The Bahamas





Basic Data

The Bahamas

Official Country Name: Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Region (Map name): North & Central America
Population: 294,982
Language(s): English, Creole
Literacy rate: 98.2%

Seven hundred islands make up the Bahamas, located just south of Florida in the Caribbean Sea. Although the country was granted independence from Great Britain in 1973, important ties remain between the two countries. The Bahamas is still a member of the British Commonwealth, and the British monarch serves as its titular head of government. The real leader of the country, however, is the Prime Minister, who presides over a Senate, which is appointed, and a House of Assembly, which is elected. English is the official and most common language spoken, though Creole is spoken by the country's immigrant Haitian population. The estimated population is 300,000 with a 98-percent literacy rate. Tourism is the largest segment of the economy, but offshore banking also produces a significant amount of revenue.

Bahamians enjoy freedom of press and speech. There are two independent, national newspapers that publish from the capital, Nassau. The Nassau Guardian, which has been publishing continually since 1844, is the leading daily with an estimated circulation of 15,000 and an online presence. Close behind with an approximate circulation of 13,000 is The Tribune, which publishes every day but Sunday. The Bahama Journal, also published from Nassau, is a weekly newspaper that reaches 4,000 to 6,000 readers and is also available online.

The Nassau Guardian publishes local editions for Freeport ( Freeport News ), Andros Town (Andros Chronicles), George Town ( Exuma Sentinel ), Governor's Harbor ( Eleuthere Advocate ), and Turnbull (Long IslandMail). The Abaco Journal, established in 1987, publishes monthly from Marsh Harbour. A government publication, the Official Gazette, publishes weekly. Total circulation for daily newspapers in 1996 was 99 per one thousand population.

There are six radio stations, three AM and three FM, and one television station, which is owned by the government. Bahamians own approximately 215,000 radios and 67,000 television sets. There are 19 Internet service providers.

Bibliography

The Bahama Journal, 2002 Home Page. Available from http://www.jonescommunicationsltd.com/journal.html .

"The Bahamas," CIA World Fact Book, 2001-2002. Available from http://www.cia.gov .

The Nassau Guardian, 2002 Home Page. Available from http://www.thenassauguardian.com .

New York: 2000, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistical Division, Statistical Yearbook, 44th issue, 1997.

Jenny B. Davis

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