The Bahamas is located in the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 60 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida to just north of Haiti. The Bahamas consists of nearly 700 islands and 2,000 cays. The capital Nassau is situated on New Providence Island, which has an area of 83 square miles. Freeport, the second largest city, is located on Grand Bahama Island.
The official language is English.
The population is approximately 377,374 (2013 census) and the majority live on the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama.
The Bahamas was settled in around 1640, and has had a representative form of Government since the 17th century. In July 1973, the Bahamas became an independent country within the British Commonwealth. The British Government has appointed, a Governor General who is responsible for external affairs, internal security and defense; but the real head of the Government is an elected Prime Minister.
There are six political parties:
- The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) – the governing party
- The Free National Movement (FNM)
- Democratic National Alliance
- Bahamas Constitution Party
- United Democratic Party (UDP)
- Bahamas National Coalition Party (BNCP)
The Bahamian legal system is based on British Common Law. The laws are to be found in the statute laws and subsidiary legislation of The Bahamas. The final court of appeal is the Privy Council in England. The highest local court is the Court of Appeal, and in descending order, the Supreme Court, Stipendiary & Circuit Magistrates’ Courts and Administrators’ Courts.
The Bahamas does not have any tax agreements to avoid double taxation since it does not have any form of direct taxation. The main source of Government revenues comes from customs duties and other miscellaneous taxes, like hotel room taxes.