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The Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Flag of the Bahamas
Bahamas Coat of Arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : Forward, Upward, Onward, Together

( English for "Forward, Upward, Next, Together")

Official language English
Capital Nassau
Form of government parliamentary monarchy
Head of state Queen Elizabeth II

represented by Governor General Cornelius A. Smith

Head of government Prime Minister Hubert Minnis
surface 13,939 km²
population 353,658 (2010, source: Bahamas Department of Statistics)
Population density 25 inhabitants per km²
gross domestic product
  • Nominal
  • Adjusted for purchasing power
  • $ 9,172 million ( 131st )
  • $ 9,374 million ( 156. )
Gross domestic product per inhabitant 2017
  • $ 24,631 ( 34th ) (Nominal)
  • $ 25.174 ( 58th ) (KKB)
Human Development Index 0.807 (54.)
currency Bahamian Dollar ( BSD )
independence July 10, 1973
(from the UK )
National anthem March On, Bahamaland
National holiday 10th of July
Time zone UTC − 5
License Plate BS
ISO 3166 BS , BHS, 044
Internet TLD .bs
Telephone code +1 (242) see NANP
Bahamas Kuba Haiti Navassa Jamaika Turks- und Caicosinseln Dominikanische Republik Puerto Rico Amerikanische Jungferninseln Britische Jungferninseln Martinique Dominica Guadeloupe Montserrat Antigua und Barbuda Anguilla Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin Saint Kitts and Nevis Sint Eustatius Saba Guatemala Mexiko Belize Kaimaninseln Vereinigte StaatenBahamas in its region.svg
About this picture

The Bahamas ( English The Bahamas ) are an island nation in the Atlantic Ocean and part of the West Indies . They are located southeast of the United States and northeast of Cuba and are geographically part of Central America . Only 30 of the more than 700 Bahama islands are inhabited.

The archipelago got its name from the Spanish conquistadors . They named the waters around the islands Baja Mar ( Spanish for 'shallow sea'), which later became the Bahamas. The Bahamas have been independent from the United Kingdom since 1973 , but the former crown colony remained a constitutional monarchy in which the English royal family provides the head of state.


The Bahamas extend from the southeast coast of the USA along the northeast coast of Cuba to the northwest coast of the Turks and Caicos Islands with a north-south extension of about 650 km and a west-east width of up to 750 km. Although the Bahamas is in the open Atlantic, they are counted as part of the Caribbean .

The Bahamas are made up of the islands and more than 2,400 coral reefs , the so-called cays . In many cases, only an arm of the sea a few centimeters deep separates two islands or cays. Therefore, the numbers vary depending on whether two islands are counted in this case or an island with a land bridge slightly submerged.

The islands are divided into the two most heavily inhabited islands, New Providence and Grand Bahama, and the so-called Out Islands and Family Islands. The island with the largest area is Andros with 5957 km². The highest point in the Bahamas is Mount Alvernia at 63 m on Cat Island .

Main islands

Surname Area
in km²
Abaco 1,681 13,170 16,692
Acklins 497 428 560
Andros 5,957 7,686 7,386
Berry Islands 31 709 798
Bimini 23 1,717 2.008
Cat Island 388 1,647 1,503
Crooked Island and Long Cay 241 350 323
Eleuthera 484 7,999 7,826
Exuma 290 3,571 7,314
Grand Bahama 1,373 46,994 51,756
Harbor Island 8th 1,639 1,702
Inagua 1,544 969 911
long Island 596 2,992 3,024
Mayaguana 285 259 271
New Providence 207 210.832 248,948
Ragged Island 36 72 70
Rum Cay 78 80 99
San Salvador 163 970 930

Most important cities

Satellite image from April 2000

The two most important cities in the Bahamas by far are the capital Nassau and Freeport . More than three quarters of the Bahamas' population live in the two together. With more than 200,000 inhabitants, Nassau is by far the largest city in the island state.


The Bahamas have an east side climate typical of some regions of the subtropics , as they are cooled by the air systems of the North American continent. In summer the average temperature is around 28 ° C, in winter the warm Gulf Stream (water temperatures between 24 and 29 ° C) rarely lets the temperature drop below 20 ° C. The annual mean temperature is 26 ° C.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Monthly average temperatures and rainfall for Nassau
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 25.2 25.3 26.5 27.7 29.2 30.7 31.7 31.8 31.3 29.7 27.7 25.9 O 28.6
Min. Temperature (° C) 16.7 16.9 17.7 19.0 21.0 22.9 23.7 23.8 23.6 22.2 20.0 17.7 O 20.4
Precipitation ( mm ) 47 40 40 54 116 233 158 216 171 176 57 52 Σ 1,360
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 7.1 7.6 8.3 9.2 8.7 7.7 8.8 8.6 7.1 7.2 7.4 6.9 O 7.9
Water temperature (° C) 24 24 24 25th 26th 28 29 29 29 28 26th 25th O 26.4
Humidity ( % ) 78 78 76 74 77 79 77 79 81 80 78 78 O 77.9
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Even in January, the sea around the Bahamas is still 24 degrees.


Demographic Development in the Bahamas (1960-2017)

The population of the Bahamas was 353,658 people as of the last census in 2010. The population is relatively young, with around 26% under 15 years old and only 6% of Bahamians 65 years or older. In 2010 the natural population growth was 0.77%. Forecasts assume that this value will have dropped to 0% in about 30 years. Average life expectancy is 72 years for men and 79 years for women.

People of African origin make up the largest proportion of the island's population with 85%. The remaining 15% are divided into 12% of European origin and 3% of Asian and Latin American origin.

In addition to the official language English, Haitian Creole is still spoken, but mainly by the numerous immigrants from Haiti. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake , immigration from Haiti skyrocketed. In 2017, 15.6% of the population were migrants.

AIDS has become a major issue in the Bahamas. In 2009, around 3.1% of the 15–49 year old population lived with the HI virus . This puts them in 23rd place among the countries most severely affected in percentage terms.

The Bahamas are Christian dominated: the main faiths are the Protestants 67.6% ( Baptists 35.4%, Anglican 15.1%, Pentecostal (Pentecostalism) 8.1%, Church of God (Church of God) 4.8% , Methodists 4.2%) and the Roman Catholic Church with 13.5% and other Christians with 15.2% of the population.


Main article: History of the Bahamas

The earliest traces of settlement go back to the 4th century, but some of the islands were not permanently settled until the 9th and 10th centuries by the Lucayan , a tribe belonging to the Arawak people .

After Christopher Columbus discovered the Bahama Islands on October 12, 1492, the approximately 40,000 islanders were abducted and enslaved to Hispaniola until 1520 , where they perished in the mines due to illness and emaciation.

English settlers established the first colonies in the mid-17th century after King Charles I of England claimed the islands in 1629. Buccaneers , like the famous Blackbeard , used the islands as refuge at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century, as they were of little importance for the colonial powers due to their lack of raw materials and the unsuitable soil for agriculture.

In 1717, the Bahamas became a British Crown Colony and Woodes Rogers became the islands' first Crown Governor . He solved the pirate problem that had developed on the archipelago and in 1729 gave the Bahamas its own parliament , the House of Assembly. In the course of the American War of Independence , a large number of British loyalists fled to the Bahamas, especially to Abaco . During the American War of Independence (1775–1783), the American Civil War (1861–1865) and Prohibition in the USA (1919–1932), the islands were the starting point for a marked trade in contraband due to their convenient proximity to the USA. During World War II, the Governor of the Bahamas was the Duke of Windsor . Britain granted internal self-government to the Bahamas in 1964, which eventually led to their gaining independence in 1973 .

In 1959, male suffrage was introduced under British administration. Those who met certain property requirements received a second vote. Women were given the right to vote in February 1961 , and in 1964 all property restrictions were removed. With independence in 1973 the right to vote was confirmed.

The island state , which belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations, has been a tourist destination and tax haven since the middle of the 20th century . Around 300,000 people live in the Bahamas today, more than 70% of them in the capital Nassau . Since the country has no raw materials worth mentioning, the economy is heavily dependent on tourism and banking. While most tourist information offices make the Bahamas a paradise, high unemployment , drug trafficking and corruption in political circles are serious, unsolved problems for the government .

On November 13, 1965, 60 miles from Nassau, the American passenger liner Yarmouth Castle went up in flames, burned out and sank, killing 90 passengers and crew. The accident leads to new regulations for safety at sea within the framework of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea .

In the summer of the 2019 hurricane season, Dorian hit the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama in the northern Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane .


The Bahamian Parliament Building in Nassau

The Bahamas has been a sovereign state since 1973. The head of state is the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland , Elizabeth II. She is represented in the Bahamas by the Governor General she has personally appointed . This is Cornelius A. Smith as of June 28, 2019.

The head of government is the prime minister, who is appointed by the ruling party. This is Hubert Minnis since 2017 . He is the successor to Perry Christie from the Progressive Liberal Party , who in turn followed Hubert Ingraham from the Free National Movement in 2012 . The Bahamas use the Westminster system . The ruling party is determined every five years by parliamentary elections. Following the British model, Parliament consists of two chambers, the Senate with 16 members and the House of Assembly with 39 members. The 16 members of the Senate are appointed by the Governor General, nine in consultation with the Prime Minister, four in consultation with the leader of the opposition and three by the Governor General himself. The members of the House of Assembly are elected by the people themselves every five years according to majority voting. In the country report Freedom in the World 2017 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “free”.

The Bahamas are a member of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

See also: List of Prime Ministers of the Bahamas

See also: List of Governors of the Bahamas


education and Science

The only university that is exclusively based in the Bahamas is the University of The Bahamas , which emerged in 2016 from the College of The Bahamas, which was founded in 1974 . Over 5000 students are enrolled at it.

The University of the West Indies also has an open campus in the Bahamas.


There are three daily newspapers, The Nassau Guardian , The Tribune and The Freeport News . The only television station is ZNS TV .


Nassau Harbor

The Agriculture in the Bahamas is underdeveloped, as there is no proper irrigation are business opportunities. Transport between the numerous and widely spaced islands is difficult and there are no suitable soils. It is mainly produced for own use, but this is not covered. In a few more modern farms, mainly cucumbers , tomatoes , onions , citrus fruits and pineapples are grown for export.

Pine , hardwood and colored woods on Andros , Great Abaco and Grand Bahama are sold as construction timber or are felled for shipbuilding and the US paper industry .

There are consistently favorable conditions for fishing ; it is done for personal use.

The industry consists mainly of small businesses, but shipbuilding, the extraction of sea ​​salt and the production of consumer goods are also expanding. In 1954, a duty -free and tax-free zone was set up on Grand Bahama , which should lead to the settlement of foreign companies. The Bahama Monetary Authority has been responsible for issuing banknotes since 1968 . Thanks to the favorable tax legislation, the Bahamas achieved the status of an international financial center with the headquarters of many banks, investment and trust companies.

On January 28, 2016, the EU Commission presented a package of measures to combat tax evasion , including the Bahamas on the black list of tax havens .

The Bahamas are relatively wealthy compared to the rest of the Caribbean. The GDP per capita in 2016 was around 24,000 US dollars, roughly the same as that of Malta .

In 2017, the country ranks 90th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
(purchasing power parity)
2.51 billion 3.81 billion 4.99 billion 5.61 billion 7.79 billion 9.50 billion 10.03 billion 10.45 billion 10.41 billion 10.05 billion 10.33 billion 10.61 billion 11.14 billion 11.25 billion 11.31 billion 11.09 billion 11.25 billion 11.60 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
11,877 16,296 19,575 20,103 25,722 29,231 30,512 31,398 30,906 29,501 29,986 30,452 31,618 31,593 31,410 30,435 30,534 31,139
GDP growth
7.1% 4.1% 1.1% 4.4% 5.0% 3.4% 2.5% 1.4% −2.3% −4.2% 1.5% 0.6% 3.1% −0.6% −1.2% −3.1% 0.2% 1.3%
(in percent)
12.2% 4.6% 4.6% 2.0% 1.7% 1.8% 2.0% 2.4% 4.4% 1.7% 1.6% 3.1% 1.9% 0.4% 1.2% 1.9% −0.3% 1.4%
(in percent)
... ... 12.0% 10.9% 7.0% 10.2% 7.6% 7.9% 8.7% 14.2% 15.1% 15.9% 14.4% 15.8% 14.6% 13.4% 12.2% 10.1%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
... ... 13% 21.% 19% 23% 23% 23% 25% 30% 34% 35% 38% 44% 48% 51% 53% 57%


The main airport is Nassau Lynden Pindling Airport, located near Nassau . The state airline is Bahamasair with fewer than ten aircraft. The infrastructure for air and sea ​​traffic is well developed, but due to the topographical conditions there is no railway. Useful land transportation routes are on New Providence , Grand Bahama, and a few other islands. Left-hand traffic applies in the Bahamas .


Cruise ships in the port of Nassau

The main industry in the Bahamas is tourism , which as of 2019 contributed around 50% of GDP. Cruises by US passengers from Miami are particularly important .

The shooting of several James Bond films in the Bahamas also had a positive effect on tourism . The Bahamas and Nassau were used as filming locations for Casino Royale , Fireball and its 1983 remake Never Never Never Say .


Loose laws have resulted in up to 400 financial firms in the Bahamas . Most of these banks, it is believed, are primarily concerned with money laundering . In 2001 the laws were tightened under pressure from the USA, since then almost 15% of the financial institutions have been closed.

The largest bank in the Bahamas is the Commonwealth Bank, founded in 1960 .

environmental Protection

There are a total of 22 national parks in the Bahamas , which are managed by the Bahamas National Trust . This protects over 260,000 hectares of land and sea. The Central Andros National Park is the largest national park in terms of area with 117,000 hectares. It also includes mangrove and wetlands as well as parts of the Andros Barrier Reef , the third largest reef in the world. The northernmost sanctuary in the Bahamas is Walker's Cay Marine Park with its corals and extremely diverse marine fauna. The southernmost national park is Little Inagua Island. The island is uninhabited and reserved for nature and its visitors. The endangered sea ​​turtles lay their eggs on Little Inagua Beach . Over 60,000 West Indian flamingos live on Great Inagua Island.

On the other hand, American investors are planning a huge tourist complex on Bimini with over 1000 apartments, 450 villas, a luxury hotel, restaurants, casino, wellness center and a golf course as well as a marina with around 400 berths. Under pressure from the population, these devastating plans for nature could be trimmed. So far, however, the project has not been completely prevented. With the support of tour operators and diving guests from all over the world, the residents of Bimini are fighting against the mega-project on their tiny island, which would lead to the destruction of their natural resources.

State budget

The state budget included in the fiscal year 2016 spending by the equivalent of 2.3 billion US dollars , which were income equivalent to 1.9 billion US dollar against. This corresponds to a budget deficit of 4.4% of GDP.

In 2016, the national debt was 64.4% of GDP.

In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:


Established in 1980, the Bahamas armed forces are known as the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF). The Bahamas has no army or air force, the existing units are assigned to the navy and have a police character.


Emerald Bay

Main article: Districts of the Bahamas

As of 1999, the Local Government Act of 1996 divided the Bahamas into 31 local government districts and New Providence , which is administered by the national government.

Kuba Turks- und Caicosinseln Vereinigte Staaten Inagua Mayaguana Acklins Crooked Island Rum Cay San Salvador Long Island Ragged Island Black Point Exuma and Cays Cat Island South Eleuthera New Providence Berry Islands Freeport West Grand Bahama Bimini East Grand Bahama Grand Cay Moore's Island Central Eleuthera Spanish Wells Harbour Island North Eleuthera Hope Town Green Turtle Cay North Abaco Central Abaco South Abaco North Andros Central Andros Mangrove Cay South Andros
Districts of the Bahamas

public holidays

date Surname German name Remarks
January 1st New Year's Day New Year Junkanoo Parade is held
Friday before Easter Good Friday Good Friday
Monday after Easter Sunday Easter Monday Easter Monday
first Friday in June Labor Day Labor Day
seven weeks after Easter White Monday Whit Monday
10th of July Independence Day Independence day Independence from Great Britain on July 10, 1973
first Monday in August Emancipation Day Day of the Liberation of Slaves on August 1, 1834, the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect
October 12th Discovery Day Discovery Day Discovery of the Bahamas by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492
25 December Christmas Day Christmas
December 26th Boxing Day 2nd Christmas Day Junkanoo Parade is held
Note: Holidays are made up on the following Monday if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday.


  • Wolfgang Gieler : Bahamas. In: Wolfgang Gieler, Markus Porsche-Ludwig (Hrsg.): State dictionary America: Geography, history, culture, politics and economy. Peter Lang, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-631-77017-7 , pp. 43-48.
  • Michael Craton: A History of the Bahamas . Collins, London, 2nd ed. 1968.

Web links

Commons : Bahamas  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Bahamas  Travel Guide
Wikimedia Atlas: Bahamas  geographical and historical maps
Wiktionary: Bahamas  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b GDP estimate by the IMF 2017. In: . Archived from the original on November 13, 2018 ; Accessed on November 13, 2018 (The estimates on the original page are updated continuously. The information in the article is based on the archived version.).
  2. Summary: Human Development Indices and Indicators - 2018 Statistical Update. (PDF; 497 KB) In: 2018, p. 8 , accessed on October 9, 2019 (English).
  3. Migration Report 2017 - Highlights. (PDF; 2.1 MB) In: 2017, accessed on June 14, 2020 .
  4. - New Parline: the IPU's Open Data Platform (beta). In: Retrieved September 29, 2018 .
  5. "Dorian" shakes the Bahamas . In: . September 2, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Bahamas Profiles. In: Accessed April 4, 2019 .
  7. ^ From College to University of The Bahamas: A Noble Legacy. In English, accessed April 1, 2019.
  8. Why UB? In: Retrieved May 15, 2019 .
  9. ^ The Open Campus in Bahamas. In: Retrieved April 12, 2019 .
  10. ^ Bahamas country profile - Media. In: . August 2, 2012, accessed April 16, 2020.
  11. EU wants new black list of tax havens. In: January 28, 2016, accessed March 14, 2019 .
  12. World Economic Outlook Database April 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017 (American English).
  13. Country Rankings: World & Global Economy Rankings on Economic Freedom. Retrieved December 19, 2017 .
  14. ^ Report for Selected Countries and Subjects. Retrieved September 25, 2018 (American English).
  15. Rosie Spinks, Danni Santana: The Bahamas Need Tourism at Center of Post-Dorian Recovery. In: September 6, 2019, accessed January 9, 2020 .
  16. Information on cruises on the website of a large shipping company , accessed on March 31, 2012 (English)
  17. ^ Commonwealth Bank Bahamas. In: Retrieved December 11, 2019 .
  18. About Us. In: Retrieved December 11, 2019 .
  19. a b c The CIA World Factbook
  20. ^ The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed August 7, 2017 .
  21. The Fischer World Almanac 2010. Figures Data Facts, Fischer, Frankfurt 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-72910-4 .

Coordinates: 24 °  N , 78 °  W