Today July 10th, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas celebrates 39 years of independence from British rule, having gained independence on this day in 1973.
The Bahamas i/bəˈhɑːməz/, officially the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country consisting of more than 3,000 islands, cays, and islets. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States (nearest to the state of Florida). Its land area is 13,939 km2 (5,382 sq mi), with a population of 353,658. Its capital is Nassau. Geographically, the Bahamas lie in the same island chain as Cuba, Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands; the designation of Bahamas refers normally to the Commonwealth and not the geographic chain.
Originally inhabited by the Lucayans, 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 to 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.
The Bahamas became a Crown Colony in 1718 when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American War of Independence, thousands of American Loyalists and enslaved Africans moved to the Bahamas and set up a plantation economy. The slave trade was abolished in the British Empire in 1807 and many Africans liberated from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled in the Bahamas during the 19th century. Slavery itself was abolished in 1834 and the descendants form the majority of the Bahamas’s population today.
In terms of GDP per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada). [Wiki]
Here are some celebs who boast Bahamian heritage:Sir Sidney Poitier (Actor and Ambassador), Shakara Ledard (Super Model), Sir Lynden Pindling (former Prime Minister), Debbie Ferguson (Olympian and sprint athlete), “King” Eric Gibson ( musician and entrepreneur. He is also the semi-official Ambassador of Bahamian Goodwill), Baha Men (singing group), Roxie Roker, played Helen Willis on the Jeffersons-mother of Lenny Kravitz and cousin of anchorman Al Roker), Lenny Kravitz (musician, actor, father to actress Zoe Kravitz), Rick Fox (former NBA Champion for the Los Angeles Lakers, actor), Jeanene Fox (Super Model and International Actress. Sister to former NBA Champion Rick Fox), Kimbo Slice (streetfighter turned mixed martial artist), Mychal “Sweet Bells” Thompson (former NBA player for the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers) Wendy Coakley-Thompson (author of Back to Life and What You Won’t Do for Love), Mark Knowles (Bahamian Professional tennis player), Edner Cherry (professional boxer), Persia White (actress -played Lyn on Girlfriends), Myles Munroe (internationally known televangelist), Tonique Williams-Darling (2004 Olympic gold medalist (400 m) 2005 IAAF World Champion, she split the Golden League – Million Dollar Jackpot ($500,000) by winning 8 consecutive 400m events in the championship series), Cara Saunders (Junior National Bahamian Track and Field Medalist), Esther Rolle (stage and television actress known for her character portrayal of Florida Evans in two 1970s television sitcoms, Maude and Good Times), Myron Rolle, (National Football League player, Tennessee Titans, and Rhodes Scholar), Muh Buiy Dem (creators of the new muisical genre called “Muddoe Music” which is related to the nationally cultural music of Junkanoo), Angelique Sabrina (pop artist), Sammie Starr (reggae/pop artist, former politician), Alex 242 (pop star), Michael K Williams (actor, The Wire)
St. Peter’s Church- Long Island (Photo source)
Kids in costume during Junkanoo festivities (photo source)
Atlantis Bahamas Resort (Photo source)
MOTTO: “Forward, Upward, Onward, Together”
ANTHEM: March on Bahamaland
NATIONAL FLOWER: The yellow elder
NATIONAL BIRD: Flamingo
NATIONAL TREE: Tree of Life (Lignum Vitae)
NATIONAL DISH: Crack Conch with Peas and Rice
AIRPORT: Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) | Grand Bahama International Airport (Freeport) |
DRIVES ON THE: left
CURRENCY: Bahamian Dollar (BSD)
AREA CODE: 242
INTERNET TLD: .bs
CELEBRATES CARNIVAL IN: December