The Bahamas is a sovereign archipelagic state that lies in the Atlantic, within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies. It is composed of over 700 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by Cuba, Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the state of Florida in America, and the Florida Keys. Most of the country’s population is of African descent with a distinctive blend of European heritage. The country is widely known for its scenic beaches, attracting tourists mostly from North America.
The Bahamas is among the richest Caribbean countries, relying on tourism and offshore banking. Along with tourism-driven manufacturing and construction industries, tourism makes up 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs about 50% of the country’s workforce. Its consistent growth in tourism receipts and the establishment of new resorts, residences, and hotels resulted in a rock-solid GDP before 2006. It has also helped maintain the high standard of living among the Bahamians. With the global crisis in 2009, the archipelago’s GDP contracted and continued to shrink in 2010 because of the decrease in tourism receipts and investment.
Next to tourism is the financial sector which accounts for around 36% of GDP along with business services. However, with the implementation of stricter financial guidelines in 2000, a number of international businesses moved out, reducing the revenue from financial services.
The country’s official currency is the Bahamian dollar which was launched in 1966 and is pegged with the US dollar at par. It is made up of 100 cents and introduced in two series. The first Bahamian dollar banknotes were released in 1965 bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait on the front and the Bahamian life and the national emblem on the back. The latest version is called the CRISP (Counterfeit Resistant Integrated Security Product) Revolution Issues released by the Central Bank of the Bahamas on September 28, 2016. These notes are the first to bear De La Rue’s Active lenticular thread. They also have raster graphics, a SPARK Orbital butterfly, and tactile bars for the sight-impaired. These paper bills feature significant personalities such as Queen Elizabeth II, Lynden Pindling, Stafford Sands, Roland Symonette, and Milo Butler.