Kendra Howard: 21st Century Bahamas

Before heading to the Bahamas in January, there was some research to done by myself and the other students in our group about the Bahama Islands. My topic was pretty broad, I had to research the 21st century Bahamas and the regional differences among each island. However, I only picked a few islands to focus on because the Bahamas is “comprised of 700 islands sprinkled over 100,000 square miles of ocean starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida.” The majority of the Bahamian population today is of West African descent because the islands served as a trading post for slaves back in the day. Of course slavery has been abolished since 1834, it still remains a part of their society today. The minority groups of the Bahamas include other ethnic groups such as, Europeans, Asians and Latin Americans. Their official language today is English but speak with the Bahamian dialect. Their government is politically stable and based on the Westminster Model; they are a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and recognize Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as their Head of State. Their current Governor-General is Sir. Arthur Foulkes and their Prime Minister is Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie. Religion plays an important role in the lives of the Bahamian people in the 21st century. Although they have a wide variety of religions practiced, the majority of the population is Christian, with Baptists at 32%. Their culture today includes entertainment similar to the United States and other nations, such as music, arts, dancing, storytelling, unique cuisine and sports. They also celebrate holidays such as Christmas, New Years, Easter and the Bahamas Independence Day, as well as host annual festivals like Junkanoo. Today, their economy is considered one of the Caribbean’s most prosperous and it relies heavily on tourism. Tourism generates about half of the jobs in the Bahamas and accounts for more than 60% of GDP. There is much more to these subjects but I do not want to bore you, this is the gist of the things going on in the Bahamas of the 21st century.

There are few regional differences among each island but there are some I will mention. The language (Bahamian dialect and English) from island to island have some minor regional differences in terms of pronunciation, but tend to be generally similar. Of all of the islands, the highest point is Mount Alvernia on Cat Island and the lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean. The eastern shore is generally the lowest point on the islands. Some have smooth coastlines while others have numerous indentations, including peninsulas and lagoons, such as Acklins and Crooked Island. There seems to be similar climate among the islands of the Bahamas, but various wildlife species, including birds, coral reefs, reptiles, etc. have found to be more diverse on some islands than others such as Andros, Conception Island and Egg Island. Very few of the islands have freshwater streams, one include Andros. Some inhabited islands include New Providence, which is the most densely populated island in the Bahamas and is where the nations capital Nassau is located. Others include Grand Bahamas, Abaco and Bimini for their tourist attractions. I am excited to actually be able to see if these things I researched about these regional difference among islands and the culture of 21st century Bahamas hold true when I travel there in January!

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