity would remain The Bahamas' key sources of economic growth up to 2007. It cautioned, however, that the country was vulnerable to “external shocks” of both a natural and an economic nature. True to the IDB's prediction, The Bahamas did not escape the widespread destruction wrought by hurricanes in 2004, one of the worst such seasons on record. Hurricane Frances in early September caused at least $25 million in damage to the Family Islands, and later that month Hurricane Jeanne generated additional damages, this time mostly in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Prime Minister Perry Christie looked to the European Union to provide most of the money for reconstruction.In June the government signaled that the setting up of a national lottery was “under review.” It was estimated that about $100 million was being spent annually by Bahamians on the Florida Lottery.David Renwick▪ 2004Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2003 est.): 314,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Ivy DumontHead of government:Prime Minister Perry ChristieIn a report published in February 2003, the U.S. Department of State identified The Bahamas as a “major” Caribbean transit route for Colombian cocaine headed for the U.S.; an estimated 10–15% of cocaine shipments passed through the islands, and about a dozen trafficking organizations were allegedly based in the scattered Bahamian archipelago.Plans moved ahead for the delivery of liquefied natural gas from a regasification facility in Freeport, Grand Bahama, to Florida when the Federal Energy Regulation Commission gave preliminary approval to Tractebel Electricity and Gas to complete the $585 million 145-km (90-mi)-long Calypso pipeline. Applied Energy Services and the El Paso (Texas) Corp. were also interested in supplying gas to Florida via The Bahamas. American oil company Kerr McGee agreed in June to explore for oil offshore The Bahamas in a 2.6-million-ha (6.5-million-ac) licensed area in the Blake Plateau Basin, 160 km (100 mi) north of Freeport.Hotel expansion in The Bahamas took a major leap forward in May when Kerzner International signed an agreement with the government for a $600 million expansion of the Atlantis complex on Paradise Island.In July, The Bahamas went to the international bond market for the first time in six years to raise $200 million, partly to refinance an existing loan. The country had an A3 rating from Moody's.David Renwick▪ 2003Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2002 est.): 309,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Ivy DumontHead of government:Prime Ministers Hubert Ingraham and, from May 3, Perry ChristieIn a referendum in February 2002 organized by the Free National Movement (FNM) government, Bahamians voted against a package of proposals that included ending all discrimination against women in the country's constitution and creating an independent Electoral Boundaries Commission. The long-standing commitment to a tax-free environment in The Bahamas was reaffirmed even as the country bowed to pressure from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and agreed to improve the transparency of the tax system and exchange information with OECD members on criminal tax matters if required.The Progressive Liberal Party, led by lawyer Perry Christie, returned to power in an impressive 29–11-seat victory over the FNM in the May general election. The FNM, which had governed The Bahamas under Hubert Ingraham for 10 years, lost 28 of the 35 seats it had held before the poll. Independents obtained four seats. As prime minister, Christie was not expected to alter fundamentally the country's tried and tested development strategy of focusing on financial services, tourism, and ship registration.Privatization of state assets remained on the agenda. The new government announced in July that the state airline, Bahamasair, would be sold off, as would 49% of The Bahamas Telecommunications Corp.David Renwick▪ 2002Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2001 est.): 298,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governors-General Orville Turnquest and, from November 13, Ivy Dumont (acting)Head of government:Prime Minister Hubert IngrahamThe Bahamian government moved smartly against dubious offshore banks in February 2001; it closed down two operations and revoked the licenses of five others following the publication of a U.S. Senate report that described them as conduits for money laundering. In June The Bahamas was removed from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force list of countries with inadequate laws to fight money laundering. The government had launched several initiatives, including the banning of anonymous ownership of the more than 100,000 international business companies registered in the country.In May the government announced budget spending of $1,035,000,000 designed to stimulate economic growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had forecast growth of 3.5%, down from about 5% in 2000. The reduction was partly based on the sluggish U.S. economy. The Bahamas was dependent on the U.S. for tourists and property investors in particular. The IMF did commend the government, however, for adhering to “sound” macroeconomic policies.Tommy Turnquest, leader of the governing Free National Movement, was designated at an internal party poll in August to succeed Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham upon his forthcoming retirement.David Renwick▪ 2001Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(2000 est.): 295,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Orville TurnquestHead of government:Prime Minister Hubert IngrahamThe highly successful offshore financial sector of The Bahamas was rocked to its foundations twice in June 2000, once when the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) included the country in a list of world centres practicing so-called harmful tax competition and also when the Financial Action Task Force, an arm of the OECD, accused it, along with other countries, of not taking sufficient action against money launderers.The Free National Movement government of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was galvanized into unexpected action by these accusations and announced to stunned bankers that it would substantially relax its traditional secrecy laws to permit The Bahamas to cooperate with other jurisdictions in identifying funds that were the fruit of criminal activity, such as drug trafficking. Such secrecy had been maintained for decades and had facilitated the country's emergence as one of the world's leading offshore financial havens.Ingraham also said that The Bahamas would enter into a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the U.S., something that Washington had been pressing it to do for some time.Former prime minister Sir Lynden Pindling died in August. (See Obituaries.)David Renwick▪ 2000Area:13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population(1999 est.): 297,000Capital:NassauChief of state:Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Orville TurnquestHead of government:Prime Minister Hubert IngrahamThe Bahamian government's privatization policy ran into difficulties in March and April 1999 when Bahamas Telecommunications Corp. workers rejected the retrenchment package offered in an effort to reduce staff by 500 to 1,000 prior to the assumption of control by a private partner. The government offered 30 months' full pay for those leaving voluntarily, whereas the workers union demanded three years' wages.The high crime rate in The Bahamas continued to be a potential threat to the vital tourism industry. By the end of the first half of 1999, there had already been 25 murders on New Providence Island, where the capital, Nassau, is located, compared with 29 for the whole of 1998.In June Lloyd Werft of Germany, one of the world's leading shipyards, announced it would join forces with the Grand Bahama Port Authority to establish an ultramodern $70 million–$75 million repair facility at Freeport. During the hurricane season The Bahamas was hit by Hurricanes Dennis (August) and Floyd (September). In both cases the Abacos islands in the northeastern part of the archipelago suffered most. Damage was largely confined to private houses and phone and power lines, however; the multibillion-dollar hotel infrastructure escaped largely unscathed.David Renwick▪ 1999Area: 13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population (1998 est.): 293,000Capital: NassauChief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Orville TurnquestHead of government: Prime Minister Hubert IngrahamHotel construction continued apace in The Bahamas during 1998. Among the new projects were the second phase of the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort, a $20 million expansion of the Breezes Hotel to provide 210 new rooms and suites, and a new hotel, marina, and residential housing project called the Old Bahamas Bay Resort.The government continued its privatization drive, agreeing in March to divest partially the assets of the Bahamas Telecommunications Corp. The Gulf Union Bank was liquidated early in the year when the central bank, which had earlier ordered Gulf Union to cease operations, could find no suitable buyer.An outcry was raised during the year by a group of "concerned Christians" against the visit of cruise ships specifically organized for gay tourists. The government refused to ban such cruises, arguing that The Bahamas could not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.Repatriation of Cuban refugees from The Bahamas continued in 1998, with 126 being sent back in May, followed by an additional 68 in June. The U.S. government requested that The Bahamas adopt a "humanitarian" attitude to the question of Cuban refugees.DAVID RENWICK▪ 1998Area: 13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi)Population (1997 est.): 287,000Capital: NassauChief of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Orville TurnquestHead of government: Prime Minister Hubert IngrahamFormer Bahamas prime minister Sir Lynden Pindling was criticized by the commission of inquiry that had been established to probe the management of state enterprises under the administration of his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government. When the commission presented its report on the Hotel Corp. in February, Sir Lynden was found to have acted improperly when he accepted loans of $750,000 from two businessmen who held contracts with the corporation, of which he was chairman. The committee, however, did not recommend any action against him.In March the Free National Movement, led by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, solidified its hold on office by winning the general election with an increased majority of 34 seats, 6 being retained by the PLP. The number of seats in the House of Assembly had been reduced from 49 to 40 for the election to create more evenly balanced constituencies. Sir Lynden held on to his own seat but promptly resigned as PLP leader, giving way to Perry Christie, a former minister of agriculture and trade.After a 25-year career, during which he took The Bahamas to independence from Great Britain, Sir Lynden in July announced his withdrawal from active politics. He admitted to "failures and disappointments" in his farewell address to the parliament and offered "regrets" for his political shortcomings.DAVID RENWICKThis article updates The Bahamas (Bahamas, The).▪ 1997A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, The Bahamas comprises an archipelago of about 700 islands in the North Atlantic Ocean just southeast of the United States. Area: 13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 280,000. Cap.: Nassau. Monetary unit: Bahamian dollar, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a par value of B$1 to U.S. $1 (free rate of B$1.58 = £ 1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1996, Orville Turnquest; prime minister, Hubert Ingraham.A solution to the Cuban refugee problem seemed in sight in January 1996, when The Bahamas signed an accord with Cuba providing for the repatriation of Cubans living in Bahamian detention camps. A similar agreement had been made with Haiti in 1995. Some 250 Cubans living in the camps plus 70 or more living illegally with sympathizers were returned home during the year. The Bahamas extracted a promise from Cuba to treat returnees "fairly," but the refugees themselves were not convinced and staged hunger strikes.Bahamasair, the national airline, was much in the news during the year. In June the Supreme Court quashed the 1995 finding of a commission of inquiry that former Bahamasair chairmen Philip Bethel and Darrell Rolle had taken bribes to agree to purchase aircraft. The court said they had not been given an opportunity to respond. In July the government extended the life of the inquiry by six months.(DAVID RENWICK)This article updates The Bahamas (Bahamas, The).▪ 1996A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, The Bahamas comprises an archipelago of about 700 islands in the North Atlantic Ocean just southeast of the United States. Area: 13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 276,000. Cap.: Nassau. Monetary unit: Bahamian dollar, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a par value of B$1 to U.S. $1 (free rate of B$1.58 = £ 1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governors-general in 1995, Clifford Darling and, from January 3, Orville Turnquest; prime minister, Hubert Ingraham.The Bahamian government was preoccupied for much of the year with the twin problems of refugees from Haiti and, to a lesser extent, those from Cuba. It reached an agreement with Haiti on a program of planned repatriation of several thousand Haitians. The Cubans were a more difficult matter since they refused to go home and wanted instead to immigrate to the United States.While a commission of inquiry continued looking into the way the state-owned Bahamas Hotel Corporation had conducted its affairs during the regime of former prime minister Sir Lynden Pindling, the government was completing the sale of the hotels within the corporation's portfolio. Jamaican hotelier Gordon ("Butch") Stewart was one of the buyers, paying $8.5 million for the 170-room Royal Bahamian Hotel in Nassau.Meanwhile, the commission of inquiry was unable to complete its report into the hotel corporation because Pindling challenged its right to inspect his bank accounts. But it did present its findings in the affairs of the national airline, Bahamasair. It found evidence that two former Bahamasair chairmen, Philip Bethel and Darrell Rolle, had taken bribes to facilitate the purchase of aircraft and recommended that they be prosecuted. Both were serving as opposition members of the parliament. (DAVID RENWICK)▪ 1995A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, The Bahamas comprises an archipelago of about 700 islands in the North Atlantic Ocean just southeast of the United States. Area: 13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 272,000. Cap.: Nassau. Monetary unit: Bahamian dollar, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a par value of B$1 to U.S. $1 (free rate of B$1.59 = £ 1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1994, Clifford Darling; prime minister, Hubert Ingraham.Former prime minister Sir Lynden Pindling spent much of 1994 defending the conduct of the Bahamas Hotel Corporation (BHC), which he chaired during part of his tenure in office. The present Free National Movement government, led by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, set up the commission to investigate allegations of misconduct on Pindling's part. The latter strenuously denied that any BHC funds had been used to renovate his personal property or that he had benefited in any way from contracts awarded by the corporation.The existence of the inquiry did not prevent the BHC from proceeding with its hotel privatization program during the year. It sold off, among others, the 400-room Ambassador Beach Hotel to Jamaican hotelier John Issa, the Winding Bay Hotel in Eleuthera to an Italian group, and the Lucayan Bay Hotel in Grand Bahama to the New Hope Holding Co.In February one of the prominent Bahamas personalities from the Pindling era, lawyer Nigel Bowe, was sentenced in Miami, Fla., to 15 years in jail and fined $250,000 for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. He was said to have provided protection for Colombian drug traffickers.Ingraham presented a $756 million budget in May, designed to maintain the momentum of the nation's economic development. Projects announced during the year included a $31.8 million electricity supply system for Great Abaco Island and an $80 million container transshipment terminal at Freeport, sponsored in part by the Grand Bahama Port Authority. (DAVID RENWICK)▪ 1994A constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth, The Bahamas comprises an archipelago of about 700 islands in the North Atlantic Ocean just southeast of the United States. Area: 13,939 sq km (5,382 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 266,000. Cap.: Nassau. Monetary unit: Bahamian dollar, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a par value of B$1 to U.S. $1 (free rate of B$1.52 = £ 1 sterling). Queen, Elizabeth II; governor-general in 1993, Clifford Darling; prime minister, Hubert Ingraham.A Commission of Inquiry, which began hearings in February 1993 into allegations of corruption and misuse of funds at the national airlines ( Bahamasair), was also investigating the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation and the Bahamas Hotel Corporation.In May an agreement was signed for the establishment of an industrial park for U.S., European, and Asian high-tech companies in the free zone at Freeport on Grand Bahama. The park was to be operated by Grand Bahama International Teleport Ltd. Despite a forecast by the Bahamas Hotel Employers' Association that the industry was likely to register a gross operating loss for the first time in 1993, the construction of another 500-room hotel on Grand Bahama was announced in June. Signaling its intention to develop a local securities market to match the country's international financial role, in June the government appointed a task force to do feasibility studies.The Inter-American Development Bank granted a $31.8 million loan for a new Bahamas Electricity Corporation project in the Family Islands.Illegal Haitian immigrants were a major preoccupation of the authorities during the year. As of June, 571 Haitians had been detained, with most of them being deported.(DAVID RENWICK)
* * *▪ islands, West IndiesIntroductionBahamas, flag of The archipelago and state on the northwestern edge of the West Indies. Formerly a British colony, The Bahamas became an independent country within the Commonwealth in 1973.The name Bahamas is of Lucayan Taino (Arawakan (Arawakan languages)) derivation, although some historians believe it is from the Spanish bajamar, meaning “shallow water.” The islands occupy a position commanding the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico (Mexico, Gulf of), the Caribbean Sea, and the entire Central American region. Their strategic location has given the history of The Bahamas a unique and often striking character. It was there that Christopher Columbus (Columbus, Christopher) made his original landfall in the Americas. The subsequent fate of the peaceful original inhabitants remains one of the more tragic episodes in the development of the entire region, while the early attempts at European-dominated settlement were marked by intense national rivalries, interspersed with long periods of lawlessness and piracy. As a result, the society and culture that has evolved in The Bahamas is a distinctive blend of European and African heritages, the latter a legacy of the slave trade and the introduction of the plantation system using African slaves. The islands, lacking natural resources other than their agreeable climate and picturesque beaches, have become heavily dependent on the income generated by the extensive tourist facilities and the financial sector that have been developed, often as a result of the injection of foreign capital. The continued popularity of the islands with tourists, largely from North America, has helped to maintain a relatively high standard of living among the population, most of whom are of African descent. The capital, Nassau, is located on small but important New Providence Island.Land (Bahamas, The)Lying to the north of Cuba and Hispaniola, the archipelago comprises nearly 700 islands and cays, only about 30 of which are inhabited, and more than 2,000 low, barren rock formations. It stretches more than 500 miles (800 km) southeast-northwest between Grand Bahama Island, which has an area of 530 square miles (1,373 square km) and lies about 60 miles (100 km) off the southeastern coast of the U.S. state of Florida, and Great Inagua Island, some 50 miles (80 km) from the eastern tip of Cuba. The islands other than New Providence are known collectively as the Out (Out Islands) (Family) Islands. They include Grand Bahama, which contains the major settlements of Freeport and West End; Andros (Andros Island) (2,300 square miles [6,000 square km]), the largest island of The Bahamas; Abaco, or Great Abaco, (372 square miles [963 square km]); and Eleuthera (187 square miles [484 square km]), the site of one of the early attempts at colonization.Relief and soilsThe Bahamas occupies an irregular submarine tableland that rises out of the depths of the Atlantic Ocean and is separated from nearby lands to the south and west by deepwater channels. Extensive areas of flatland, generally a few feet in elevation, are the dominant topographic features of the major islands; the Bimini group (9 square miles [23 square km]), for example, has a maximum elevation of only 20 feet (6 metres). A number of islands fronting the Atlantic have a range or series of ranges of hills on the northeastern side that parallel the longer axes of the islands. These ranges are formed of sand washed ashore and blown inland by the trade winds. The newer hills adjacent to the seashore are normally sand dunes. Solidity increases toward the interior, where the particles become cemented to form Bahama limestone. Eleuthera and Long Island (230 square miles [596 square km]) have the greatest number of hills exceeding 100 feet (30 metres). The highest point in The Bahamas, Mount Alvernia, at 206 feet (63 metres), is on Cat Island (150 square miles [388 square km]). Beneath the soil, the islands are composed of limestone rock and skeletal remains of coral fossils and other marine organisms. There are no rivers, but several islands—particularly New Providence, San Salvador (San Salvador Island) (63 square miles [163 square km]), and Great Inagua—have large lakes. There is abundant fresh water on Andros Island.ClimateThe Bahamian climate, mild throughout the year, is one of the great attractions of the area. The average temperature varies from the low 70s F (about 21 °C) during the winter to the low 80s F (about 27 °C) during the summer, and extremes seldom fall below the low 60s F (about 16 °C) or rise above the low 90s F (about 32 °C). The average annual rainfall is about 44 inches (1,120 mm), occurring mostly during the summer months. Prevailing winds, coming from the northeast in winter and from the southeast in summer, lend a cooling influence to a generally humid atmosphere. Tropical cyclones (tropical cyclone) (hurricanes) pose a threat during the period from June to November and have occasionally caused great destruction.Plant and animal lifeExtensive and beautiful forests of Caribbean pine are found on Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros, and New Providence islands. Hardwood forests also occur on some of the islands. Elsewhere the woody vegetation consists mostly of shrubs and low trees. Animal life is dominated by frogs, lizards, and snakes, all of them nonpoisonous, and several species of bats are found in caves along the more rocky coasts. Larger animals include the agouti, a rodent; the raccoon; the iguana; and the elegant flamingo, the national bird. All of these have been much reduced in numbers and in distribution. In addition, several animals—notably sheep, horses, and other livestock—have been introduced from Europe. The surrounding waters abound with fish and other edible marine animals, such as conch and spiny lobster (crayfish).People (Bahamas, The)Ethnic groups, languages, and religionMost of the population of The Bahamas is of African descent. There is a small but significant minority of mixed European and African heritage and a similar number of descendants of English pioneer settlers and loyalist refugees from the American Revolution. English is the only language native to Bahamians, although, because of the influx of Haitian immigrants since the mid-20th century, French or its Haitian Creole dialect is spoken. A high percentage of Bahamians are members of Christian churches; the majority of them are non-Anglican Protestants, with smaller proportions of Roman Catholics and Anglicans.Settlement patterns and demographic trendsThe centres of population are widely distributed on each island. Some are located leeward, where it is calm and sheltered—for example, Cat Island. Others face the north and northeastern sides, where they are exposed to the northeast trade winds—as in the case of the Abaco Cays (the cays off Abaco and Little Abaco islands). Main settlements usually occur where there is a natural harbour or at least accessibility for shipping. There has been a marked shift of population from fishing and farming villages to the centres of tourist and commercial activity. Most of the population movement has been to the islands of New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Abaco (Great Abaco). About two-thirds of the Bahamian population is concentrated on New Providence Island, which, with Grand Bahama and Abaco, has received the most internal migration.The country's rate of population increase is much higher than the Caribbean average, primarily because of immigration from the United States and other West Indian islands. The rate of natural population increase is about average for the Caribbean region, but both the birth and death rates are less than the average for the West Indies as a whole.EconomyIn spite of the concentration of the population in urban centres (especially Nassau and Freeport) that are devoted to tourism, the traditional pattern of small farming and fishing prevails in some villages, notably in the southeastern islands. The Bahamas has a predominantly market economy that is heavily dependent on tourism and international financial services. The gross national product (GNP) per capita is one of the highest in the region.Agriculture and fishingAgriculture accounts for a very small portion of the GNP and employs a comparable proportion of the workforce. Only a tiny fraction of the land is arable, and soils are shallow. Nearly all of the country's foodstuffs are imported, largely from the United States. However, the sunny climate favours the cultivation of many fruits, including tomato, pineapple, banana, mango, guava, sapodilla (the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree), soursop, grapefruit, and sea grape. Some pigs, sheep, and cattle are raised. The small fishing industry's catch is dominated by spiny lobster, grouper, and conch.Resources and powerMineral industries are limited to the production of salt and cement. Electricity is generated entirely from imported petroleum and liquefied natural gas. Power-generating stations are located throughout the islands.ManufacturingManufacturing industries centre on the production of rum and other liquor. Other manufactures include cement and pharmaceuticals, and canned fruits and frozen spiny lobster are processed. The Industries Encouragement Act (1970) offers manufacturers relief from tariffs and various taxes.TradeSome of the country's principal trading partners are South Korea, the United States, Brazil, Japan, and Spain. Major imports include machinery and transport equipment, food products, and mineral fuels; major exports are petroleum and rock lobster. The United States exempts certain Bahamian products from duties under the Generalized System of Preferences.Services and financeTourism accounts for more than one-third of the GNP and employs about two-fifths of the workforce. It centres on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands; most tourists come from the United States. Several hundred banks and trust companies have been attracted to The Bahamas because there are no income or corporate taxes and because the secrecy of financial transactions is guaranteed. Public expenditures are constrained by the government's dependence on indirect taxes, which are levied primarily on tourism and external trade. The national bank is the Central Bank of The Bahamas, established in 1974. The national currency is the Bahamian dollar; U.S. currency is also accepted throughout the islands.TransportationNassau and Freeport and their environs have paved road systems, as do most of the inhabited islands. A fleet of small motor vessels known as mail boats carries passengers, freight, and mail between Nassau and the Out Islands. Nassau and Freeport are the country's two main ports. Freeport also has a large container transshipment port. Numerous foreign passenger and freight ships visit Bahamian ports each year. Throughout the islands there are dozens of airports, with varying accommodations and facilities. Most of these serve only interinsular aircraft, but international airports are located at Nassau, Freeport, and Exuma, and international flights also connect with several of the other Bahamian islands.Government and societyConstitutional frameworkThe constitution of The Bahamas, adopted upon independence in 1973, is patterned on the Westminster model—i.e., that of the United Kingdom. The bicameral parliament comprises the House of Assembly and the Senate, whose powers are relatively restricted compared with those of the House. The formal head of state is the British monarch, who is represented by a governor-general. The head of government is the prime minister, who is formally appointed by the governor-general. The prime minister must be a member of the House of Assembly and must be able to command a majority of its votes. House members are elected by universal adult suffrage; the members of the Senate are appointed by the governor. The term of parliament is five years, but elections may be held sooner if the prime minister is unable to retain a majority in the House or dissolves the House and calls early elections. Judicial power on the islands resides in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and magistrates' courts.Political processAll Bahamian citizens 18 years of age and older can vote. Bahamians, women in particular, generally remained unpoliticized until the early 1950s. Women did not obtain the franchise until 1962. Great changes also came with increased educational opportunities after the 1960s. The first female member of parliament was elected in 1982. Since that time there have been female cabinet ministers, legislators, and Supreme Court justices. The main political parties are the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP; founded 1953), which led the movement for government by the majority in the 1950s and '60s, and the Free National Movement (FNM; 1972), which grew out of the PLP.EducationSchooling is compulsory from age 5 to 16 and is free in government schools. Most schools are government-run, but there are also private and denominational institutions. More than nine-tenths of the population is literate.The College of The Bahamas, established in 1974 in Nassau, offers associate and bachelor's degrees in most areas and master's degrees in a limited number of subjects. It also offers programs in conjunction with other universities, including the University of the West Indies, Florida International University, and the University of Miami (Miami, University of).Other higher-level institutions include a hotel training school sponsored by the government and the hotel industry, the Bahamas Law School of the University of the West Indies, and a campus of Sojourner-Douglass College, an institution based in Baltimore, Md., that offers undergraduate and graduate programs.Health and welfareBahamians are relatively free of malnutrition and debilitating diseases, and medical problems among children are largely those involving common infections. Increasing alcohol and drug abuse, obesity, and HIV/ AIDS have become concerns, and care for the aged is a mounting problem. Life expectancy increased greatly in the second half of the 20th century and is comparable to that of neighbouring Caribbean countries.The Ministry of Health and Social Development administers public health services through community clinics throughout The Bahamas and offers home and district nursing and disease surveillance. There are several public hospitals in Nassau and Freeport, and there are rural health clinics on Grand Bahama and its surrounding cays. Privately operated hospitals are located in Nassau and Freeport. The Department of Environmental Health Services oversees the management, control, and conservation of the environment.Although the success of the tourism and financial sectors brought about improvements in everyday economic conditions for many Bahamians, there is still an extremely uneven distribution of wealth. The situation is not helped by the fact that the poorest and least educated have the largest families and live in the most crowded and economically depressed areas. This trend very often leads to social problems, such as increases in crime and family disruption. The government has tried to address this problem by sponsoring extensive housing developments.Cultural lifeBahamian culture is an amalgam of its African and European heritages. It has also been influenced by the peoples of the Caribbean and the Americas.Daily life and social customsFamily life is important to most Bahamians; however, the incidence of formal marriages decreased throughout the late 20th century. An increasing number of households are headed by a single woman, usually the mother. Before the 1940s, traditionally, women tended to be stay-at-home mothers and wives. Now, as a result of increased educational opportunities and the development of the tourist industry, most women work outside the home. Moreover, by the late 20th century, Bahamian women had begun attaining top positions in public service, banking, law, medicine, politics, and other professions.Middle- and upper-class Bahamian families usually employ a maid or domestic helper. Poorer families share the housework. Staple foods include grits, potatoes, bread, conch, fish, spiny lobster, chicken, and imported meats. National dishes are peas and rice, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, cracked conch, conch salad, fried and steamed fish, and fried chicken. Guava duff, a boiled mixture of fruit and dough that is served with a butter sauce, is a popular dessert.Folk customs include the asue (a collective savings association), friendly societies (friendly society) and lodges, a strong tradition of storytelling, and the use of bush medicine. Outstanding among traditional group activities is the premier festival and celebration, Junkanoo. Junkanoo parades, or “rush outs,” are held annually on Boxing Day and New Year's Day in Nassau and on some of the Out Islands. Nassau's Bay Street is the site of the largest parade, which features thousands of junkanoos, men dressed in colourful costumes fringed with crepe paper and decorated with beads, feathers, and sequins. Participants create the music and dance to the pulsating rhythms of goatskin drums, cowbells, whistles, horns, and brass instruments. Prizes are given for the best costumes, music, dance, and theme portrayal.The artsBahamian folklore includes stories of a three-toed, human-faced creature called the chickcharney, the workings of obia (obeah)—a folk religion that employs witchcraft—and folktales featuring the characters of B'Booky, B'Rabbit, and B'Anansi (see trickster tale). Religious songs or spirituals are sung at important social gatherings and wakes; these include wake, or “setting up,” songs with biblical themes. Rhyming songs (spiritual and secular) are also popular. Traditional ring dances and quadrilles are still practiced, and dancing to the beat of goombay (sometimes also known as rake and scrape), calypso, or soca (a blend of traditional calypso and Indian rhythmic instruments) music is a popular pastime.Cultural institutionsThe arts, including painting, sculpture, and photography, as well as crafts, have blossomed in The Bahamas, and the country has several prominent institutions devoted to their cultivation. The Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, in Nassau, presents dramas, musicals, and dance performances. Art and crafts can be seen at a variety of galleries, including the National Art Gallery, located in a mansion overlooking Nassau Harbour. The Department of Archives preserves public and private records and makes them accessible to the public. The Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation regulates and controls antiquities, monuments, museums, and archaeology. The Bahamas Historical Society, in Nassau, operates a museum and publishes a scholarly journal.Sports and recreationThe Bahamas is famed for its long sandy beaches, clear waters, and spectacular coral reefs. Divers flock to the islands not only to view the colourful coral gardens, sharks, rays, moray eels, and other abundant marine life but also to explore the numerous shipwrecks—a legacy of the tricky shallow waters and of the marauding pirates who once cruised the region. Snorkeling, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, and sailing are also popular water sports, and almost every inhabited island hosts a sailing regatta or fishing tournament each year. For those who prefer less-strenuous water activities, the islands offer stretches of beautiful deserted beaches and gentle reef-protected waters. The Bahamas National Trust is concerned with the preservation of wildlife and the conservation of some two dozen national parks, including Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (established 1959).Many Bahamians play and follow cricket and football (soccer), as might be expected from the islands' historical association with Britain. Basketball is growing in popularity. Bahamians also have excelled at athletics (track and field), tennis, and yachting. The Bahamas Olympic Association was formed in 1952.History (Bahamas, The)On Oct. 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus (Columbus, Christopher), on his first voyage to the New World, made landfall somewhere in the Bahama Islands. It is widely held that he first landed on an island called by its native inhabitants Guanahani, which Columbus renamed San Salvador. The actual location is still in dispute; some scholars believe it is the place known today as San Salvador (San Salvador Island) (sometimes called Watling Island), while others claim that the site was Samana Cay or Cat Island. Whatever the case, Columbus explored the island and others nearby and then sailed to Cuba and Hispaniola. The natives of the Bahama Islands, Lucayan Tainos (Taino) who had settled the archipelago from Hispaniola by 800 CE, were a peaceful people who spoke an Arawakan language (Arawakan languages).Although Columbus took formal possession of the islands with pomp and ceremony in the name of Spain, and under the Treaty of Tordesillas (Tordesillas, Treaty of) between Spain and Portugal in 1494 the islands were within the Spanish sphere, the Spanish made little attempt to settle them. Between 1492 and 1508, Spanish raiders carried off about 40,000 natives to work in the mines of Hispaniola, and the islands remained depopulated for more than a century before the first English settlement was established.British colonizationBritish interest began in 1629 when Charles I granted Robert Heath, attorney general of England, territories in America including “Bahama and all other Isles and Islands lying southerly there or neare upon the foresayd continent.” Heath, however, made no effort to settle the Bahamas. Nevertheless, in the 1640s the religious disputes among English colonists in Bermuda came to involve the Bahamas. In 1647 Capt. William Sayle, who had twice been governor of Bermuda, took the leadership of an enterprise to seek an island upon which dissidents could worship as they pleased. In July of that year the Company of Eleutherian Adventurers was formed in London “for the Plantation of the Islands of Eleutheria, formerly called Buhama in America, and the Adjacent Islands.” Sayle and about 70 prospective settlers, consisting of Bermudan religious Independents and some persons who had come from England, sailed from Bermuda for the Bahamas sometime before October 1648. The place of their landing is uncertain, but the modern belief is that they settled on Eleuthera, then known as Cigatoo. They had envisioned establishing a flourishing plantation colony, but unproductive soil, internal discord, and Spanish interference dashed their hopes. Some of the settlers, including Sayle, returned to Bermuda.New Providence (New Providence Island) was first settled about 1666 by a new group of Bermudans. In 1663 South Carolina, on the mainland of North America, had been granted by Charles II to eight of his friends as lords proprietors, and they later appointed Sayle as South Carolina's first governor. Both Sayle and certain of those who had interested themselves in the settlement of New Providence independently drew the attention of the lords proprietors to the possibilities of the Bahama Islands. In consequence, the duke of Albemarle and five others acquired a grant of the islands from Charles II in 1670, and they accepted nominal responsibility for the civil government. New Providence, with the largest population and a sheltered harbour, became the seat of government.The proprietors did not take a very active interest in the settlement or development of the islands, which soon became a haven for pirates, whose depredations against Spanish ships provoked frequent and savage retaliatory raids. In 1671 the proprietors appointed John Wentworth as the first governor. Although elaborate instructions for the government of the colony were issued and a parliamentary system of government was instituted, the lot of both governor and settlers was far from easy. New Providence was often overrun by the Spaniards alone or in combination with the French, while any governor attempting to institute a semblance of law and order received short shrift from the settlers, who had found piracy the most lucrative profession. In 1684 Charles II himself intervened and required that a law be passed against the pirates, but apparently it had little effect.Early in the 18th century, official representations were being made for direct crown control. The lords proprietors surrendered the civil and military government to the king in 1717 and leased the islands to Capt. Woodes Rogers (Rogers, Woodes), whom the king commissioned as the first royal governor and charged with the responsibility of exterminating pirates and establishing more stable conditions. When he arrived in 1718, armed with a disciplined troop of soldiers, about 1,000 pirates surrendered and received the king's pardon, while eight of the unrepentant were hanged. Rogers's measures were so effective that the colony was able to adopt the motto “Expulsis piratis restituta commercia” (“Pirates repulsed, commerce restored”).Charles Towne was settled in 1660 and named for Charles II, but its name was changed to Nassau after William III came to the throne; the German region Nassau was a holding of William's family. With the restoration of order following the establishment of the royal government, the settlers demanded an assembly. In 1729 Rogers, acting under authority from the crown, issued a proclamation summoning a representative assembly, and from then on, apart from brief interruptions caused by foreign invasion, the government of the colony carried on in an orderly manner.In 1776 the town of Nassau was captured by the U.S. Navy, which was seeking supplies during the American Revolution; they evacuated after a few days. In May 1782 the colony surrendered to Spain. Although it was restored to Britain by the preliminary articles of the Peace of Paris (Paris, Peace of) in January 1783, it was nonetheless brilliantly recaptured in April by Col. Andrew Devaux, a loyalist commander, before news of the treaty had been received. On the conclusion of the American Revolution, many loyalists emigrated from the United States to the Bahamas under very favourable terms offered by the crown. Among the newcomers was Lord Dunmore (Dunmore, John Murray, 4th Earl of, Viscount Of Fincastle, Lord Murray Of Blair, Moulin, And Tillemot), formerly governor of New York and of Virginia, who served as governor of the Bahamas from 1786 to 1797. The loyalists who fled to the islands brought their slaves with them, increasing the population several-fold. The cotton plantations that they developed, which used slave labour, yielded well for a few years, but the exhaustion of the soil, the depredations of insect pests, and, finally, the abolition of slavery led to their ultimate collapse. In 1787 the lords proprietors surrendered their remaining rights for £12,000.As in the Caribbean generally, the Bahama Islands experienced a number of slave revolts during the years leading to abolition. Efforts made by the assembly in the early 19th century to thwart the attempts of the executive to ameliorate conditions for the slaves continued until the United Kingdom Abolition Act came into force in the colony on Aug. 1, 1834; full emancipation came in 1838. A legislative council was created by royal letters patent in 1841.Following emancipation, the general condition of the West Indies was one of poverty and disillusionment. Former slaves and ex-masters struggled to exist. Many took to subsistence farming, and others remained on the land of their former owners and worked on the share system. There was hardly any circulation of money in the Out Islands, and many communities were tied by a system of payment in truck—that is, payment in kind. Considerable wealth poured into the islands as the result of blockade-running during the American Civil War (1861–65) and the handling of liquor during Prohibition in the 1920s in the United States (see prohibition). This activity made no lasting contribution to the islands, however, nor did it establish any firm economic base. Before and after these periods, many attempts were made to grow pineapples, citrus fruits, tobacco, tomatoes, and sisal for export, but, despite initial promise, all failed. Sponge fishing also collapsed in 1938. Finally, after World War II, strenuous efforts to establish tourism as the basis of the economy were strikingly successful, transforming the economic and social structure of the islands.IndependencePolitically, Bahamians have had considerable control over their affairs since the first assembly in 1729. In May 1963 a conference was held in London to consider a new constitution for the islands. It was then agreed that the colony should have full internal self-government, the governor retaining reserved powers only for foreign affairs, defense, and internal security. The new constitution came into force on Jan. 7, 1964, and constitutional advances in 1969 brought the country to the verge of complete self-government.Party politics had emerged in 1953, when the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was formed by Bahamians of African descent to oppose the group in power, who in 1958 responded with a party of their own, the United Bahamian Party (UBP), controlled by British-descended politicians. As the political battle progressed, the PLP raised the cry for majority rule. The climax came after the general elections of 1967, when the PLP, under the leadership of Lynden Pindling (Pindling, Sir Lynden Oscar), was able to form a government with a slight majority.In general the PLP advocated stricter government control of the economy, increasing Bahamian ownership of business enterprises and the replacement of foreign workers by Bahamians. Although the move toward self-government received bipartisan support, some factions advocated that total independence should come later than 1973, the year targeted by the PLP government. In 1969 the name Commonwealth of the Bahama Islands was adopted, but upon independence, on July 10, 1973, the official form became The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The PLP maintained its position as the majority party after independence. The main opposition was formed by the Free National Movement (FNM), established in 1972 through a merger between the UBP and alienated anti-independence PLP members calling themselves the Free PLP. The government embarked on programs to improve economic development, increase the standard of living, and halt the rising unemployment rate. The Bahamas is a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom; joined 1983), the United Nations (1973), UNESCO (1981), the Organization of American States (American States, Organization of) (1982), and the Commonwealth (1973). Alleged collusion with drug traffickers by members of the government became a major issue and threatened PLP power in the late 1980s. Another serious, and ongoing, problem has been the periodic arrival of waves of legal and illegal immigrants from Haiti, placing a strain on social and economic resources. In the August 1992 general elections, the FNM swept into power, winning 31 of the 49 seats in the House of Assembly. The party increased its majority in the 1997 elections, winning 35 of the 40 seats. The PLP regained ascendancy in the 2002 elections but was again swept out by the FNM in 2007.E. Paul Albury David Russell Harris Gail SaundersAdditional ReadingGeographyGeographic information is available in Gail Saunders, The Bahamas: A Family of Islands, 3rd ed. (2000), a general guidebook; Mary Moseley, The Bahamas Handbook (1926), a classic study of landscape, flora, fauna, history, economy, and tourism that covers the islands from Grand Bahama to Grand Turk; Michael Craton, Sun 'n Sixpence: A Guide to Nassau and the Bahama Out Islands (1964), a descriptive handbook; and Michael Halkitis, Karen Rigg, and Steven Smith, The Climate of the Bahamas (1980), which includes an examination of Grand Turk. Nathaniel Lord Britton and Charles Frederick Millspaugh, The Bahama Flora (1962), provides an examination of the botanical species on the islands from Grand Bahama to Grand Turk. Historic architecture is discussed in Gail Saunders and Donald Cartwright, Historic Nassau (1979); Gail Saunders and Linda M. Huber, Nassau's Historic Landmarks (2001); Robert Douglas, Island Heritage (1992); and C. Sieghbert Russell, Nassau's Historic Buildings (1980). Valeria Moseley Moss, Reminiscing: Memories of Old Nassau, ed. by Ronald G. Lightbourn (2001), combines essays on early 20th-century Bahamian life with photographs of the period. Works on the Out Islands include Steve Dodge, Abaco: The History of an Out Island and Its Cays (1983); and Margery O. Erickson, Great Inagua (1987).HistoryThe most comprehensive general history is Michael Craton and Gail Saunders, Islanders in the Stream, 2 vol. (1999). Michael Craton, A History of The Bahamas, 3rd ed. (1986, reprinted 1999), is a comprehensive but shorter account. Paul Albury, The Story of the Bahamas (1975), expands on the growth of tourism, political parties, and nationalism and gives special attention to the Out Islands, and his Paradise Island Story (1984) is also useful. The loyalists and the slavery period are examined in Gail Saunders, Bahamian Loyalists and Their Slaves (1983), and Slavery in the Bahamas, 1648–1838 (1985). Post-emancipation years are explored in Howard Johnson, The Bahamas from Slavery to Servitude, 1783–1933 (1996); and Gail Saunders, Bahamian Society After Emancipation, new expanded ed. (2004). Political histories include Randol Fawkes, The Faith that Moved the Mountain (1979); Doris L. Johnson, The Quiet Revolution in the Bahamas (1972); and Colin A. Hughes, Race and Politics in the Bahamas (1981).
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