The Bahamas are a former British colony that has long been associated with the good life. The wonderful climate and the happy-go-lucky nature of its people have attracted many international visitors since the 1920s.
More recently, it has seen an upsurge in American and Canadian influence and has emerged from a difficult period in the 1960s and 1970s to become a stable independent state that is the recipient of much new investment, especially in tourism.
A number of major tourism projects are now being realised on all of the main islands, many with a strong eco-sensitive base. The government is strict in what development it permits and protects its natural assets.
British influence remains in a number of areas, notably the requirement to drive on the left (even though most vehicles also have the steering wheel on the left!).
The population of the Bahamas is about 330,000, of whom around 16,000 live on Abaco, mostly in or around Marsh Harbour or on a string of smaller islands (“cays”) on the east side of Great Abaco.