Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
  • Christopher Columbus set foot on San Salvador in 1492.  British settlements began in 1647, the islands became a British colony in 1783.
  • Gained independence from Great Britain on July 10, 1973
  • An extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited
  • Location:  a chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
  • Area:  5,358 sq. miles, slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut
  • Population:  :  316,182 (2012)
  • Capital and major city:  Nassau  – 248,000
  • Climate:  tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of the Gulf Stream
  • Terrain:  long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills
  • Nationality:  Bahamians
  • Ethnic groups:  black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%
  • Language:  English (official) , Creole
  • Religions:  Protestant 67%, Roman Catholic, 13.5%, other Christain religions 15.2%
  • Literacy:  95.6 age 15 and over can read and write
  • Economy:  One of the wealthest Caribbean countries with an economy dependent on tourism and offshore banking.  Tourism accounts for 60% of GDP and empoy 1/2 of the labor force.  Financial service constitutes the second most important sector of the economy and when combined with business services, accounts for about 36% of GDP.
  • Current weather conditions –  www.weather.com
  • Tips for Travel in country – www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates –  www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • The Bahamas has a constiutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
  • Chief of State:  Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General Sir Arthur A. Foulkes, appointed by the Monarchy
  • Head of Government:  Prime Minister Perry Christie, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition party and appointed by the Governor General



Healthcare Statistics

  • Life expectancy:  71.44 years
  • Health expenditures:  7.2% of GDP
  • Physicians density:  1.05 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density:  3.16 beds/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:  3.1%
  • Infant mortality rate – 25.7/1000 births
  • Infectious disease updates:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

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