Bahamas, The

Bahamas, The

Caribbean Sea
LAST UPDATED 13/07/2008
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resources

Information on history of the Bahamas
A Bahamas Guide for Bahamians and Residents. Covering Bahama businesses and services including..

Level of surfing

Beginner

Quality of surf

Average

Call code

1242

Net code

bs

Area

133878

Coastline

3,542 km

Climate

tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream

Hazards

Very Isolated, Cyclones

Best Months

July - October

Population

305655

Currency

Dollar (BSD) Bahamian dollars per US dollar - 1 (2006)

Time Zone

Eastern Standard Time EST (UTC-5) to Eastern Standard Daylight Saving Time EDT (UTC-4)

Special Requirements

Private Beaches

introduction

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Rei-artur: Location Bahamas; 26 December 2006

The Bahamas, oficially the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a tropical island chain, consisting of two thousand cays and seven hundred islands that form an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. It is a North American, English-speaking country, located in the Atlantic Ocean, east of Florida and the United States, north of Cuba, the island of Hispanola and the Caribbean, and northwest of the British overseas territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

history

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Chensiyuan: Parts of the Bahamas as seen from an airplane; 30 December 2006

The Arawak Indians were the first to inhabit the Bahamas and only after that Christopher Columbus set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. The British first built settlements on the islands in the 17th century. Interesting that in the early 18th century, the Bahamas were a favourite pirate haunt.

The Bahamas were a Crown colony from 1717 until they were granted internal self-government in 1964. The islands moved toward greater autonomy in 1968 after the overwhelming victory in general elections of the Progressive Liberal Party, led by Prime Minister Lynden O. Pindling, over the predominantly white United Bahamians Party. With its new mandate from the black population (85% of Bahamians), Pindling's government negotiated a new constitution with Britain under which the colony became the Commonwealth of the Bahama Islands in 1969. On July 10, 1973, the Bahamas became an independent nation.

Once heavily reliant on agriculture and fishing, the Bahamas has diversified its economy into tourism, financial services, and international shipping. While it enjoys a per capita income that is among the top 30 in the world, there is a big gap between the urban middle class and poor farmers. In addition, the nation is vulnerable to hurricanes, which regularly inflict serious damage.

Hubert Ingraham became prime minister in May 2007 after his Free National Movement, an opposition party, won parliamentary elections.

surfing

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NASA: Eleuthera Island; 2007

Sprawled to the south east of florida lay the seven hundred islands that form The Bahamas. As one would expect, it is the eastermost islands of the group that see any real wave action with the islands of Great Abaco and Eleuthera seeing the best spots. Both islands have quality resorts and would be the best place to base yourself for regular surf. Unfortunately many spots are really accessible by boat and due to the popularity of the game fishing industry, boat hire can be expensive, so expensive that it's like you can see dollar notes spitting up each side of your board as you weigh up the cost of each wave. Hook up with a local surfer if you can - for a small fee they may show you some of the lesser known gems of the outer cays - chances are you will be blindfolded during the boat ride of course.

what to pack

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Flashdance: A pair of very simple Moroccan flip flops called "Cabjuks"; 25 May 2007

A small backpack makes a good carryon bag and will be useful in daily life.

You may also need a pair of waterproof boots and a good backpack if you plan to explore the islands. Depending on the season tropical rains can be quite often, so it’s a good idea to take something waterproof if you plan to go outside. Another option would be just to stay at you place and have a nap – the whole atmosphere is very laidback.

Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more.

And take a good protection for your camera from the sand.

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