Jul 7, 2009

Soule Restaurant: Spotlight on BAHAMAS

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The Baja Mar, named by the Spanish, consists of about 700 islands, 2,400 uninhabited islets and cays extending for about 760 miles, of which about 30 are inhabited. Located off the coast of Florida, the capital is Nassau; other islands include Grand Bahama, The Berry Islands, Bimini, Andros, Inagua, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Rum Cay/San Salvador, Cat Island, and Eleutera/Harbour Island. With a population of over 300,000, ethnicity is 85% black, 12% white, and 3% Asian and Hispanic; however, the original settlers were Arawaks, decimated by disease shortly after Columbus’ arrival in 1492.

Although the official language of the islands is English, Creole is also frequently used, bought by Haitian immigrants.

The country has a colorful history; with English settlers seeking religious freedom; pirates who used its shallow waters to trap and plunder ships; an escape for Confederates after the Civil War, who migrated with slaves rather than acquiesce to the Union’s victory, and rum running during Prohibition. Its economy now consists predominantly of tourism, financial services, and international shipping, and is one of the richest Caribbean islands.

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