Map of The Bahamas islands, Atlantic Ocean

Bahamas Google Map

Bahamas is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean (to the north) and the Straits of Florida.

The Bahamas

This chain of around 3, 000 islands and islets curves just north of Cuba and is mostly encompassed by the Atlantic Ocean and partly by the Straits of Florida. The islands are generally flat with a few small hills, the highest being on Cat Island and reaches 200 ft (63 metres).

Bimini is the tiny Bahamian island closest to Florida, USA, just 53 miles (81 kms) away and about 1. 5 hours on a reasonably fast boat. A fast ferry is supposed to be making regular trips from Florida starting late 2012.

A Short History of Bahamas

One of the islands, now called San Salvador, is probably where Chris Columbus first set foot in the Americas in 1492, and in the process ruined the lives of the indigenous people, the Lucayans, by shipping them off to slavery, disease and death in Hispaniola.

The country has been British-oriented since 1718 when the Royal Navy was sent to discourage pirates – including the notorious Blackbeard – from pillaging Her Majesty’s ships. The Bahamas was one of the pirate bases but soon became a crown colony and was well-placed to intercept and disrupt pirate attacks.

During the American War of Independence US marines briefly occupied Nassau, capital of The Bahamas and later Loyalists and their slaves fled there at the end of the war. Slave trade was abolished by the British in 1807 and thousands of slaves liberated by the Royal Navy from slave ships were released onto The Bahamas. The islands remained British until full indpendence in 1973.