Many people think of the Bahamas as a group of Caribbean islands, but in fact, they’re not part of the Caribbean at all. The Bahamas are a group of over 700 islands and coral cays, situated in the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Florida, USA. Thanks to this location the islands’ inhabitants enjoy warm trade winds throughout the year, along with a pleasantly warm climate. Temperatures in the low 20s Celsius are usual between September and May, with peaks in the high 20s during the remainder of the year.
To most of the world, The Bahamas is best known as a gorgeous tropical holiday destination. White sands, turquoise waters, perfect weather and an abundance of marine life. There are still many surprises here, however. One example is the mysterious Dean’s Blue Hole, that world’s deepest saltwater blue hole. With a depth of 202 metres, the hole is adjacent to a beach on Long Island, and is a popular place for free divers hoping to set world records.
The history of this island nation is a fascinating one. Its location between the Caribbean and the coast of the USA made it a popular safe haven for pirates in the 17the century, and famous pirates such as Captain Kidd, Henry Morgan, and Blackbeard all frequented the larger islands.
The Bahamas were first inhabited by the Tainos people, who migrated from Cuba and Hispaniola between the 8th and 11th century CE. By the time the first Europeans came, around 40,000 Tainos people lived there. They were hunters, gatherers, farmers, and fishers, living in small thatched huts and growing crops such as cotton and tobacco.
The first European to sight and land on the Bahamas was Christopher Columbus, who arrived in 1492. Many of the Tainos were taken by the Spanish to work as slaves on nearby islands, and in a short time the Tainos population of the Bahamas died out.
By the mid-17th century the islands were frequented by pirates, and later was inhabited by freed African slaves who migrated from nearby islands. The Bahamas then became a colony of the British Empire, and the country was granted self-governing status in 1964. In 1973 The Bahamas was granted independence and became a fully self-governing island nation.
The native fauna of the Bahamas includes insects and spiders, butterflies and moths, snakes and lizards, crustaceans and fish. With the world’s third-largest barrier reef in the world located here, there’s an abundance of colourful tropical fish, as well as eels, turtles, and nurse sharks. Adding to the sheer diversity of life are hundreds of bird species that live on or migrate to the islands, and marine mammals such as dolphins, humpback whales, and blue whales, which spend time in the waters offshore throughout the year.
The native yellow elder tree, which blooms throughout the year with trumpet-shaped blossoms, is the country’s national flower. Other natives include species of hibiscus and bougainvillea, in colourful red, pink, and orange hues. More than a hundred species of plant life aren’t found anywhere else in the world, including several delicately beautiful orchids and some agave species.
If you currently live in Bahamas and would like to move to the UK to live, work or study, then you can learn lots more about Immigration on our website.
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