The Bahamas is a chain of 700 islands and cays, approximately 30 of which are inhabited. The population is estimated to be slightly more than 300,000 people, most of whom reside in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera. The Bahamian archipelago begins about 50 miles off the coast of Florida and stretches for 550 miles to the Southeast. The Bahamas is an independent, English-speaking country with an adult literacy rate among the best in the world (95%).
The Bahamas has comprehensive and modern infrastructure, with electricity and water in abundant supply. Telecommunications services and facilities in the Bahamas are state-of-the-art, with direct international links provided through a 100% digital switching system.
The Bahamas has an extremely stable and pro-business Government, with the longest running uninterrupted democracy in the Western Hemisphere (over 280 years). On July 10, 1973, the Bahamas gained its independence from Great Britain and remains a fully democratic nation, governed by its own Parliament and Constitution. The Constitution of the Bahamas proclaims the islands as a sovereign democratic state, sets forth requirements for citizenship and guarantees fundamental human rights. The Bahamas retains its ties with the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth) and also retains the British monarch as its figurative head of state.
The official currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar. The Bahamian dollar is equal in value to the U.S. dollar, and the two are used inter-changeably throughout the islands. The Exchange Control is administered by The Central Bank of the Bahamas.
The Bahamas enjoys a stable and prosperous economy driven primarily by tourism and offshore banking. The Bahamas is the wealthiest nation in the Caribbean and boasts the third highest GDP per capita in the Western Hemisphere.