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BAHAMAS, The

BAHAMAS, The. Official title Commonwealth of the Bahamas. A Caribbean country and member of the COMMONWEALTH, consisting of 700 islands and 2,000 cays. The islands have a mixture of English, Amerindian, Spanish, and Greek names, as in Grand Bahama, Great Abaco, Bimini, Andros, Eleuthera, Cat Island, San Salvador, Great Exuma, Long Island, Acklins Island, Mayaguana, Great Inagua. Columbus visited the islands 1492. First European settlement 1647, by religious refugees from Bermuda. British colony 1717. Independence 1973. The term Bahamian English refers to a continuum of usage from creole to standard. It has been influenced by migration between the Bahamas and the US and by a tourist industry that caters mainly for Americans. Of all CARIBBEAN ENGLISH varieties, Bahamian English most closely follows AmE.

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Abaco and Cays

Abaco and Cays (ăb´əkō, kēz, kāz), island group, c.780 sq mi (2,020 sq km), most northerly of the Bahamas. It includes Great Abaco (the largest), Little Abaco, and the surrounding cays. The low islands, composed mainly of coral limestone, have native pine forests. Fish and sponges are taken from surrounding waters. Great Abaco was settled by Loyalists from New York City in 1783.

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