The Bahamas is a popular destination for travelers who want to enjoy sandy beaches, clear waters, coral reefs, and diverse culture. If you’re thinking about visiting this place, it becomes essential to delve into the details. One question that arises: Is the Bahamas part of the US?
The answer is not straightforward due to its complicated past and special relationship with the United States. We need to explore the history and diplomacy that shape the story of these islands to understand the exact answer.
Are the Bahamas a Part of the USA?
The Bahamas (a Commonwealth nation) is not a part of the United States. However, it has a close economic and political relationship with its neighbor.
On July 10, 1973, The Bahamas gained independence from Britain and currently functions as a sovereign member of the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the Caribbean Community, and the Organisation of American States, exercising full self-governance (after more than 325 years of colonial rule).
It encompasses a diverse and varied geography that features a wide range of landscapes. Some of the main features of its geography are:
The Bahamas is located north of Cuba and southeast of Florida.
- Total Land Area: 13,878 sq km (5,358 sq miles).
- Exclusive Economic Zone: 654,715 sq km (252,787 sq miles), ranking 41st globally.
- Around 700 islands and cays: 30 to 40 inhabited.
- Largest islands: Andros, Great Inagua; highest point: Cat Island (63m/207ft). Islands are extensions of Great Bahama Bank and Little Bahama Bank.
- Terrain: fossil coral, oolitic limestone shaped by reefs and erosion.
- Landscape varies: Rocky to swampy.
- Vegetation: Mostly low scrub; few lakes, one river on Andros Island.
What is the Relationship Between the Bahamas and the USA?
According to the US Department of State, the United States and The Bahamas became friends in 1973. They care a lot about each other because they share a water border and want to keep things safe.
The Bahamas is close to Florida, so some bad groups use it to move drugs and people toward the United States. Both countries work together to stop this. The U.S. Coast Guard keep the water safe for the benefit of both countries. The United States also helps the Bahamas in fighting crime.
Besides safety, they also work together on things like laws, airplanes, nature, and businesses. The U.S. Navy even has a special place to study underwater things on Andros Island (which is part of The Bahamas).
The International Trade Association states that they organize a unique trip called a “Trade Mission” each year. These trips can help companies by letting them meet possible distributors, salespeople, or partners.
They even arrange meetings where people from the US who want to invest in the Bahamas can talk to the government about exciting business opportunities.
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Why do People Think the Bahamas is Part of the USA?
Many people think the Bahamas is related to the United States in some way. We have found the following few reasons behind this misconception:
The Bahamas is super close to the USA, especially Florida. The nearest island name Bimini is just 50 miles away from the coast of Florida.
A lot of Americans visit the Bahamas each year for things like vacations, work, or visiting family. Due to its interactions and proximity to the USA, people often assume that the Bahamas is a part of the US.
The USA is the biggest trade partner of the Bahamas, and they work together during tough times, like disasters. They also share ideas about staying healthy, learning, and helping in making decisions.
The Bahamas also uses the U.S. dollar as its secondary currency, alongside the Bahamian dollar, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 ratio. Since they’re so linked up like this, some people might think they’re almost the same.
The Bahamas has a complex and long history with the USA. The British started ruling the islands in the 1600s, and many Americans who were loyal to Britain left the USA and came to live there after the American Revolution.
It also served as a base for American privateers and smugglers during various wars and prohibition periods. Some people may confuse it with the USA because of its historical ties and political status.
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How did the Bahamas Become Independent from Britain?
After World War II, things started changing towards independence. People in the Bahamas formed groups to ask for more rights. The two dominant parties were the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), led by Lynden Pindling, and the United Bahamian Party (UBP), led by Sir Roland Symonette.
The PLP campaigned for majority rule and independence, while the UBP favored maintaining the status quo and protecting the interests of the white minority. The following are the main events that led to the Bahamas becoming a sovereign nation.
The US Department of State says that the Bahamas gained the right to govern itself within its borders in 1964.
In 1967, the PLP won a narrow victory in the general election, and Pindling became the new premier. He introduced a new constitution that strengthened the authority of the Bahamian parliament by reducing the significance of the British governor. He also declared that the Bahamas would seek full independence by 1973.
The referendum took place to determine if the Bahamas should continue being part of the Commonwealth of Nations in 1972. The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of former British colonies that still recognize the British monarch as a symbolic head of state.
Most Bahamians voted to stay in the Commonwealth as they valued their historical and cultural ties with Britain.
Proclamation of Independence
The New York Times reported that the Bahamas became an independent country within the Commonwealth of Nations on July 10, 1973. Pindling became the first prime minister, and Queen Elizabeth II remained the nominal Head of State.
The Bahamas also joined the United Nations and other international organizations that promote cooperation and peace among different countries.
The Bahamas is not a part of the USA. Period.
However, even today, many people have this misconception. For this reason, we covered a detailed research to elaborate how The Bahamas is totally different from the USA and is a different country. Next time someone asks you, you know your research already! In case you are interested in further such reading, head over to our section of “Travel Explained”.
Are the Bahamas a Part of USA? - FAQs
No, the Bahamas are not part of the United States. They are an independent country located southeast of Florida.
English is the official language in the Bahamas but it’s not due to U.S. influence. The Bahamas was a British colony, and English remains the primary language.
U.S. health insurance does not cover healthcare expenses in the Bahamas. Travelers might need separate international health coverage.
Yes, the Bahamas do use the Bahamian dollar, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar. Both currencies are accepted in the Bahamas, but they are distinct.