The History Of The Bahamas

By: Gordon Warre

Christopher Columbus's first landfall in the New World was on an island he named San Salvador (known to the Lucayans as Guanahahani) which may be Samana Cay or present-day San Salvador Island (also known as Watling's Island), in the central part of the Bahamas archipelago. In 1973, the Bahamas became fully independent, but retained membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. The Bahamas national football team is the national team of the Bahamas and is controlled by the Bahamas Football Association.

The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. The Bahamas were a Crown colony from 1717 until they were granted internal self-government in 1964. The government fully operates 158 of the 210 primary and secondary schools in The Bahamas. For decades, the white-dominated United Bahamian Party (UBP) ruled The Bahamas, then a dependency of the United Kingdom, while a group of influential white merchants, known as the "Bay Street Boys," dominated the local economy.

The Bahamas imports more than $250 million in foodstuffs per year, representing about 80% of its food consumption. The Government of The Bahamas welcomes foreign investment in tourism and banking and has declared an interest in agricultural and industrial investments to generate local employment, particularly in white-collar or skilled jobs. The United States and The Bahamas also actively cooperate on law enforcement, civil aviation, marine research, meteorology, and agricultural issues.

Although many attribute Bahamian 'island time' to its location and the Caribbean stereotypes of mellowness, The Bahamas is not actually classified as a Caribbean country, since it dwells in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamas is a tropical island chain in the Caribbean Sea, popular as a tourist destination. The largest airports in the Bahamas are at the capital Nassau, on New Providence, and Freeport, on Grand Bahama. The College of The Bahamas is the main institution that offers post secondary education in the country with several schools including and undergraduate business school, an undergraduate social science.

Independent from the United Kingdom since 1973, the Bahamas is a Commonwealth nation with a century-old democratic tradition. Tourists who arrive by private boat are required to declare firearms to Bahamian Customs and leave firearms on the boat while in the Bahamas. The Bahamas enjoys a high per capita income, but there are imbalances in the distribution of wealth, most of which is concentrated in the commercial and tourist centres.

For further information on firearms in the Bahamas, contact the High Commission for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

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