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Bahamas:
Geography

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Bahamas Page


Background
Definition
Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973, The Bahamas have prospered through tourism and international banking and investment management. Because of its geography, the country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly shipments to the US and Europe, and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.
Location
Definition
Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba
Geographic coordinates
Definition
24 15 N, 76 00 W
Map references
Definition
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 13,940 sq km
land: 10,070 sq km
water: 3,870 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
3,542 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream
Terrain
Definition
long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Alvernia, on Cat Island 63 m
Natural resources
Definition
salt, aragonite, timber, arable land
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0.58%
permanent crops: 0.29%
other: 99.13% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
10 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
hurricanes and other tropical storms cause extensive flood and wind damage
Environment - current issues
Definition
coral reef decay; solid waste disposal
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited


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