Top 50 interesting facts about The Bahamas and Bahamians
The Bahamas is a small island nation off the southeast coast of North America that shares many similarities with neighbouring countries. But at the same time it is a unique country with its own customs, history and culture. In our article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its people, which will help to form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in the Bahamas.
50 most interesting facts about Bahamians and the Bahamas
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1. The first inhabitants of the archipelago were the Lucayan Indians, who settled on the islands in the IX century AD.
2. The first European to visit the Bahamas was Christopher Columbus. On 12 October 1492, his ships anchored off the island of San Salvador, and this day is considered the day of the discovery of America.
3. The Spanish virtually wiped out the Lucayan Indians by exporting them to the neighbouring islands of Cuba and Haiti to work on plantations.
4. The Bahamas was a haven for pirates until the middle of the 17th century, and the remains of Spanish galleons laden with gold are still found in its waters.
5. In 1650, the Bahamas went to the British, who founded a settlement on the Island of Eleuthera, and a hundred years later finally expelled the pirates.
6. Beginning in 1718, slavery supporters expelled from America began bringing slaves to the islands and established thousands of plantations. After slavery was abolished, the islanders lived a poor existence.
7. In the early twentieth century, the Bahamas became a smuggling capital. At this time, Prohibition was in effect in the States, and a huge rum warehouse was formed in Nassau.
8. In 1940, a military base was established in the Bahamas, and the military began to specially come on holiday to these places. This moment can be considered the beginning of the country’s tourism industry.
9. After the Second World War, the archipelago attracted rich holidaymakers, who were lured by the Governor-General of the island in every possible way.
10. In 1973, the Bahamas gained independence, but the British monarch is still the de facto head of state.
The Bahamas today
11. The Bahamas is now an independent nation, a member of the British Commonwealth and the UN. It is a democratic country with a low level of corruption.
12. The archipelago consists of 700 islands and atolls, most of which are uninhabited. In total, the archipelago includes about 3,000 islands.
13. The total area of the Bahamian Commonwealth is almost 14 thousand square kilometres, which is five times less than the area of the neighbouring island of Haiti.
14. In the Bahamas live 320 thousand people, and almost two-thirds of them – on the capital island of New Providence.
14. On New Providence is the capital of the country – Nassau. The city was founded by the English in the middle of the XVII century, and at first it was called Charlton. In 1695, it was renamed Nassau in honour of the new British King William III of Orange.
15. The most famous and bloodthirsty pirate of the Caribbean Sea – Blackbeard, aka Edward Teach – had his headquarters in Nassau at one time.
16. The official language of the country is English, due to the long British rule.
18. It is difficult to call the Bahamas a multinational country, because almost 90% of the population are descendants of African slaves and mestizos. Only 5 per cent of the population is represented by European immigrants.
19. The local currency is called the Bahamian dollar. It is actually pegged to the American dollar and is exchanged at a 1:1 rate.
20. The Bahamas lie in the time zone -5 and -4 UTC, that is 4–5 hours behind Greenwich time. There is a translation of time from summer to winter and vice versa.
21. The main attraction and value of the Bahamas are its beaches. These are extremely picturesque places with clean sand and shallow sea. On Harbour Island, the sand is an amazing pink colour.
22. Near Long Island is the famous Blue Hole of Dean, a sinkhole filled with water. Its depth is 202 metres, and it attracts divers from all over the world.
23. Another mysterious place in the archipelago is the Bimini Road, which stretches underwater from the island of the same name to the coast of Florida. The Bimini Road is made up of regular shaped stone slabs, and many believe it to be the remains of a megalithic structure.
24. Near Nassau, there is a resort island Paradise, where the most expensive and famous hotel of the archipelago – Atlantis – is located. The island is accessed by two bridges.
25. On the island of Grand Bahama is the Lucayan National Park, overgrown with Cuban pine, a rare tree for these places.
26. Among architectural sights, the Royal Staircase in Nassau stands out. It was carved directly into the rock in the middle of the XVII century. The staircase consists of 65 steps and has been preserved in its original form.
27. Near Nassau, an amazing sculpture weighing more than 60 tonnes is underwater. It was installed in 2014 and immediately became a landmark of the archipelago. The sculpture depicts a Greek goddess, but is called the Ocean Atlantean.
28. Nassau is also home to a well-preserved fortress called Fort Charlotte. Its walls still bear antique cannons, and it was once considered impregnable.
Character and customs
29. The culture and customs of the Bahamian people were greatly influenced by the traditions of African slaves and English settlers.
30. Bahamians are sociable and hospitable people who are always ready to invite tourists into their homes. At the same time, the attitude towards whites here is condescending.
31. By nature, Bahamians are slow and unhurried. They live in their own time and are in no hurry to get anywhere.
32. Tourists often note the unpunctuality of locals, but Bahamians are not late for important meetings – here it is considered a sign of respect.
33. Most Bahamians are Christians, and religion plays an important role in their lives. Attending church services on the islands has long been an integral part of the local way of life.
34. It is not customary to brag among the locals, but Bahamians respect a good joke and do not mind laughing at themselves and at others.
35. There is no uniform national dress here. People walk as they feel comfortable, preferring spacious and brightly coloured clothes, which perfectly save from the heat.
36. One of the main and very popular with tourists holidays in the Bahamas is the festival of Jankanoo. It originated among local slaves several centuries ago and is celebrated between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In those days, it was the only time of the year when slaves were freed from work and could have fun at their leisure.
37. Jankanu is accompanied by colourful costumed processions, music and dancing.
38. The family plays an important role in Bahamian life, although the attitude to the institution of marriage is more Western than archaic. Marriages are consensual, just as people are free to divorce.
39. In the Bahamas there is officially no gender inequality, a woman has the same rights as a man. But men still outnumber men in leadership positions.
40. The head of the family in the Bahamas is usually a man, although sometimes this role can be taken by a woman. Children are raised jointly by both parents, often entrusting the process to grandparents.
41. Bahamian families treat the elderly with respect and reverence. The infirm are cared for with touching care and tenderness, the words of elders are necessarily listened to and their opinions are taken into account.
42. The islands to the south of the archipelago are inhabited by natives of Haiti and other Caribbean islands. They speak Creole, a language related to French, and the religion is voodoo.
Nature of the Bahamas
43. The Bahamas lie entirely within the tropical climate zone. The northern Tropic of Cancer crosses the archipelago just south of Grand Bahama through the beach of Little Exuma Island.
44. Along the coasts of the archipelago runs the warm Atlantic current, the Gulf Stream, which has a great influence on the climate of the islands.
45. Cyclones and storms are frequent in the Bahamas. They bring hurricane force winds and cause flooding. Cyclones are the main natural disaster of the islands.
46. Almost all the islands are barely above the water, their surface is flat. The highest point of the archipelago is on Cat Island – 63 metres above sea level.
47. The flora of the islands is represented mainly by coconut palms and bushes. Only on the larger islands there are forests of pine and evergreen trees.
48. One of the symbols of the Bahamas is the Tecoma shrub, which blooms with large bright yellow flowers.
49. The fauna of the islands is also not diverse. There are few mammals, but a lot of birds. Flamingos nest in the National Park on Big Inagua Island. In the season, up to 50 thousand of these birds gather there.
50. The Bahamas has only one river on Andros Island and several freshwater lakes. But along the coast there are many salt lakes that communicate with the sea.
Friends, if you know any other interesting facts about the Bahamas and the country itself, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would love to learn something new. We would be very grateful to you!