The Bahamas are in fact an archipelago that includes over 3,000 islands, reefs and islets located in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida and to the north of Cuba. Its total area is around 13,000 km2, and despite the large number of islands and reefs, the majority of the population is centered on only twenty islands. The official language is English and the major religion is Christianity. The banking system is extremely advanced and allows foreign companies to conduct business there. The country gained its independence in 1973.
The Bahamas enjoy a subtropical to tropical climate, alleviated by the cooling breezes of the Gulf Stream. Temperatures do not drop below 0°C but can go as low as 2°-3°C, and every few years the islands suffer a particularly harsh hurricane season. Most of the Bahamas are low, flat islands, almost none elevated beyond 15m above sea level. The highest point is Mount Alvernia on Cat Island, with an altitude of no more than 63m.