There are fifteen main islands in The Bahamas including Cat Island, Bimini, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama and New Providence.
The highest point in The Bahamas is Mount Alvernia (63 m) on Cat Island.
The origins of the famous Bimini "road" or "wall" are unknown. Some people think that the stones off the coast of Bimini are evidence of a lost civilization.
On 12 October 1492 Columbus landed on a Bahamian island which he named San Salvador (the saviour).
There were about forty thousand Lucayans (Arawak Indians) living on the Islands when Columbus landed: within forty years the islands were uninhabited because the Amerindians had been killed, died of European diseases or were transported to mine gold for the Spaniards.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the Lucayans were periodically attacked by cannibals, the Caribs, who lived in the West Indies and South America. The Caribbean is named after them.
The Bahamas has one of the world's oldest parliamentary democracies, celebrating two hundred and fifty years in 1979.
The government of The Bahamas is modelled on the British system.
The first Royal Governor of The Bahamas, Woodes Rogers, was a former pirate and privateer.
In 1783 Andrew Deveaux freed The Bahamas from a year of Spanish possession. However the British had already traded Florida for the Bahamas.
The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act (1807) prohibited the slave trade within the British Empire. (Slaves in the British colonies did not gain their freedom until the 1830s. The Abolition of Slavery Act (1833) began the process leading to emancipation).
The murder in The Bahamas (1942) of Sir Harry Oakes, one of the richest men in the British Empire, has never been solved.
During the Second World War, the Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, became Governor of The Bahamas.
Queen Elizabeth II visited the Bahamas on several occasions. Other members of the British royal family spent time in The Bahamas including Princess Margaret.
On 10 July 1973 the Commonwealth of The Bahamas became independent from the UK.
The Bahamas maintained its links with the United Kingdom through membership of the Commonwealth.
In 1992 Hurricane Andrew killed four people and caused millions of dollars worth of damage.
Hurricane Floyd hit the Bahamas in September 1999.
In September 2004 Hurricane Frances caused widespread damage. Hurricane Frances was followed by Hurricane Jeanne.