The Bahamas became a British Crown colony in 1718. In 1973, the archipelago of nearly 700 islands became an independent commonwealth yet retains loyalty to the U.K. monarchy. As its capital city, Nassau is the center for government functions. The parliamentary constitutional monarchy is managed by a governor general, prime minister plus a senate (upper house) and house of assembly (lower house). Most of these activities are conducted in pink, colonial structures surrounding Parliament Square on Bay Street. This center one is the Senate Building. Within the pediment is the coat of arms of the Bahamas. The shield is flanked by a marlin and flamingo.