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Lucayan 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 has 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 Europe, and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.


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Geography

Location
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 World Ranking: 161
Total 13,880 sq km
Land 10,010 sq km
Water 3,870 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 0.58%
Permanent crops 0.29%
Other 99.13% (2005)

Irrigated land
10 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
NA

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


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  The Bahamas (Nassau):


  GPS points from The Bahamas (Nassau)

Turtle Cove Long Island District

Current Island Settlement Harbour Island District

Buckley's Point Long Island District

Wood Cay Point Kemps Bay District

Ragged Island Range Ragged Island

Golden Grove High Rock District

Cormorant Point City Of Freeport District

Bamboo Point Rock Sound District




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