2~History~*The first inhabitants of the Bahamas where the arawak Indians.*oct. 12, 1492 was Columbus's first encounter with the new world. this is when he landed on the Bahamian island.*in the 17th century the British first built settlements on the island.*the Bahamas were a favorite pirate haunt in the early 18th century.*The Bahamas were a Crown colony from 1717 until they were granted internal self-government in 1964.*in 1968 the islands moved toward greater autonomy after the overwhelming victory in general elections of the progressive liberal party over the predominantly white united Bahamians party. ( this was led by prime minister lynden o. pindling. )*Pindling's government negotiated a new constitution with Britain under which the colony became the Commonwealth of the Bahama Islands in 1969 with its new mandate from the black population. (85% of Bahamians)*The Bahamas became an independent nation on July 10, 1973
4GeographyThe Bahamas are an archipelago of about 700 islands and 2,400 uninhabited islets and cays lying 50 mi off the east coast of Florida. They extend for about 760 mi (1,223 km). Only about 30 of the islands are inhabited; the most important is New Providence (80 sq mi; 207 sq km), on which the capital, Nassau, is situated. Other islands include Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Andros, Cat Island, and San Salvador (or Watling's Island).
5Population309,156 (growth rate: 0.5%); birth rate: 16.8/1000; infant mortality rate: 23.1/1000; life expectancy: 65.7; density per sq km: 30
6EconomyOnce heavily reliant on agriculture and fishing, the Bahamas has diversified its economy into tourism, financial services, and international shipping. While the nation enjoys a per capita income that is among the top 30 in the world, there is a big gap between the urban middle class and poor farmers. In addition, the nation is vulnerable to hurricanes, which regularly inflict serious damage. Hubert Ingraham became prime minister in May 2007 after his Free National Movement, an opposition party, won parliamentary elections.