Traveling Tuesdays Round Three is going to the Bahamas for the Letter B.
The Bahamas is a coral-based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Florida. It consists of over 700 islands and cays. Some of the islands are uninhabited while others are packed with resorts. In terms of gross domestic product per capital, the Bahamas is the third richest country in the Americas with an economy based on tourism and finance.
The name Bahamas comes from the Spanish term ‘baja mar’ pronounced Baha mar. Baha mar means shallow sea in Spanish and as can be seen in this photo taken from the Space Station, the water around the Bahamas is shallow. The sand made of white calcium carbonate and reflection of light off the bottom of the water creates a beautiful turquoise color.
The Lucayan people were the first inhabitants of The Bahamas. They were also the first inhabitants of the Americas encountered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. It is widely believed that Columbus’ first landed in the new world on the island of San Salvador which is one of the islands of The Bahamas. The early Spanish explorers forced most native Lucayans into slavery. In 1718 The Bahamas officially became a British colony and the British placed a ban on slavery and built settlements on the islands. The Bahamas gained independence from Britain and became an independent Commonwealth country in 1973 with Elizabeth II as its queen.
The official name of the country is the “Commonwealth of The Bahamas.” The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister is the head of government elected as the majority party leader. Great Britain appoints a ceremonial representative called a Governor-General. The Governor-General lives in the pink-hued Government House located in Nassau, the capital city of The Bahamas.
Nassau is the capital of The Bahamas. It is located on the island of New Providence. Of the almost 400,000 people who live in the country, about 70% of them live on the island of New Providence. Nassau’s main harbor is protected by Paradise Island. In the early days, the harbor attracted settlers, particularly pirates. In 1718 the first Royal Governor, Woodes Rogers expelled the pirates, restored order and built Fort Nassau. Today Nassau is connected to neighboring Paradise Island via the Nassau Harbor bridges. The city is a popular cruise-ship stop and the city is known for its beaches as well as its offshore coral reefs which are popular for diving and snorkeling.