50 Things To Know About The Bahamas
You could probably pass a test for citizenship if you know all this

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Fifty Helpful Things To Know
About The Bahamas

1. The Bahamas comes from the Spanish words “baja mar” meaning shallow sea, and is an archipelago of over 700 islands stretching over 100,000 square miles in the Western Atlantic Ocean

2. The Lucayan Indians were the original inhabitants who lived throughout The Bahamas from 900-1500 A.D.

3. Christopher Columbus (the first European visitor) made his first landfall in the New World on San Salvador (called Guanahani by the Lucayan Indians) in 1492

4. The first English settlers of Eleuthera shipped Braselitto wood to Boston as a thank you for the support given by the people of Massachusetts. The proceeds from the sale of this precious wood went to purchase the land for Harvard College, which eventually became Harvard University.

5. Charles Town on New Providence Island was burnt to the ground by the Spanish in 1684, but later rebuilt and renamed Nassau in 1695 to honor King William III (formerly Prince of Orange-Nassau)

6. The Bahamas House of Assembly first officially convened in 1729

7. In 1788, The Bahamas exported 450 tons of cotton to Britain

8. Nassau was officially promoted as a fashionable winter season resort in 1898 with the Hotel and Steam Ship Service Act

9. The Bahama Islands became the free and sovereign Commonwealth of The Bahamas on 10th July 1973 ending 325 years of British rule (but remains part of the Commonwealth)

10. The Bahamas with over 270 years of democratic rule is one of the most politically stable countries in the world

11. The Bahamas does not have an army

12. There are no rivers in The Bahamas

13. The Bahamas has the world's third longest barrier reef

14. 5% of the world's coral can be found in the waters of The Bahamas

15. The Islands of the Bahamas are made entirely of calcium carbonate, which is mainly produced or precipitated by the organisms of coral reefs

16. The Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island is the site of the world's longest known underwater cave and cavern system

17. The Bahamas has the clearest waters in the world with visibility of over 200 feet (61 meters). It has been scientifically proven that a specific alga, which requires light to live, is found deeper in The Bahamas than anywhere else on earth.

18. If you travel from the northernmost to the southernmost point of The Bahamas, it is roughly the same distance as between the northernmost point of Scotland and the southernmost point of England

19. Andros (2,300 square miles) is the fifth largest island in the Caribbean, but only has a population of 8,000 people

20. Mount Alvernia on Cat Island at 206 ft (63 meters) is the highest point in The Bahamas

21. Bimini is a mere 40 miles (80 km) from Florida
Natural World
22. 109 species of birds breed in the Islands of the Bahamas

23. The world's first land-and-sea park was established in the Exuma Cays in 1958

24. There are 120 species of plants found only in The Bahamas

25. Inagua is a bird watcher's paradise with the world's largest breeding colony of West Indian flamingos (over 60,000)

26. Several species of whales and dolphins, including blue and humpback whales and spotted dolphin are found in the waters of The Bahamas

27. Main exports are pharmaceuticals, cement, rum, crawfish (spiny lobster) and refined petroleum products

28. Tourism generates 50% of the total GDP and directly/indirectly employs half of the total workforce

People & Culture
29. According to the World Health Organization, only 3% of women and 19% of men in The Bahamas are smokers

30. Junkanoo (which has been compared to Carnival in Rio and Mardi Gras in New Orleans) is a colorful and uniquely Bahamian parade held on Boxing Day and New Year's Day

31. A native of Nassau is called a Nassuvian

32. The Bahamas has a population of 305,000. 70% of the people live on New Providence Island (home of the capital city Nassau), which is only the eleventh largest island in The Bahamas

Sports, Arts & Entertainment
33. HE Sir Sidney Poitier (1963 Oscar winner for Best Actor in Lilies of the Field and an Honorary Award in 2002) has been an Ambassador for The Bahamas to Japan. Sir Sidney was born in Miami, but is of Bahamian parentage and grew up in The Bahamas.

34. Bahamian tennis player Mark Knowles along with Daniel Nestor (Canadian) won the Men's Doubles Championship at the 2002 Australian Open

35. In 2001, Bahamian group Baha Men won a Grammy Award in the dance-recording category for their hit Who Let the Dogs Out

36. At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia, the results were analyzed on a per capita basis for the first time. It was revealed that with two medals (1 gold and 1 silver), The Bahamas actually won the Games

37. The Bahamas women's 4x100 relay team (athletics) won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and a gold medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney

38. Feature films using Bahamian locations include The Outsider, Silence of the Lambs, Cocoon I & II, Flipper, Thunderball, Splash, Never Say Never Again, Zeus and Roxanne, Jaws the Revenge and Speed 2.

Famous Visitors/Residents
39. On a visit in the 1760s, George Washington referred to The Bahamas as the 'Isles of Perpetual June'

40. From 1940-1945, HRH The Duke of Windsor was Royal Governor of The Bahamas

41. Eleuthera has been a romantic hideaway for the British Royal Family for many years. This 110 mile long island is where HRH Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana spent a holiday in 1982 and where Prince Edward proposed to Sophie in 1999.

Other Facts
42. Cascarilla bark grown in a few Out Islands is used to flavor Campari and Vermouth

43. There is no income or corporate tax and no capital gains or inheritance tax in The Bahamas

44. In The Bahamas we drive on the left, but most vehicles are left-hand drive

45. The Graycliff Restaurant is a five star restaurant situated in a 250 year old mansion in Nassau. It has one of the largest wine cellars in the Western Hemisphere with over 200,000 bottles of the world's finest vintages and also has its own cigar factory.

46. Bimini is the big gamefishing capital of the world and is also where Ernest Hemingway lived from 1935 to 1937

47. The ratio of flamingos to people on Great Inagua is 61:1

48. The Nassau Public Library (an octagonal building) was originally a jail

49. Some unusual island names are Ragged Island, Crooked Island, Rum Cay, Conception Island, Exuma, Big Farmer's Cay and Great Sayle Cay

50. Paradise Island was originally called Hogg Island.

Information provided by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, www.bahamas.com.

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