(THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS)

(WIPO code: BS) (latest review September 2021)

by KATZAROV S.A., Geneva, Switzerland

General Information

Area

11,400 sq. km.

Population

352,655 (estimated July 2021).

Capital

Nassau.

Language

English.

Currency

Bahamian dollar = U.S. dollar.

Industries

Tourism, rum, cement, banking and pharmaceuticals.

Chief crops

Citrus and vegetables.

Minerals

Salt and aragonite.

Other resources

Lobsters.

General Remarks

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas became independent from Great Britain on July 10, 1973, and is now an independent member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Bahamas comprises an archipelago, which encompasses 700 islands and bays extending over some 100,000 square miles of land and water. From the north of the chain which lies some 50 miles off the coast of Florida, U.S.A., they stretch in the south-easterly direction to about 150 miles north of Haiti.

The islands of the Bahamas are relatively low-lying with the highest elevation some 200 feet above sea level. On the eastern side of Andros, the largest of the islands, is the famous Tongue of the Ocean, a trench some 6,600 feet deep. Along this trench is a barrier reef, which is estimated to be the world’s third largest. This area is a great attraction for deep-sea divers, oceanic researchers and scientists. Nassau, the capital city of the Commonwealth, is situated on the island of New Providence. Very good roads extend throughout this island and throughout the Commonwealth’s second city, Freeport, on the island of Grand Bahama. There are good roads to all settlements on the Family Islands, as the other inhabited islands in the chain are called.

The major industry of the Bahamas is tourism, which accounts for approximately 70% of the gross national product and 60% of its total revenue. Supporting industries are agriculture, commercial fishing and finance. The Bahamas is one of the World’s premier offshore financial centers, employing more than 10% of the country’s labor force. It has one of the highest living standards in the Caribbean.

The sands of the beaches of the Commonwealth are rich in aragonite and this mineral is mined from underwater dunes in large quantities for industrial purposes.