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  • THE BAHAMAS

    2011

  • Contents1. ORIENTATION2. HISTORY AND ETHNIC RELATIONS3. POLITICAL LIFE4. FOOD5. ECONOMY6. GENDER ROLES AND STATUSES7. SOCIALIZATION8. RELIGION9. SECULAR CELEBRATIONS

  • The Bahamas

    The name Bahamas derives from the Spanish baja ("shallow") and mar ("sea").

    Motto:"Forward, Upward, Onward, Together"

  • Location and GeographyThe Bahamas lie in the Atlantic off the eastern coast of Florida and extend for over 700 miles, roughly parallel to Cuba. The nation consisting of 29 islands, 700 cays, and 2,400 islets (rocks).The land area is 5,382 square miles. The capital is Nassau.The climate is subtropical.

  • Demography Population estimates range from 275,000 to 325,000.85% African Bahamians, 12% European Bahamians, 3% Asians and Hispanic.

  • LanguageEnglish is the primary and official language.Standard English" among the urban elite "Bahamian English" among the poorer people. There are some differences in vocabulary and pronunciation from island to island.

  • History (1)The first residents were the Lukku-Cairis, or Lucayans.Christopher Columbus made his first hemispheric landfall in the Bahamas and claimed them for Spain.Many Lucayans were taken to Hispaniola and Cuba as slaves and the rest died of newly imported diseases.

  • History (2)The Spanish never settled the Bahamas.The region became a haven|for pirates.The British claimed the islands in 1629 and started a community on Eleuthera in 1648. During the American war of independency, the islands were a target for American naval forces.

  • History (3)In 1782, following the British defeat at Yorktown, a Spanish fleet appeared off the coast of Nassau.In 1783 after American independence, some Loyalists moved to The Bahamas and established British government.During the 1830 emancipation was legally mandated. The islands remained a British colony until independence was peacefully attained in 1973.

  • National Identity National culture was forged through the interactions of British traditions:English language ProtestantismMarket economy and European technology.

  • Political Life

    The Bahamas is a parliamentary democracy with two main parties, the Free National Movement and the Progressive Liberal Party. The British monarch is recognized as the head of state and is represented by the governor-general.Executive power is vested in the prime minister.

  • National flagThe colors embodied in the design of the Bahamian flag symbolise the image and aspirations of the people of The Bahamas.

  • Food

    Typical meals consists from fruits and vegetables, meat or fish, bread, and rice.The two national dishes are conch, an easily collected sea snail, rice, and peas. Holiday meals tend to center on local fish or conch.

  • Economy (1)Tourism accounts for about half the gross domestic product and nearly half of all jobs.

  • Economy (2)Commercial farming of cotton, pineapples, and sisal has had little success. Commercial fishing is moderately important.Cottage industries that produce straw, shells, and wooden items cater to local residents and tourists. Goods such as pharmaceuticals, rum, crawfish and cement are exported.

  • Gender Roles and Statuses

    Legally, women have equal status under the law.Men tend to dominate the higher-income and higher status positions in the public and private sectors.Urban women have many career opportunities and are not discriminated against in obvious ways.

  • Socialization (1) Infants are cared for by their mothers. Both bottle feeding and breast-feeding are accepted.The literacy rate is about 90 percent, and public education is available through local elementary schools and regional secondary schools. Private schools in Nassau are available to wealthier families.

  • Socialization (2) Since independence, higher education has been stressed.The College of the Bahamas in Nassau and numerous technical schools provide higher education.Foreign universities are popular among the more affluent.

  • MarriageMarriages are monogamous. Church weddings follow brief engagements. Both partners are expected to contribute financially to a marriage.

  • Religion (1)

    Most residents are church going Christians: 80 percent are Protestant. 20 percent are Roman Catholic. Most rituals are Christian services and are held in churches. Baptisms and revival meetings are held outdoors. Large congregations are led by ordained ministers and priests.

  • Religion (2)The dead are placed in simple pine coffins, and wakes are held at home. Funerals are held in churches, and burials are in churchyards or public cemeteries. It is believed that souls go to heaven or hell.

  • Secular Celebrations

    New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter, Whit Monday (seven weeks after Easter), Labor Day (first Friday in June), Independence Day (10 July), Emancipation Day (first Monday in August), Discovery Day (12 October), Christmas Day, Boxing Day (26 December).

  • Thank you!