Geographic and Governmental Profile of The Bahamas

Background
Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas has 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 Europe, and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.
Location
chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
Geographic coordinates
24 15 N, 76 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
total:
13,880 sq km
rank:
161
land:
10,010 sq km
water:
3,870 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
3,542 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
Climate
tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream
Terrain
long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Mount Alvernia on Cat Island 63 m
Natural resources
salt, aragonite, timber, arable land
Land use
arable land:
0.58%
permanent crops:
0.29%
other:
99.13% (2005)
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Irrigated land
10 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
NA
Natural hazards
hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage
Environment - current issues
coral reef decay; solid waste disposal
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited
Country name
conventional long form:
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
conventional short form:
The Bahamas
Government type
constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Capital
name:
Nassau
geographic coordinates:
25 05 N, 77 21 W
time difference:
UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
Administrative divisions
31 districts; Acklins Islands, Berry Islands, Bimini, Black Point, Cat Island, Central Abaco, Central Andros, Central Eleuthera, City of Freeport, Crooked Island and Long Cay, East Grand Bahama, Exuma, Grand Cay, Harbour Island, Hope Town, Inagua, Long Island, Mangrove Cay, Mayaguana, Moore's Island, North Abaco, North Andros, North Eleuthera, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, South Abaco, South Andros, South Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, West Grand Bahama
Independence
10 July 1973 (from the UK)
National holiday
Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
Constitution
10 July 1973
Legal system
common law system based on the English model
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Arthur A. FOULKES (since 14 April 2010)
head of government:
Prime Minister Perry CHRISTIE (since 8 May 2011)
cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
elections:
the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Legislative branch
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (16 seats; members appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (41 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time
elections:
last held on 7 May 2012 (next to be held by May 2017)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLP 29, FNM 9
Judicial branch
Privy Council in London; Courts of Appeal; Supreme (lower) Court; Magistrates' Courts
Political parties and leaders
Free National Movement or FNM [Hubert INGRAHAM]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Friends of the Environment
other:
trade unions
International organization participation
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Cornelius A. SMITH
chancery:
2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 319-2660
FAX:
[1] (202) 319-2668
consulate(s) general:
Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Nicole A. AVANT
embassy:
42 Queen Street, Nassau, New Providence
mailing address:
local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau; US Department of State, 3370 Nassau Place, Washington, DC 20521-3370
telephone:
[1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 (after hours)
FAX:
[1] (242) 328-2206
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side; the band colors represent the golden beaches of the islands surrounded by the aquamarine sea; black represents the vigor and force of a united people, while the pointing triangle indicates the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop the rich resources of land and sea
National symbol(s)
blue marlin; flamingo
National anthem
name:
"March On, Bahamaland!"
lyrics/music:
Timothy GIBSON
adopted 1973; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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