The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,987 islets, covers 5,382 square miles (13,939 square kilometers) and is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and southeast of the United States, less than 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Florida. The Bahamas gained independence from the British in 1973, but still retains its membership in the Commonwealth Nations, which means that Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom—represented by a governor—is the head of state, but the Bahamian prime minister holds executive powers. The World Bank estimated its population at 313,312 in 2011 and the 2011 Human Development Index ranked the Bahamans 53 out of 187 countries surveyed, giving it a high developed country index.

Most Bahamians are the descendants of ...

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