Bahamas: Coat of Arms Card
Introducing project “Small World” by C.7 Design Studio. Here you will find fully customizable gifts, designer apparel, custom stationary and postage, footwear, souvenirs, office products, greeting cards, skateboards and pet clothing, featuring unique designs incorporating coat of arms, map and flag of the Bahamas. The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of more than 3,000 islands, cays, and islets. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States (nearest to the state of Florida). Its land area is 13,939 km2 (5,382 sq mi), with a population of 353,658. Its capital is Nassau. 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 Lucayans, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taino people, the Bahamas were the site of Columbus' first landfall in the New World in 1492. Although the Spanish never colonized the Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola. The islands were mostly deserted from 1513 to 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera. The Bahamas became a Crown Colony in 1718 when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American War of Independence, thousands of pro-British loyalists and enslaved Africans moved to the Bahamas and set up a plantation economy. The slave trade was abolished in the British Empire in 1807 and many Africans liberated from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled in the Bahamas during the 19th century. Slavery itself was abolished in 1834 and the descendants form the majority of the Bahamas's population today. In terms of GDP per capita, The Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following Bermuda, the United States, Cayman Islands, Canada, and the British Virgin Islands). The Bahamas does not have an army or an air force. Its military is composed of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), the navy of The Bahamas. Under The Defence Act, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has been mandated to defend The Bahamas, protect its territorial integrity, patrol its waters, provide assistance and relief in times of disaster, maintain order in conjunction with the law enforcement agencies of The Bahamas, and carry out any such duties as determined by the National Security Council. The Defence Force is also a member of Caricom's Regional Security Task Force. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force officially came into existence on March 31, 1980. Their duties include defending the Bahamas, stopping drug smuggling, illegal immigration, poaching, and providing assistance to mariners whenever and wherever they can. The Defence Force has a fleet of 26 coastal and inshore patrol craft along with 2 aircraft and over 850 personnel including 65 officers and 74 women. The colors embodied in the design of the Bahamian flag symbolize the image and aspirations of the people of The Bahamas; the design reflects aspects of the natural environment (sun, sand, and sea) and the economic and social development. The flag is a black equilateral triangle against the mast, superimposed on a horizontal background made up of two colours on three equal stripes of aquamarine, gold and aquamarine. The symbolism of the flag is as follows: Black, a strong colour, represents the vigour and force of a united people, the triangle pointing towards the body of the flag represents the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop and possess the rich resources of sun and sea symbolized by gold and aquamarine respectively. In reference to the representation of the people with the colour black, some white Bahamians have joked that they are represented in the thread which "holds it all together.” The Coat of Arms of The Bahamas contains a shield with the national symbols as its focal point. The shield is supported by a marlin and a flamingo, which are the national animals of The Bahamas. The flamingo is located on the land, and the marlin on the sea, indicating the geography of the islands. On top of the shield is a conch shell, which represents the varied marine life of the island chain. The conch shell rests on a helmet. Below this is the actual shield, the main symbol of which is a ship representing the Santa María of Christopher Columbus, shown sailing beneath the sun. Along the bottom, below the shield appears a banner upon which is scripted the national motto: "Forward, Upward, Onward Together."