Title: The Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Population: 352,655

Population Change: 0.97

National Average Age: 32

Urban Percentage: 86

Christian Population: 335,975

Christian Percentage: 95

Introduction: The Bahamas is a coral-based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Its 700-plus islands and cays range from uninhabited to packed with resorts. The northernmost Grand Bahama and Paradise Island home to many large-scale hotels are among the best known. Scuba diving and snorkeling sites include the massive Andros Barrier Reef Thunderball Grotto (used in James Bond films) and the black-coral gardens off Bimini.

Overview: Lucayan Indians inhabited the islands when Christopher COLUMBUS first set foot in the New World on San Salvador in 1492. British settlement of the islands began in 1647; the islands became a colony in 1783. Since attaining independence from the UK in 1973 The Bahamas has prospered through tourism international banking and investment management. Because of its location the country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs particularly shipments to the US and Europe and its territory is used for smuggling illegal migrants into the US.