An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...
s, 661 cay
A cay , also spelled caye or key, is a small, low-elevation, sandy island formed on the surface of coral reefs. Cays occur in tropical environments throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans , where they provide habitable and agricultural land for hundreds of thousands of people...
s, and 2,387 islet
An islet is a very small island.- Types :As suggested by its origin as islette, an Old French diminutive of "isle", use of the term implies small size, but little attention is given to drawing an upper limit on its applicability....
s (rocks). It is located in the Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...
north of Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...
), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union consisting of two groups of tropical islands in the Caribbean, the larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, known for tourism and as an offshore financial centre.The Turks and...
, and southeast of the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
(nearest to the state of Florida
). Its land area is 13939 km² (5,381.9 sq mi), with a population of 353,658. Its capital is Nassau
Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The city has a population of 248,948 , 70 percent of the entire population of The Bahamas...
. Geographically, The Bahamas lie in the same island chain as Cuba, Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands; the designation of Bahamas refers normally to the Commonwealth and not the geographic chain.
Originally inhabited by the Lucayan
The Lucayan were the original inhabitants of the Bahamas before the arrival of Europeans. They were a branch of the Taínos who inhabited most of the Caribbean islands at the time. The Lucayans were the first inhabitants of the Americas encountered by Christopher Columbus...
s, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taino
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...
people, The Bahamas were the site of Columbus' first landfall in the New World in 1492.