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The Bahamas (officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas) are in the Lucayan Archipelago and consist of over 700 islands and cays in the Atlantic Ocean. The largest is Andros but the capital lies on New Providence.The country is north of Cuba, northwest of the Turks and Caicos, and southeast of Florida.

Originally inhabited by the Arawak Lucayan (Taino) people from 1,100 AD, the Bahamas was the site of Columbus' first landfall in the New World in 1492.

The Spanish shipped all the natives to slavery in Hispaniola and the islands were mostly deserted until 1648 when English colonists from Bermuda settled on Eleuthera.

A haven for pirates, piracy was suppressed by the British when the Bahamas became a Crown colony in 1718. After the American War of Independence loyalists to the UK settled in the islands, along with their slaves, and Africans now constitute the majority of the population. The country also attracted freed slaves after abolition in 1834.

The UK made the Bahamas self-governing in 1964 and the country became an independent realm of the Commonwealth in 1973. The Bahamian economy depends on tourism and finance.

The Bahamas are carbonate banks cored by volcanic basement. All the islands are low and flat, with ridges that usually rise no more than 15 to 20m. The highest point in the country is Mount Alvernia on Cat Island which has an elevation of 63m.

This geology is not suitable for the generation and accumulation of commercial volumes of oil and gas onshore.

Offshore deep water basins may have some potential on the US side of the islands, particularly for gas, but the country is unlikely to achieve any production in the short and medium term and no output has been forecast by Globalshift.

THE BAHAMAS

Map and National Flag

CENTRAL AMERICA

Secluded bay

Central America

The Bahamas

E and P

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Capital

Population

Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)

Statistics

Nassau

0.34 mm

13,943

None

None

25

None

Brief history of the country

The Bahamas is a parliamentary monarchy (UK) represented by a Governor-General. Political and legal traditions also follow those of the UK.

Legislative power is vested in a bicameral parliament, which consists of a 38-member House of Assembly and a 16-member Senate, appointed by the Governor-General. The Prime Minister is the head of government.

The Ministry of Environment and Housing oversee oil and gas operations. The Bahamas Petroleum Company is an exploration company with 100% owned offshore licences exclusively focused on the The Bahamas.

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