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Introduction
Background:
Arawak 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 have 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 its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.


Geography
Наверх
Location:
Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba

Geographic coordinates: 24 15 N, 76 00 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

Area:
  • total: 13,940 sq km
  • water: 3,870 sq km
  • land: 10,070 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: 0.8%
  • permanent crops: 0.4%
  • other: 98.8% (2001)

    Irrigated land: NA sq km

    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


    People
    Наверх
    Population:
    299,697
  • note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2004 est.)

    Age structure:
  • 0-14 years: 28.3% (male 42,474; female 42,423)
  • 15-64 years: 65.7% (male 96,825; female 99,985)
  • 65 years and over: 6% (male 7,351; female 10,639) (2004 est.)

    Median age:
  • total: 27.3 years
  • male: 26.5 years
  • female: 28 years (2004 est.)

    Population growth rate: 0.72% (2004 est.)

    Birth rate: 18.22 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)

    Death rate: 8.82 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
    Net migration rate: -2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)

    Sex ratio: at birth:
  • 1.02 male(s)/female
  • under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
  • 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
  • total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2004 est.)

    Infant mortality rate:
  • total: 25.7 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 19.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
  • male: 31.73 deaths/1,000 live births

    Life expectancy at birth:
  • total population: 65.63 years
  • male: 62.21 years
  • female: 69.11 years (2004 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 2.23 children born/woman (2004 est.)

    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 3% (2003 est.)

    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 5,600 (2003 est.)

    HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)

    Nationality:
  • noun: Bahamian(s)
  • adjective: Bahamian

    Ethnic groups: black 85%, white 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%

    Religions: Baptist 32%, Anglican 20%, Roman Catholic 19%, Methodist 6%, Church of God 6%, other Protestant 12%, none or unknown 3%, other 2%

    Languages: English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

    Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 95.6%
  • male: 94.7%
  • female: 96.5% (2003 est.)


    Government
    Наверх
    Country name:
  • conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
  • conventional short form: The Bahamas

    Government type: constitutional parliamentary democracy

    Capital: Nassau

    Administrative divisions: 21 districts; Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Exuma, Freeport, Fresh Creek, Governor's Harbour, Green Turtle Cay, Harbour Island, High Rock, Inagua, Kemps Bay, Long Island, Marsh Harbour, Mayaguana, New Providence, Nichollstown and Berry Islands, Ragged Island, Rock Sound, Sandy Point, San Salvador and Rum Cay

    Independence: 10 July 1973 (from UK)

    National holiday: Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
    Constitution: 10 July 1973

    Legal system: based on English common law

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
  • chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Dame Ivy DUMONT (since NA May 2002)
  • head of government: Prime Minister Perry CHRISTIE (since 3 May 2002) and Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia PRATT (since 7 May 2002)
  • cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
  • elections: none; the monarch 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-member body appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader for five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (40 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 1 May 2002 (next to be held by May 2007)
  • election results: percent of vote by party - PLP 50.8%, FNM 41.1%, independents 5.2%; seats by party - PLP 29, FNM 7, independents 4
    Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; magistrates courts

    Political parties and leaders: Free National Movement or FNM [Tommy TURNQUEST]; Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Perry CHRISTIE]

    Political pressure groups and leaders: NA

    International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOM, IOC, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
  • chief of mission: Ambassador Joshua SEARS
  • consulate(s) general: Miami and New York
  • FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668
  • telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660
  • chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
  • chief of mission: Ambassador John D. ROOD
  • embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau
  • mailing address: local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau; Department of State, 3370 Nassau Place, Washington, DC 20521-3370
  • telephone: [1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 (after hours)
  • FAX: [1] (242) 356-0222
    Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side


    Economy
    Наверх
    Economy - overview:
    The Bahamas is a stable, developing nation with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism alone accounts for more than 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs half of the archipelago's labor force. Steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences had led to solid GDP growth in recent years, but the slowdown in the US economy and the attacks of 11 September 2001 held back growth in these sectors in 2001-03. Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy, accounting for about 15% of GDP. However, since December 2000, when the government enacted new regulations on the financial sector, many international businesses have left The Bahamas. Manufacturing and agriculture together contribute approximately a tenth of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. Overall growth prospects in the short run rest heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector, which depends on growth in the US, the source of more than 80% of the visitors. In addition to tourism and banking, the government supports the development of a "third pillar," e-commerce.

    GDP: purchasing power parity - $5.049 billion (2003 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate: 0% (2003 est.)

    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $16,700 (2003 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
  • agriculture: 3%
  • industry: 7%
  • services: 90% (2001 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
  • lowest 10%: NA
  • highest 10%: NA

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.7% (2002 est.)

    Labor force: 156,000 (1999)

    Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 5%, industry 5%, tourism 50%, other services 40% (1999 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 6.9% (2001 est.)

    Budget:
  • revenues: $918.5 million
  • expenditures: $956.5 million, including capital expenditures of $106.7 million (FY99/00)

    Agriculture - products: citrus, vegetables; poultry

    Industries: tourism, banking, e-commerce, cement, oil refining and transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe

    Industrial production growth rate: NA (2002 est.)

    Electricity - production: 1.56 billion kWh (2001)

    Electricity - consumption: 1.451 billion kWh (2001)

    Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)

    Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001)

    Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)

    Oil - consumption: 23,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)

    Oil - exports: NA (2001)

    Oil - imports: NA (2001)

    Exports: $617 million (2002 est.)

    Exports - commodities: fish and crawfish; rum, salt, chemicals; fruit and vegetables

    Exports - partners: US 35%, Spain 9.6%, Germany 7.8%, France 7.6%, Poland 5.3%, Switzerland 4.8%, Peru 4.2%, Paraguay 4.2% (2003)

    Imports: $1.614 billion (2002 est.)

    Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and live animals

    Imports - partners: US 20.8%, South Korea 17.4%, Italy 11.4%, France 9.1%, Brazil 7.5%, Japan 5.6%, Venezuela 5.3% (2003)

    Debt - external: $308.5 million (2002)

    Economic aid - recipient: $9.8 million (1995)

    Currency: Bahamian dollar (BSD)

    Currency code: BSD

    Exchange rates: Bahamian dollars per US dollar - 1 (2003), 1 (2002), 1 (2001), 1 (2000), 1 (1999)

    Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


    Communications
    Наверх
    Telephones - main lines in use:
    131,700 (2003)

    Telephones - mobile cellular: 121,800 (2002)

    Telephone system: general assessment: modern facilities
  • domestic: totally automatic system; highly developed
  • international: country code - 1-242; tropospheric scatter and submarine cable to Florida; 3 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (1997)

    Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)

    Radios: 215,000 (1997)

    Television broadcast stations: 2 (2004)

    Televisions: 67,000 (1997)

    Internet country code: .bs

    Internet hosts: 302 (2003)

    Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 19 (2000)

    Internet users: 84,000 (2003)


    Transportation
    Наверх
    Highways:
  • total: 2,693 km
  • paved: 1,546 km
  • unpaved: 1,147 km (1999 est.)

    Ports and harbors: Freeport, Matthew Town, Nassau

    Merchant marine:
  • total: 1,035 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 31,631,252 GRT/43,025,977 DWT
  • by type: bulk 165, cargo 188, chemical tanker 45, combination bulk 10, combination ore/oil 17, container 97, liquefied gas 27, livestock carrier 2, multi-functional large load carrier 4, passenger 108, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 163, refrigerated cargo 133, roll on/roll off 34, short-sea/passenger 18, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 20
  • foreign-owned: Algeria 1, Australia 7, Belgium 14, Bermuda 1, Canada 4, Chile 1, China 4, Croatia 1, Cuba 3, Cyprus 14, Denmark 49, Estonia 1, Faroe Islands 1, Finland 9, France 21, Germany 13, Gibraltar 1, Greece 163, Hong Kong 9, India 1, Indonesia 3, Ireland 1, Israel 3, Italy 7, Japan 35, Kenya 2, South Korea 1, Latvia 1, Liberia 1, Malaysia 11, Malta 1, Monaco 68, Netherlands 29, New Zealand 1, Norway 231, Panama 2, Philippines 3, Poland 14, Reunion 1, Russia 1, Saudi Arabia 9, Singapore 13, Slovenia 1, Spain 6, Sweden 9, Switzerland 1, Thailand 1, Trinidad and Tobago 2
  • registered in other countries: 11 (2003 est.)

    Airports: 63 (2003 est.)

    Airports - with paved runways:
  • total: 29
  • over 3,047 m: 2
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 9
  • under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 14

    Airports - with unpaved runways:
  • total: 34
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 10
  • under 914 m: 21 (2004 est.)

    Heliports: 1 (2003 est.)


    Military
    Наверх
    Military branches:
    Royal Bahamas Defense Force (including Coast Guard)

    Military manpower - military age and obligation: 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)

    Military expenditures - dollar figure: NA

    Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA


    Transnational Issues
    Наверх
    Disputes - international:
    concerned about migrants fleeing Haiti's deteriorated economic and political conditions
    Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for US and Europe; offshore financial center



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