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With an area of 650 sq. miles, this group of islands curves over 130 miles of emerald sea. Immigrants from Great Britain and Loyalists fleeing the U.S. after the American Revolution settled here in the 17th and 18th centuries. These origins are reflected in the New England-style architecture and traditional activities of quiet villages, mostly untouched by modern times. The islands are referred to as "The Boat-building Center of The Bahamas. Population: 10,061. 


Lying in a long lacy line, this group of 30 cays covers an area of 12 sq. miles. With names like Fish Cay, Bird Cay, Frozen Cay, Whale Cay and Little Whale Cay, it's little wonder they are second only to The Biminis as a haven for sports fishing. Their seclusion, beautiful beaches and surrounding waters also make the islands a populat retreat for yachtsmen. Only a few of the islands have a permanent population, which totals 634. 


Here, the roots of modern Bahamian history were planted by the "Eleutheran Adventurers," who established what was probably the first true democracy in the western world more than 300 years ago. Much of the early colonial atmosphere is preserved in the tiny fishing villagesand sprawling farming areas. The island is 110 miles long and only two miles wide along most of its length. Just offshore are Harbour Island (renowned for its pink-sand beaches) and Spanish Wells (where pirates and others found fresh water). Population: 10,524. 


Lying the farthest south in The Bahamas, it covers 645 sq. miles and comprises the islands of Great and Little Inagua. The terrain is wild and desolate; the climate desert-like. Great Inagua is famous for its extensive salt fields which produce over one million tons of the commodity a year. A large part of it is a protected park--sanctuary and breeding territory for over 60,000 West Indian Flamingos--national bird of The Bahamas--many rare species of tropical birds, turtles and iguanas. Little Inagua is uninhabited by humans. The population is 924. 


Is economically the most important island of The Bahamas, home to its capital, Nassau, the seat of government. Nassau is a sophisticated, charming old town built on a sun-splashed hillside overlooking the sea. It was founded in 1670 and rapidly grew as the center of commerce for the islands due to its protected harbour with fine anchorages. Nassau/Paradise Island also includes the resort areas of Cable Beach and Paradise Island. Within its 80 sq. miles live 171,542 people--about 60% of the Bahamian population.


These two islands are part of a group of four islands covering 100 miles. Fortune Island flanks Crooked and Castle island, Aklins. Columbus is alleged to have come to the area looking for gold but the only "treasure" he found was sensory--the jasmine-like fragrance in the air. Acklins at 120 sq. miles is rocky and steep and has a population of 428. Crooked Island's 92 sq. miles is mainly comprised of tidal flats and deep creeks. Population: 423. 


Are a tiny group of islands, consisting of North and South Bimini, Cat Cay and Gun Cay. They are located 50 miles east of Miami, Florida, on the edge of the Gulf Stream (deep-sea fishing territory) with the Great Bahama Bank (bonefish haunt) at its back door. The waters of this little chunk of The Bahamas spawn some of the largest game fish in the world. It has an area of 9 sq. miles and a population of 1,638. 


Stretching for 130 sq. miles, these islands offer remarkable cruising and are known by yachtsmen as the "Sailing Capital of The Bahamas." There are 365 cays with pure sand beaches, isolated anchorages and landlocked harbours. Variety and adventure mark every mile. Some islands are merely a pile of sand in the sea; others are high-cliffed and forested. Most of the cays are uninhabited, with a total population of 3,539. 


Lives up to its name, with a length of 60 miles and an area of 230 sq. miles. It is alternately hilly and punctuated with numerous limestone caves that descend beneath the sea, marshy with brackish flatlands perfect for salt production, or expansive with sloping, perfect white beaches laid out in the sun. It is an island known for its carefree air, where residents place emblems high on the houses to ward off evil spirits. Population: 3,404. 


The sickle-shaped Ragged Island Range stretches from the Jumento Cays at the southern tip of The Exumas curves east, then south down to Great Ragged Island with its main settlement of Duncan Town. It is a very dry, wild, windswept place, surrounded by a treacherous sea. Ragged Islanders are in much demand for their skills in navigating these shoals; their chief occupations are shipping, fishing and making handicrafts. The islands have an area of 15-square miles and a population of 89. 


The "Sleeping Beauty" of The Bahamas, with its historic Loyalist cotton plantation ruins and Indian artifacts, lovely rolling hills, golden beaches and necklace of coral reefs encircling its shores. Originally named Santa Maria de la Conception by Columbus, Rum Cay is supposed to have derived its present name from the wreck upon its shore of a West Indian rumrunner laden with the commodity. Port Nelson, a sheltered harbour on the south coast, is the only settlement. The island is 10 miles long and 5 miles wide and has fewer than 100 inhabitants.


Andros is the largest of The Bahamas, with an area of 2,300 sq. miles. Known as "The Bonefishing Capital of the World," it is flat (except for the east coast) and marked by numerous inlets and inland lakes teeming with fish. The landscape includes extensive virgin pine, palm and mahogany forests, scrub and mangrove swamps with large colonies of seabirds. The western shore is a barren low bank called "The Mud;" the Barrier Reef of Andros lies just off the eastern shore along the Tongue of the Ocean. Population: 8,155. 


Is one of the most beautiful, fertile islands in The Bahamas and boasts the highest elevation of them all with Mt. Alvernia at 206 feet. Its 150 sq. miles is covered with rolling hills of dense green forests and uncounted miles of magnificent beaches. Still very much enmeshed in the past, evidence of its early Indian cultures and Loyalist plantations abounds throught the island. It has a population of 1,678. 


The flavor of Grand Bahama Island is a combination of the exciting, modern commercial and resort center of Freeport/Lucaya and forgotten sleepy villages and historical towns like West End (west) and McLeans Town in the east. Freeport/Lucaya, a man-made miracle, is the nation's second city. It evolved from an area of wilderness, was tamed and transformed into a holiday mecca for those seeking to indulge their sporting nature, whether on land or sea. The island has an area of 530 sq. miles; population: 41,035. 


Is peaceful and quiet, "just how Columbus met it," so the locals say. It even retains its original Indian name. Mayaguana is a perfect stop for sailing enthusiasts, with several good harbours and anchorages, great fishing, shelling and swimming. Walking through the villages is another favorite pastime, where there is much local color to enjoy in the charming cottages and people. The island has an area of 110 sq. miles and a population of 308. 


Originally called "Guanahani," Christopher Columbus made this tiny, 63-sq.-mile area, the most historically important island of The Bahamas. He made first landfall here in 1492 and no less than four separate monuments mark the exact spot where Columbus came ashore. It still remains undiscovered, cloaked in its past, prominently visible amongst the tumbling Loyalists plantation ruins and preponderance of interesting relics and artifacts from Indian days. The population of 465 makes a living by fishing and farming.


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Bimini Berry Islands The Abacos Eleuthera Andros Providence/Nassau Exuma Cat Island San Salvador Mayaguana Inagua