The Bahamas is a chain of islands in the Caribbean southeast of Florida and north of Cuba. It covers an area of 13,940 square kilometers. It has a population of 297,000 (July 2003 estimate). From the mid-1600s until 1973 the Bahamas were a British territory. Since attaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1973, the Bahamas have prospered through tourism, international banking, and investment management. Its location makes the country a major transshipment point for illegal drugs, especially to the United States, and its ...