Description of Bahamas
The Bahamas is an island country with over 700 islets, cays, and islands in the Atlantic Ocean. It is located near Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. It also near the Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as Florida. Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas, and Nassau is located on New Providence island. The name “Bahamas” can be used to refer to the entire country or a bigger chain of islands that are also part of the Turks and Caicos Island.
The Bahamas was the first place that Columbus made landfall in 1492. Even though the Spanish didn’t ever colonize the Bahamas, they shipped the natives off as slaves to the Dominican Republic. The islands were nearly deserted throughout most of the 1500s and early 1600s, and that is when some English people from Bermuda settled on one of the islands.
In 1718, the Bahamas became an official British Crown colony. After the Revolutionary War, thousands of Loyalists to the British set sail for the Bahamas with their slaves. The Loyalists set up a plantation economy there. When Britain abolished the slave trade, the Royal Navy resettled many formerly enslaved Africans in the Bahamas throughout the 19th century. American slaves escaped to the Bahamas in the 1800s, and almost 500 were freed from American salve ships in the domestic slave trade. Slavery in the region was outlawed in 1834. Now, the descendants of free Africans and slaves constitute the bulk of the population; issues pertaining to slavery are still a part of the society. The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth in 1973, and Queen Elizabeth II is still the monarch.
In terms of its GDP, the Bahamas is one of the wealthiest countries in the Americas, outside of Canada and the United States.
In the more rural outer islands (those that are less developed), handicrafts are very popular. Basketry made from palm fronds can be purchased from numerous local artisans. The material from which the baskets are made is usually just referred to as “straw”. It is put onto bags and hats that are popular with tourists traveling through the area. Sometimes, the “straw” is used for “Voodoo dolls”, although much of the fascination with Voodoo dolls is from Westerners, and it is not historically authenticated.
Some residents of the Bahamas practice a form of folk magic called obeah. However, this form of folk magic is mostly practiced by the Haitian-Bahamians and outside of the islands. The practice is outlawed in the Bahamas.
Every Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, there is a parade called Junkanoo. Junkanoo features art, dance, and music, and it is typically held in Nassau (along with a couple of other settlements). Junkanoo is used to celebrate other events and holidays as well, like Emancipation Day.
There are several popular dishes that are featured in Bahamian cuisine, and some areas have festivals related to a traditional food of that area, like the “pineapple Fest” or the “Crab Fest”. Story telling is another big tradition.
Bahamians are avid story tellers, and they have created quite a treasure trove of literature that scholarly tourists should explore. The literature includes short fictional works, plays, and poetry. There are several themes seen in the literature, such as a search for identity, nostalgia for the past, and a yearning for class and sophistication.
Bahamas culture is full of interesting legends, folklore, traditions, and stories.
The national flower of the Bahamas is the yellow elder. It was picked as the national flower because it is native to the island chain and it is always in bloom throughout the year.
The choice of the yellow elder over several other flowers was made through a popular vote of the members of the various garden clubs in New Providence in the 1970s.
The choice was made partly because other flowers grown on the island - include the hibiscus and poinciania - had already been picked as the national flowers of other countries. The yellow elder had never been selected by another country (although it has since been chosen as the national flower of the U.S. Virgin Islands).
The colors used in the national flag symbolize the hopes and dreams of the Bahamian people; the design mirrors elements of the natural environment (sea, sand, and sun) and the social and economic development. The colors of the flag are aquamarine, gold, and black.
The symbolism of the flag is understood as follows: Black is a very impactful and strong color, and it reprints the strength and force of a people united. The triangle points toward the man part of the flag and it represents the ambition and determination of the Bahamian people to create and possess the abundant resources of sea and sun symbolized by the aquamarine and gold, of course. Some white Bahamians have said that they are not represented on the flag if black is understood to mean the color of people, and they have joked that they could be considered the thread that holds it all together.
There are special rules for how to use the flag at special events. At a funeral, the national flag should be neatly draped over the coffin covering the top fully but not covering the bearers. The black triangle should be laid over the head of the dead person in the coffin. The flag will stay on the coffin throughout the entire service and taken off right before the coffin is lowered into the grave. When the flag is removed, it should be folded neatly and put away. The black triangle ought never to be shown pointing upwards or from the right of the viewer. This could be considered a sign of distress.
The Bahamas doesn’t have any official air force or army. Its military is comprised of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force, which is the navy of the Bahamas. According to the Defence Act, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has been given the mandate of defending the Bahamas in the name of The Queen, to protect the island chain, patrol the water, offer assistance and relief in times of distress and disaster, and to keep order in partnership with the law enforcement agencies of the islands, and carry out other duties as outlined by the National Security Council.
The Royal Bahamas Defense Force officially came into being on March 31st, 1980. Their duties were officially outlined as stopping smuggling, illegal immigration, and offering assistance to mariners wherever and whenever they could. There are 26 coastal and inshore craft, along with six aircraft and more than 1500 personnel that make up the defense force.
Etymology Of The Name
The name Bahamas comes from the Spanish phrase “baja mar” which means “shallow water or sea”. It is sometimes translated to “low tide”. The name reflects how shallow the waters are in the area. The name could also originate from “Guanahani”, which is a local name with a meaning that is not quite clear. In the English language, the Bahamas is one of just two countries whose official name starts with the “the”.
Sights In The Bahamas
Pirates of Nassau
There is a pirate that paces in front of the museum. You just can’t ignore him. This is a top choice destination. This museum features a re-creation of a sailing ship, animatronic pirates, and interesting exhibits on everything from famous pirates to marooning. The museum has the right combination of history and entertainment, so that parents, grandparents, students, and kids will be entertained. There’s even a gift shop called Plunder right next door.
Garden of the Groves
Garden of the Groves is a botanical garden that spans 12 acres of verdant, green tropical getaway on an island covered mostly with asphalt, concrete, and scrub pine. There is a walking trail that cuts across groves of java plum and tamarind trees, past waterfalls, a lagoon, and a little hilltop chapel. This little oasis is definitely a place you want to take your new bride or even your family. It’s a remote, romantic little spot that will transport you to another time and place.
Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Center
This little mini-zoo is the site of more than 300 animal species. Some of the most interesting animals include the lemurs, jaguars, and a little herd of pygmy goats. One of the major highlights of the zoo are the West Indian flamingos.
National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
This beautiful art museum is one of the treaters of the Bahamas. The permanent collection has pieces from contemporary and modern Bahamian artists.
Albert Lowe Museum
This museum was once the home of the primer minister of Britain, Neville Chamberlain, and it now features a nice collection of handcrafted model ships and pictures highlighting the history of the island chain.
This mock colonial mansion houses a perfume-making laboratory, where labcoat-wearing perfumers and technicians make colognes and perfumes. If you’ve ever wanted to see what it’s like inside a place where perfumes are made, here is your chance.
Wyannie Malone Museum
Wyannie Malone was a loyalist, and her husband died during the Revolutary War. She escaped to the Bahamas with her children and helped create Hope Town. Her name is now well-known across the Bahamas, and she is thought be the spiritual founder of Hope Tower. You can hear her story at this intimate little museum.
A vacation to the Bahamas just wouldn’t be complete for families without a trip to Atlantis’ big Waterscape. It is supposedly the world’s biggest open-air aquarium, and it has a number lagoons. It features more than 200 species of aquatic marine life.
This is a fun family getaway. From shark tanks to watersides to gorgeous beaches with fine white sand, Atlantis has something to offer everyone. If you want to stay inside, just pull up a seat at a table at the casino or get a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. You can even swim with the dolphins or go on a fishing expedition.
Visit The Bahamas Soon
When you picture the Bahamas, you probably think of white sand beaches and crystal blue waters. Those are spectacular reasons to visit the Bahamas. But there is so much more to do there. There are a lot of other places to explore.
Everyone that comes back from the Bahamas says how wonderful their experience was. You have no idea what you’re missing out on. Why go to Hawaii when you could experience so much more, and a distinct foreign nation? The Bahamas are scattered and well worth exploring. The nation has 700 islands and 2400 cays, and people have been exploring them for centuries. Add your name to the list of the thousands of explorers that have scoured the islands and cays since Christopher Columbus first arrived there in 1492.
The island chain offers numerous opportunities for adventure, fun, and new experiences that you can’t have anywhere else. You can sail to Abacos, dive in Andros, kayak the cays around Exumas, lounge on the beaches of Eleuthera, and study pirate history in Nassau. The Bahamas is just as fun for history buffs as it is for sunbathers that want to just relax on the beach and sip tropical drinks. You can learn about an important destination in European and American history or just take in the rays and wade out into the ocean. When you’re there, be sure to sample a true Bahamian cigar. You won’t believe your eyes at the mesmerizing blue of the waters, and you’ll be surprised at how much you fall in love with the Bahamas after your first visit.
While your puffing on that Bahamian cigar, drinking the famous Bahamian rum, and hanging out with the beautiful locals, be sure to try your hand at gambling. Gambling is legal in the Bahamas, which is something you won’t find in Hawaii.
Some facts about Bahamas
Gallery of Bahamas
Bahamas video guide
More information about Bahamas
Climate of Bahamas:
Top cities of Bahamas
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