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The BahamasThe name of the Bahamas comes from the Spanish baja mar, meaning "shallow water." The Bahamas officially includes the article "the" before its name in English, the country's official language.


The islands of the Bahamas are flat and not particularly good for crop growth. The land isn't infertile, but in many places the ground is rocky and the rains may not come for months. Because of this, there is little agricultural history in the Bahamas and for long stretches of time over history the islands have been abandoned for these same reasons.

Of the few people that did live on the islands when the Europeans arrived, every person was moved elsewhere to provide the Spanish with cheap labor on agriculturally rich islands in the Caribbean. This raiding of the Bahamas led to the complete abandoning of the islands as no one lived on the islands for years. This movement of people also destroyed all traditions, languages, foods, and cultures of the people prior to this time.

In the 1600s the Bahamas began to be repopulated by people from other islands, most particularly from Bermuda and Jamaica. However, these people at the time were not indigenous to these islands, but were primarily ethnic Africans who arrived to the region via the slave trade. These people lived off the sea life and brought a distinct British culture to the islands as both of these islands were controlled by Britain at the time.

This British culture became even more pronounced in the late 1700s when the United States gained independence from the United Kingdom. Many British loyalists who lived in the United States fled to the British-controlled Bahamas, giving the islands a unique culture that sat somewhere between Britain and the United States, yet held on to influences from African through earlier immigration waves from Jamaica, Bermuda, and other Caribbean islands.

Remaining under British rule, the islands of the Bahamas again gained more diversity with the freeing of slaves in the British Empire; many of these former slaves fled to the Bahamas, altering the culture once more. Since this time changes on the islands have taken place, but not to any significant degree as the culture remains an odd mix of British, American, and African. However, due to their location, the culture today tends to have the greatest communication with and cultural associations with the United States, although African and British influences are undeniable.

One significant trait of the islands from the past remains true today: the lands are poor for crop growth so farming is difficult and few people make a living off the lands. The people make a living in many ways and the way of life on the islands differs from agriculturally-rich neighbors. Over time how the people have survived has changed, but has always been reliant on foreign trade and influence. Today this remains true in many ways as tourism helps sustain the country and economy. However, as tourism expands in the Bahamas, so too does the number of cultural similarities between the Bahamas and the countries from which the tourists arrive, primarily the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. None-the-less, the lifestyle, attitude, and, most importantly, the combination of the elements from these cultures, makes the Bahamian culture and way of life very unique and individual.

The three large stripes on the flag of the Bahamas represent the sea surrounding the islands. The black in the triangle symbolizes the vigor and force of the united people, while the triangle itself represents the enterprise and determination of the people to develop the resources of land and sea.

Name: Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Independence: July 10, 1973
Capital: Nassau
Currency: Bahamian Dollar
Population: 319,031 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: African, European, & others
Language: English
Religion: Protestant & Catholic

Information for the Bahamas was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks