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Bahamas

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Bahamas
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A British colony since 1783, the Bahamas became self-governing in 1964 and achieved full independence in 1973.  

Although it includes 700 subtropical islands and over 2,000 corals and cays, only 29 islands are inhabited. The land area is 5,382 square miles with a population of 253,000.  

Nassau is the capital and the major industries include tourism, offshore finance and banking. 

The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a country consisting of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean; north of Cuba and Hispaniola (theDominican Republic and Haiti); northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands; southeast of the U.S. state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys. Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. Geographically, the Bahamas lie near to Cuba, which is part of the Greater Antilles, along with Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Jamaica. The designation of "Bahamas" refers to the country and the geographic chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands. The three West Indies/Caribbean island groupings are: The Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles. As stated on the mandate/manifesto of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Bahamas territory encompasses 180,000 square miles of ocean space. From the Cay Sal Bank and Cay Lobos (just off of the coast of Cuba) in the west, to San Salvador, the Bahamas is much larger than is recorded in some sources.

Originally inhabited by the Lucayan, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taino people, the Bahamas were the site of Columbus' first landfall in the New World in 1492. Although the Spanish never colonized the Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola. The islands were mostly deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.

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