The Bahamas are not only clear sea waters and tempting waves, but also endless beaches, underwater tunnels, coral reefs of indescribable beauty and sunken shipwrecks.
Scattered over a vast area, washed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, the Bahamas have long been considered a symbol of luxury and relaxation. Christopher Columbus first set foot on the islands of San Salvador in 1492. British settlers began to settle the islands in 1647 and already in 1783 the islands became a colony. With independence in 1973, the Bahamas began to intensively develop tourism and banking. One of the richest countries in the region, as it is often called – “Caribbean Switzerland”, a large offshore center (more than 400 banks are located on the islands), today the Bahamas are one of the largest resort areas in the Western Hemisphere.
Crystal Cay Marine Park Aquarium is the world’s largest man-made coral reef with an underwater observatory. The barrier reef off Andros Island is considered the third longest reef in the world.
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is an archipelago with about 700 islands (Abaco, Acklins, Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini Islands, Cat, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Big and Little Inagua, Crooked Island, Long Island, Mayaguana, Nassau, Ram-Key, San Salvador, Humentos, etc.) and 2500 reefs, of which only 30 are inhabited. An
archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean at a distance of about 90 km southeast of Florida and approximately the same distance north -East of Cuba, extends for 970 km from northwest to southeast, covering an area of about 259 thousand square meters. km (land area about 13.9 thousand sq. km).
Most of the group’s islands are long and flat coral formations with occasional low, rounded hills. The highest point in the country is Mount Alvernia (63 m) on Cat Island. Most of the islands are covered with small pine forests, punctuated by scrublands with patches of rocky badlands, marshes and long sandy shores. Many of the lee (western) shores are lined with mangroves formed by the only tree that can survive in salt water.
Virtually all islands are surrounded by coral reefs and extensive sandbanks. Due to the limestone foundation of the islands, most of them are indented by the products of karst activity – giant wells, which are called “blue holes” here, are connected to each other and to the sea by an extended network of tunnels that open in underwater caves at depths of up to 180 m.
Tropical trade winds in the north and subtropical in the south. The temperature in summer ranges from +26 to +32 C. On the southern islands (Big and Small Inagua, Mayaguana, etc.), it is much warmer in summer than in the central part of the archipelago. The temperature on some days here can reach +40 C (from June to August), but the trade winds noticeably soften the heat throughout the country. In winter, the temperature ranges from +18 to +22 C with minimum temperatures up to +15 C (Little Abaco and other northwestern islands).
Precipitation is up to 800 mm with a mild rainy season from May to October. In winter, rains are infrequent, usually in the form of short but powerful showers lasting no more than a few hours. Hurricanes and tropical storms, periodically passing over the territory of the islands from May to November, bring heavy precipitation, accompanied by hurricane-force winds. The water temperature is usually +27 C in summer and about +23 C in winter.
The official language is English. Creole or “patois” is also common (it is especially widely used among immigrants from Haiti).
About 301 thousand people. Over 80% of the population of the islands are Africans and mulattos, up to 12% are of European origin, and about 3% are immigrants from other countries of the Caribbean and Asia.
State system: The
Commonwealth of the Bahamas is a constitutional parliamentary democracy within the British Commonwealth. The nominal head of state is the Queen of Great Britain, represented by the Governor General.
The vast majority of the population professes Christianity (Baptists – 35.4%, Anglicans – 15.1%, Catholics – 13.5%, etc.). Also, as if in parallel with Christianity, the traditional folk beliefs “obea” are widespread, originating in the Haitian “voodoo” and the Cuban “santeria”.