Learn all about these terrific tropical islands…
Stunning beaches, wonderful wildlife and colourful carnivals – it’s time to brush up on this beautiful country in our Bahamas facts!
OFFICIAL NAME: Commonwealth of the Bahamas
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional parliamentary democracy
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: English, Creole
MONEY: Bahamian dollar
AREA: 13,939 square kilometers
Flag of the Bahamas
Map of the Bahamas
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!
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!
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.
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.