Bahamas

The Bahamas is a coral-limestone archipelago comprising 29 inhabited islands, plus more than 3000 cays, reefs and rocks, centered on the Grand Bahama Bank off eastern Florida and Cuba.

The Bahamas have developed close ties with the United States. More than 90% of the visitors each year are Americans. Tourism now accounts for 70% of the gross domestic product and involves almost half the workforce. Off-shore banking, financial services and a large “open registry” merchant fleet also offsets imports, providing the country with a relatively high standard of living.

The remainder of the non-administrative population works mainly in the traditional areas of fishing and agriculture, notably citrus fruit production.

The Bahamas has been a democracy since 1973 when it became independent from Britain. Relations with the United States were strained when it was used as a tax haven for drug traffickers in the 1980s with government ministers implicated in drug-related corruption.