IntroductionBahamas, the (bəhäˈməz) [key], officially Commonwealth of the Bahamas, independent nation (2005 est. pop. 301,800), 4,403 sq mi (11,404 sq km), in the Atlantic Ocean, consisting of some 700 islands and islets and about 2,400 cays, beginning c.50 mi (80 km) off SE Florida and extending c.600 mi (970 km) SE almost to Haiti. The country does not include the Turks and Caicos Islands, to the southeast, which, although geographically part of the archipelago, have been separately administered by Great Britain since 1848. The capital and principal city is Nassau, on New Providence island. Other chief islands are known as "out islands" or "family islands."
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