Caribbean

The Caribbean (/ˌkærɪˈbiːən, kəˈrɪbiən/, locally /ˈkærɪbiːən/)[3] is a region of The Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea[4] and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean)[5] and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays. (See the list of Caribbean islands.) These islands generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea.[6] The Caribbean islands, consisting of the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), are part of the somewhat larger West Indies grouping, which also includes the Lucayan Archipelago (comprising the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands). The Lucayans and, less commonly, Bermuda, are also sometimes considered Caribbean despite the fact that none of these islands border the Caribbean Sea. In a wider sense, the mainland countries, regions, and territories of Belize, the Caribbean region of Colombia, Cozumel, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, the Guyanas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Guayana Region in Venezuela, and Amapá in Brazil), are often included due to their political and cultural ties with the region.[7]

Geopolitically, the Caribbean islands are usually regarded as a subregion of North America[8][9][10][11][12] and are organized into 30 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. From December 15, 1954, to October 10, 2010, there was a country known as the Netherlands Antilles composed of five states, all of which were Dutch dependencies.[13] From January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was also a short-lived political union called the West Indies Federation composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then British dependencies. The West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations.

Caribbean
Antillas (orthographic projection)
Area2,754,000 km2 (1,063,000 sq mi)
Population43,601,839[1]
Population density151.5/km2 (392/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsAfro-Caribbean, European, Indo-Caribbean, Latino or Hispanic (Spanish, Portuguese, Mestizo, Mulatto, Pardo, and Zambo), Chinese Caribbean, Jewish, Arab, Javanese,[2] Amerindian, Multiracial
ReligionsChristianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Rastafarianism, Native American religion, Yoruba, Bahá'í Faith, Chinese folk religion (including Taoism and Confucianism), Kebatinan, Afro-American religion, Traditional African religion, and others
DemonymCaribbean, West Indian
Countries13 sovereign states
Dependencies17 dependent territories
LanguagesSpanish, English, French, Dutch, French Creoles, English Creoles, Caribbean Hindustani, among others
Time zonesUTC−5 to UTC−4
Internet TLDMultiple
Calling codeMultiple
Largest citiesList of metropolitan areas in the West Indies
Santo Domingo
Havana
Port-au-Prince
San Juan
Kingston
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de los Caballeros
Camagüey
Cap-Haïtien
Spanish Town
Chaguanas
Georgetown
Paramaribo
UN M.49 code029 – Caribbean
419Latin America
019Americas
001World

Etymology and pronunciation

The region takes its name from that of the Caribs, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the Spanish conquest of America.[14]

The two most prevalent pronunciations of "Caribbean" outside the Caribbean are /ˌkærɪˈbiːən/ (karr-ə-BEE-ən), with the primary stress on the third syllable, and /kəˈrɪbiən/ (kə-RIB-ee-ən), with the stress on the second. Most authorities of the last century preferred the stress on the third syllable.[15] This is the older of the two pronunciations, but the stressed-second-syllable variant has been established for over 75 years.[16] It has been suggested that speakers of British English prefer /ˌkærɪˈbiːən/ (karr-ə-BEE-ən) while North American speakers more typically use /kəˈrɪbiən/ (kə-RIB-ee-ən),[17] but major American dictionaries and other sources list the stress on the third syllable as more common in American English too.[18][19][20][21] According to the American version of Oxford Online Dictionaries, the stress on the second syllable is becoming more common in UK English and is increasingly considered "by some" to be more up to date and more "correct".[22]

The Oxford Online Dictionaries claim that the stress on the second syllable is the most common pronunciation in the Caribbean itself, but according to the Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage, the most common pronunciation in Caribbean English is in fact on the first syllable, /ˈkærɪˌbiːən/ (KARR-ə-bee-ən).[3][22]

Definition

CIA map of the Caribbean
Map of the Caribbean

The word "Caribbean" has multiple uses. Its principal ones are geographical and political. The Caribbean can also be expanded to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to slavery, European colonisation and the plantation system.

Geography and geology

The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies: Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. These islands include Aruba (possessing only minor volcanic features), Curaçao, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, the Bahamas, and Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Saint Martin, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago.

Definitions of the terms Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles often vary. The Virgin Islands as part of the Puerto Rican bank are sometimes included with the Greater Antilles. The term Lesser Antilles is often used to define an island arc that includes Grenada but excludes Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Antilles.

The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish, turtles, and coral reef formations. The Puerto Rico Trench, located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico, is the deepest point in all of the Atlantic Ocean.[24]

The region sits in the line of several major shipping routes with the Panama Canal connecting the western Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.

Climate

The climate of the area is tropical, varying from tropical rainforest in some areas to tropical savanna in others. There are also some locations that are arid climates with considerable drought in some years.

Rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist trade winds blow consistently from the east, creating both rain forest and semi arid climates across the region. The tropical rainforest climates include lowland areas near the Caribbean Sea from Costa Rica north to Belize, as well as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, while the more seasonal dry tropical savanna climates are found in Cuba, northern Venezuela, and southern Yucatan, Mexico. Arid climates are found along the extreme southern coast of Venezuela out to the islands including Aruba and Curacao, as well as the northern tip of Yucatan.

While the region generally is sunny much of the year, the wet season from May through November sees more frequent cloud cover (both broken and overcast), while the dry season from December through April is more often clear to mostly sunny. Seasonal rainfall is divided into 'dry' and 'wet' seasons, with the latter six months of the year being wetter than the first half. The air temperature is hot much of the year, varying from 25 to 33 C (77 F to 90 F) between the wet and dry seasons. Seasonally, monthly mean temperatures vary from only about 5 C (7 F) in the northern most regions, to less than 3 C in the southernmost areas of the Caribbean.

Hurricane season is from June to November, but they occur more frequently in August and September and more common in the northern islands of the Caribbean. Hurricanes that sometimes batter the region usually strike northwards of Grenada and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean. A great example being recent events of Hurricane Irma devastating the island of Saint Martin during the 2017 hurricane season.

Sea surface temperatures change little annually, normally running from 30 °C (87 °F) in the warmest months to 26 °C (76 °F) in the coolest months.

Aruba: Latitude 12°N

Climate data for Oranjestad, Aruba (1981–2010, extremes 1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.5
(90.5)
33.0
(91.4)
33.9
(93.0)
34.4
(93.9)
34.9
(94.8)
35.2
(95.4)
35.3
(95.5)
36.1
(97.0)
36.5
(97.7)
35.4
(95.7)
35.0
(95.0)
34.8
(94.6)
36.5
(97.7)
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
(86.0)
30.4
(86.7)
30.9
(87.6)
31.5
(88.7)
32.0
(89.6)
32.2
(90.0)
32.0
(89.6)
32.6
(90.7)
32.7
(90.9)
32.1
(89.8)
31.3
(88.3)
30.4
(86.7)
31.5
(88.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.7
(80.1)
26.8
(80.2)
27.2
(81.0)
27.9
(82.2)
28.5
(83.3)
28.7
(83.7)
28.6
(83.5)
29.1
(84.4)
29.2
(84.6)
28.7
(83.7)
28.1
(82.6)
27.2
(81.0)
28.1
(82.6)
Average low °C (°F) 24.5
(76.1)
24.7
(76.5)
25.0
(77.0)
25.8
(78.4)
26.5
(79.7)
26.7
(80.1)
26.4
(79.5)
26.8
(80.2)
26.9
(80.4)
26.4
(79.5)
25.8
(78.4)
25.0
(77.0)
25.9
(78.6)
Record low °C (°F) 21.3
(70.3)
20.6
(69.1)
21.4
(70.5)
21.5
(70.7)
21.8
(71.2)
22.7
(72.9)
21.2
(70.2)
21.3
(70.3)
22.1
(71.8)
21.9
(71.4)
22.0
(71.6)
20.5
(68.9)
20.5
(68.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 39.3
(1.55)
20.6
(0.81)
8.7
(0.34)
11.6
(0.46)
16.3
(0.64)
18.7
(0.74)
31.7
(1.25)
25.8
(1.02)
45.5
(1.79)
77.8
(3.06)
94.0
(3.70)
81.8
(3.22)
471.8
(18.58)
Source: DEPARTAMENTO METEOROLOGICO ARUBA,[25] (extremes)[26]

Puerto Rico: Latitude 18°N

Climate data for San Juan, Puerto Rico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33
(92)
36
(96)
36
(96)
36
(97)
36
(96)
36
(97)
35
(95)
35
(95)
36
(97)
36
(97)
37
(98)
36
(96)
34
(94)
Average high °C (°F) 28
(83)
29
(84)
29
(85)
30
(86)
31
(87)
32
(89)
31
(88)
31
(88)
32
(89)
31
(88)
30
(86)
29
(84)
30
(86)
Average low °C (°F) 22
(72)
22
(72)
23
(73)
23
(74)
24
(76)
26
(78)
26
(78)
26
(78)
26
(78)
25
(77)
24
(75)
23
(73)
24
(75)
Record low °C (°F) 16
(61)
17
(62)
16
(60)
18
(64)
18
(64)
19
(66)
21
(69)
20
(68)
21
(69)
19
(67)
18
(65)
17
(62)
16
(61)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 95
(3.7)
60
(2.4)
49
(1.9)
118
(4.6)
150
(5.9)
112
(4.4)
128
(5.0)
138
(5.4)
146
(5.7)
142
(5.6)
161
(6.3)
126
(5.0)
1,431
(56.3)
Source: The National Weather Service [27]

Cuba: at Latitude 22°N

Climate data for Havana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.5
(90.5)
33.0
(91.4)
35.9
(96.6)
36.4
(97.5)
36.9
(98.4)
37.2
(99.0)
38.0
(100.4)
36.1
(97.0)
37.5
(99.5)
35.4
(95.7)
35.0
(95.0)
34.8
(94.6)
38.0
(100.4)
Average high °C (°F) 25.8
(78.4)
26.1
(79.0)
27.6
(81.7)
28.6
(83.5)
29.8
(85.6)
30.5
(86.9)
31.3
(88.3)
31.6
(88.9)
31.0
(87.8)
29.2
(84.6)
27.7
(81.9)
26.5
(79.7)
28.8
(83.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 22.2
(72.0)
22.4
(72.3)
23.7
(74.7)
24.8
(76.6)
26.1
(79.0)
27.0
(80.6)
27.6
(81.7)
27.9
(82.2)
27.4
(81.3)
26.1
(79.0)
24.5
(76.1)
23.0
(73.4)
25.2
(77.4)
Average low °C (°F) 18.6
(65.5)
18.6
(65.5)
19.7
(67.5)
20.9
(69.6)
22.4
(72.3)
23.4
(74.1)
23.8
(74.8)
24.1
(75.4)
23.8
(74.8)
23.0
(73.4)
21.3
(70.3)
19.5
(67.1)
21.6
(70.9)
Record low °C (°F) 5.1
(41.2)
5.6
(42.1)
5.4
(41.7)
11.5
(52.7)
16.8
(62.2)
19.7
(67.5)
18.2
(64.8)
19.3
(66.7)
19.1
(66.4)
11.9
(53.4)
10.0
(50.0)
7.5
(45.5)
5.1
(41.2)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 64.4
(2.54)
68.6
(2.70)
46.2
(1.82)
53.7
(2.11)
98.0
(3.86)
182.3
(7.18)
105.6
(4.16)
99.6
(3.92)
144.4
(5.69)
180.5
(7.11)
88.3
(3.48)
57.6
(2.27)
1,189.2
(46.84)
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN),[28] Climate-Charts.com[29]
Tobacco field cuba1
A field in Pinar del Rio planted with Cuban tobacco
Jayuya
Puerto Rico's south shore, from the mountains of Jayuya
Grand Anse Beach Grenada
Grand Anse beach, St. George's, Grenada
Guadeloupe (Le cimetière de Gourbeyre)
A church cemetery perched in the mountains of Guadeloupe
Stkitts-view-lookingatsea
A view of Nevis island from the southeastern peninsula of Saint Kitts

Island groups

Lucayan Archipelago[a]

Greater Antilles

Lesser Antilles

Historical groupings

Spanish Caribbean Islands in the American Viceroyalties 1600
Spanish Caribbean Islands in the American Viceroyalties 1600
Political Evolution of Central America and the Caribbean 1700 and on
Political evolution of Central America and the Caribbean from 1700 to present
Caribbean spanish names
The mostly Spanish-controlled Caribbean in the 16th century

All islands at some point were, and a few still are, colonies of European nations; a few are overseas or dependent territories:

The British West Indies were united by the United Kingdom into a West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962. The independent countries formerly part of the B.W.I. still have a joint cricket team that competes in Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. The West Indian cricket team includes the South American nation of Guyana, the only former British colony on the mainland of that continent.

In addition, these countries share the University of the West Indies as a regional entity. The university consists of three main campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, a smaller campus in the Bahamas and Resident Tutors in other contributing territories such as Trinidad.

Countries and territories of the Caribbean today

Caribbean general map
Islands in and near the Caribbean
Caribbean maritime boundaries map
Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations
Flag Country or territory[30][31][32] Sovereignty Status Area
(km2)[33]
Population
(2016 est.)[1]
Density
(people per km2)
Capital
Anguilla Anguilla United Kingdom British overseas territory 91 14,764 164.8 The Valley
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda Independent Constitutional monarchy 442 100,963 199.1 St. John's
Aruba Aruba Kingdom of the Netherlands Constituent kingdom 180 104,822 594.4 Oranjestad
The Bahamas The Bahamas[34] Independent Constitutional monarchy 13,943 391,232 24.5 Nassau
Barbados Barbados Independent Constitutional monarchy 430 284,996 595.3 Bridgetown
Bonaire Bonaire Kingdom of the Netherlands Special Municipality 294 12,093[35] 41.1 Kralendijk
British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands United Kingdom British overseas territory 151 30,661 152.3 Road Town
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands United Kingdom British overseas territory 264 60,765 212.1 George Town
Cuba Cuba Independent Republic 109,886 11,475,982 102.0 Havana
Curaçao Curaçao Kingdom of the Netherlands Constituent kingdom 444 159,371 317.1 Willemstad
Dominica Dominica Independent Republic 751 73,543 89.2 Roseau
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Independent Republic 48,671 10,648,791 207.3 Santo Domingo
Federal Dependencies of Venezuela Federal Dependencies of Venezuela Venezuela Territories 342 2,155 6.3 Gran Roque
Grenada Grenada Independent Constitutional monarchy 344 107,317 302.3 St. George's
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe France Overseas department 1,628 449,975 246.7 Basse-Terre
Haiti Haiti Independent Republic 27,750 10,847,334 361.5 Port-au-Prince
Jamaica Jamaica Independent Constitutional monarchy 10,991 2,881,355 247.4 Kingston
Martinique Martinique France Overseas department 1,128 385,103 352.6 Fort-de-France
Montserrat Montserrat United Kingdom British overseas territory 102 5,152 58.8 Plymouth (Brades)[36]
United States Navassa Island United States Territory (uninhabited) 5 0 0.0
Nueva Esparta Nueva Esparta Venezuela State 1,151 491,610 La Asunción
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico United States Commonwealth 8,870 3,667,903 448.9 San Juan
Saba Saba Kingdom of the Netherlands Special municipality 13 1,537[35] 118.2 The Bottom
Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina San Andrés and Providencia Colombia Department 52.5 75,167 1431 San Andrés
Saint Barthélemy Saint Barthélemy France Overseas collectivity 21 7,448 354.7 Gustavia
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis Independent Constitutional monarchy 261 54,821 199.2 Basseterre
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia Independent Constitutional monarchy 539 178,015 319.1 Castries
Collectivity of Saint Martin Saint Martin France Overseas collectivity 54 29,820 552.2 Marigot
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Independent Constitutional monarchy 389 109,643 280.2 Kingstown
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius Kingdom of the Netherlands Special municipality 21 2,739[35] 130.4 Oranjestad
Sint Maarten Sint Maarten Kingdom of the Netherlands Constituent kingdom 34 39,537 1176.7 Philipsburg
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Independent Republic 5,130 1,364,962 261.0 Port of Spain
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos Islands[37] United Kingdom British overseas territory 948 34,900 34.8 Cockburn Town
United States Virgin Islands United States Virgin Islands United States Territory 347 104,913 317.0 Charlotte Amalie
Total 235,667 44,199,389 187.6

Continental countries with Caribbean coastlines and islands

Biodiversity

The Caribbean islands have one of the most diverse eco systems in the world. The animals, fungi and plants, and have been classified as one of Conservation International's biodiversity hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests, to tropical rainforest, to cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world's coral reefs[38] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[39] both of which are frequently found in the shallow marine waters bordering the island and continental coasts of the region.

For the fungi, there is a modern checklist based on nearly 90,000 records derived from specimens in reference collections, published accounts and field observations.[40] That checklist includes more than 11,250 species of fungi recorded from the region. As its authors note, the work is far from exhaustive, and it is likely that the true total number of fungal species already known from the Caribbean is higher. The true total number of fungal species occurring in the Caribbean, including species not yet recorded, is likely far higher given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have been discovered.[41] Though the amount of available information is still small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to some Caribbean islands. For Cuba, 2200 species of fungi have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the island;[42] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[43] for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[44] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[45]

Many of the ecosystems of the Caribbean islands have been devastated by deforestation, pollution, and human encroachment. The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of giant owls and dwarf ground sloths.[46] The hotspot contains dozens of highly threatened animals (ranging from birds, to mammals and reptiles), fungi and plants. Examples of threatened animals include the Puerto Rican amazon, two species of solenodon (giant shrews) in Cuba and the Hispaniola island, and the Cuban crocodile.

Saona Island, Dominican Republic
Saona Island, Dominican Republic

The region's coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500–700 species of reef-associated fishes[47] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[48] According to a UNEP report, the Caribbean coral reefs might get extinct in next 20 years due to population explosion along the coast lines, overfishing, the pollution of coastal areas and global warming.[49]

Some Caribbean islands have terrain that Europeans found suitable for cultivation for agriculture. Tobacco was an important early crop during the colonial era, but was eventually overtaken by sugarcane production as the region's staple crop. Sugar was produced from sugarcane for export to Europe. Cuba and Barbados were historically the largest producers of sugar. The tropical plantation system thus came to dominate Caribbean settlement. Other islands were found to have terrain unsuited for agriculture, for example Dominica, which remains heavily forested. The islands in the southern Lesser Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, are extremely arid, making them unsuitable for agriculture. However, they have salt pans that were exploited by the Dutch. Sea water was pumped into shallow ponds, producing coarse salt when the water evaporated.[50]

The natural environmental diversity of the Caribbean islands has led to recent growth in eco-tourism. This type of tourism is growing on islands lacking sandy beaches and dense human populations.[51]

Plants and animals

Epiphytes (Dominica)

Epiphytes (bromeliads, climbing palms) in the rainforest of Dominica.

Jumping frog

A green and black poison frog, Dendrobates auratus

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Guadeloupe

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Guadeloupe.

Costus speciosus Guadeloupe

Costus speciosus, a marsh plant, Guadeloupe.

Ocypode quadrata (Martinique)

An Atlantic ghost crab (Ocypode quadrata) in Martinique.

Calebassier

Crescentia cujete, or calabash fruit, Martinique.

Thalassoma bifasciatum (Bluehead Wrasse) juvenile yellow stage over Bispira brunnea (Social Feather Duster Worms)

Thalassoma bifasciatum (bluehead wrasse fish), over Bispira brunnea (social feather duster worms).

Stenopus hispidus (Banded cleaner shrimp)

Two Stenopus hispidus (banded cleaner shrimp) on a Xestospongia muta (giant barrel sponge).

Cyphoma signata (Fingerprint Cowry) pair

A pair of Cyphoma signatum (fingerprint cowry), off coastal Haiti.

Extinctbirds1907 P18 Amazona martinicana0317

The Martinique amazon, Amazona martinicana, is an extinct species of parrot in the family Psittacidae.

Anastrepha suspensa 5193019

Anastrepha suspensa, a Caribbean fruit fly.

Hemidactylus mabouia (Dominica)

Hemidactylus mabouia, a tropical gecko, in Dominica.

Demographics

Agostino Brunias - Linen Market, Dominica - Google Art Project
A linen market in Dominica in the 1770s
Agostino Brunias. Free Women of Color with Their Children and Servants in a Landscape, ca. 1770-1796
Agostino Brunias. Free Women of Color with Their Children and Servants in a Landscape Brooklyn Museum
East Indian Coolies in Trinidad - Project Gutenberg eText 16035
Asian Indians in the late nineteenth century singing and dancing in Trinidad and Tobago
Scenes of Cuba (K5 02567) (5981599576)
Street scene, Matanzas, Cuba

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Taíno of the Greater Antilles and northern Lesser Antilles, the Island Caribs of the southern Lesser Antilles, and smaller distinct groups such as the Guanajatabey of western Cuba and the Ciguayo of eastern Hispaniola. The population of the Caribbean is estimated to have been around 750,000 immediately before European contact, although lower and higher figures are given. After contact, social disruption and epidemic diseases such as smallpox and measles (to which they had no natural immunity)[52] led to a decline in the Amerindian population.[53] From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa[54] such as the Kongo, Igbo, Akan, Fon and Yoruba as well as military prisoners from Ireland, who were deported during the Cromwellian reign in England. Immigrants from Britain, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark also arrived, although the mortality rate was high for both groups.[55]

The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.[56] Immigrants from India, China, Indonesia, and other countries arrived in the mid-19th century as indentured servants.[57] After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally.[58] The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.[59]

In Haiti and most of the French, Anglophone and Dutch Caribbean, the population is predominantly of African origin; on many islands there are also significant populations of mixed racial origin (including Mulatto-Creole, Dougla, Mestizo, Quadroon, Cholo, Castizo, Criollo, Zambo, Pardo, Asian Latin Americans, Chindian, Cocoa panyols, and Eurasian), as well as populations of European ancestry: Dutch, English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish ancestry. Asians, especially those of Chinese, Indian descent, and Javanese Indonesians, form a significant minority in parts of the region. Indians form a plurality of the population in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname. Most of their ancestors arrived in the 19th century as indentured laborers.

The Spanish-speaking Caribbean populations are primarily of European, African, or racially mixed origins. Puerto Rico has a European majority with a mixture of European-African-Native American (tri-racial), and a large Mulatto (European-West African) and West African minority. Cuba also has a European majority, along with a significant population of African ancestry. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed-race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans, and Amerindians.

Revellers Wine at Trinidad Carnival
Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago

Jamaica has a large African majority, in addition to a significant population of mixed racial background, and has minorities of Chinese, Europeans, Indians, Latinos, Jews, and Arabs. This is a result of years of importation of slaves and indentured laborers, and migration. Most multi-racial Jamaicans refer to themselves as either mixed race or brown. Similar populations can be found in the Caricom states of Belize, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago has a multi-racial cosmopolitan society due to the arrivals of Africans, Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Jews, Spanish, Portuguese, and Europeans along with the Native Amerindians population. This multi-racial mix has created sub-ethnicities that often straddle the boundaries of major ethnicities and include Dougla, Chindian, Mulatto-Creole, Afro-Asians, Eurasian, Cocoa panyols, and Asian Latin Americans

Indigenous groups

Language

Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Haitian Creole, and Papiamento are the predominant official languages of various countries in the region, although a handful of unique creole languages or dialects can also be found in virtually every Caribbean country. Other languages such as Caribbean Hindustani, Chinese, Indonesian, Amerindian languages, other African languages, other European languages, other Indian languages, and other Indonesian languages can also be found.

Religion

Rastafarian Man In Rasta Cap
A Rastafarian man wearing a Rastafarian cap
SB090 Santería altar
A Santería altar in Cuba

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).[60] Other religious groups in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion (Taoism and Confucianism), Bahá'í, Jainism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Kebatinan, Traditional African religions, Afro-American religions, Yoruba (Santería, Trinidad Orisha, Palo, Umbanda, Brujería, Hoodoo, Candomblé, Quimbanda, Orisha, Xangô de Recife, Xangô do Nordeste, Comfa, Espiritismo, Santo Daime, Obeah, Candomblé, Abakuá, Kumina, Winti, Sanse, Cuban Vodú, Dominican Vudú, Louisiana Voodoo, Haitian Vodou, and Vodun).

Politics

Regionalism

Flag of CARICOM
Flag of the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM)

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.[61] The current economic and political problems the states face individually are common to all Caribbean states. Regional development has contributed to attempts to subdue current problems and avoid projected problems. From a political and economic perspective, regionalism serves to make Caribbean states active participants in current international affairs through collective coalitions. In 1973, the first political regionalism in the Caribbean Basin was created by advances of the English-speaking Caribbean nations through the institution known as the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM)[62] which is located in Guyana.

Certain scholars have argued both for and against generalizing the political structures of the Caribbean. On the one hand the Caribbean states are politically diverse, ranging from communist systems such as Cuba toward more capitalist Westminster-style parliamentary systems as in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Other scholars argue that these differences are superficial, and that they tend to undermine commonalities in the various Caribbean states. Contemporary Caribbean systems seem to reflect a "blending of traditional and modern patterns, yielding hybrid systems that exhibit significant structural variations and divergent constitutional traditions yet ultimately appear to function in similar ways."[63] The political systems of the Caribbean states share similar practices.

The influence of regionalism in the Caribbean is often marginalized. Some scholars believe that regionalism cannot exist in the Caribbean because each small state is unique. On the other hand, scholars also suggest that there are commonalities amongst the Caribbean nations that suggest regionalism exists. "Proximity as well as historical ties among the Caribbean nations has led to cooperation as well as a desire for collective action."[64] These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations' desires to compete in the international economic system.[64]

Furthermore, a lack of interest from other major states promoted regionalism in the region. In recent years the Caribbean has suffered from a lack of U.S. interest. "With the end of the Cold War, U.S. security and economic interests have been focused on other areas. As a result there has been a significant reduction in U.S. aid and investment to the Caribbean."[65] The lack of international support for these small, relatively poor states, helped regionalism prosper.

Following the Cold War another issue of importance in the Caribbean has been the reduced economic growth of some Caribbean States due to the United States and European Union's allegations of special treatment toward the region by each other.

United States-EU trade dispute

The United States under President Bill Clinton launched a challenge in the World Trade Organization against the EU over Europe's preferential program, known as the Lomé Convention, which allowed banana exports from the former colonies of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply.[66] The World Trade Organization sided in the United States' favour and the beneficial elements of the convention to African, Caribbean and Pacific states has been partially dismantled and replaced by the Cotonou Agreement.[67]

During the US/EU dispute, the United States imposed large tariffs on European Union goods (up to 100%) to pressure Europe to change the agreement with the Caribbean nations in favour of the Cotonou Agreement.[68]

Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lomé Convention weakens. Some farmers have faced increased pressure to turn towards the cultivation of illegal drugs, which has a higher profit margin and fills the sizable demand for these illegal drugs in North America and Europe.[69][70]

Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and Association of Caribbean States

Caribbean nations have also started to more closely cooperate in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and other instruments to add oversight of the offshore industry. One of the most important associations that deal with regionalism amongst the nations of the Caribbean Basin has been the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Proposed by CARICOM in 1992, the ACS soon won the support of the other countries of the region. It was founded in July 1994. The ACS maintains regionalism within the Caribbean on issues unique to the Caribbean Basin. Through coalition building, like the ACS and CARICOM, regionalism has become an undeniable part of the politics and economics of the Caribbean. The successes of region-building initiatives are still debated by scholars, yet regionalism remains prevalent throughout the Caribbean.

Bolivarian Alliance

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez launched an economic group called the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which several eastern Caribbean islands joined. In 2012, the nation of Haiti, with 9 million people, became the largest CARICOM nation that sought to join the union.[71]

Regional institutions

Here are some of the bodies that several islands share in collaboration:

Cuisine

Favorite or national dishes

FOOD Doubles 2
Doubles, one of the national dishes of Trinidad and Tobago
Arroz con gandules
Arroz con gandules, one of the national dishes of Puerto Rico

See also

Geography:

Notes

  1. ^ The Lucayan Archipelago is excluded from some definitions of "Caribbean" and instead classified as Atlantic; this is primarily a geological rather than cultural or environmental distinction.

References

  1. ^ a b "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  2. ^ McWhorter, John H. (2005). Defining Creole. Oxford University Press US. p. 379. ISBN 0-19-516670-1.
  3. ^ a b Allsopp, Richard; Allsopp, Jeannette (2003). Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage. University of the West Indies Press. p. 136–. ISBN 978-976-640-145-0.
  4. ^ Engerman, Stanley L. (2000). "A Population History of the Caribbean". In Haines, Michael R.; Steckel, Richard Hall. A Population History of North America. Cambridge University Press. pp. 483–528. ISBN 0-521-49666-7. OCLC 41118518.
  5. ^ Hillman, Richard S.; D'Agostino, Thomas J., eds. (2003). Understanding the contemporary Caribbean. London, UK: Lynne Rienner. ISBN 158826663X. OCLC 300280211.
  6. ^ Asann, Ridvan (2007). A Brief History of the Caribbean (Revised ed.). New York: Facts on File, Inc. p. 3. ISBN 0-8160-3811-2.
  7. ^ Higman, B. W. (2011). A ConciseHistory of the Caribbean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. xi. ISBN 0521043484.
  8. ^ Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications (M49), United Nations Statistics Division
  9. ^ North America Atlas National Geographic
  10. ^ "North America" Archived March 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Atlas of Canada
  11. ^ "North America". Britannica Concise Encyclopedia; "... associated with the continent is Greenland, the largest island in the world, and such offshore groups as the Arctic Archipelago, the Bahamas, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and the Aleutian Islands."
  12. ^ The World: Geographic Overview, The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency; "North America is commonly understood to include the island of Greenland, the isles of the Caribbean, and to extend south all the way to the Isthmus of Panama."
  13. ^ The Netherlands Antilles: The joy of six, The Economist Magazine, April 29, 2010
  14. ^ "Carib". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-02-20. inhabited the Lesser Antilles and parts of the neighbouring South American coast at the time of the Spanish conquest.
  15. ^ Elster, Charles Harrington. "Caribbean", from The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations. p.78. (2d ed. 2005)
  16. ^ In the early 20th century, only the pronunciation with the primary stress on the third syllable was considered correct, according to Frank Horace Vizetelly, A Desk-Book of Twenty-five Thousand Words Frequently Mispronounced (Funk and Wagnalls, 1917), p. 233.
  17. ^ Ladefoged, Peter; Johnstone, Keith (2011). A Course in Phonetics. Cengage Learning. pp. 86–. ISBN 978-1-4282-3126-9.
  18. ^ Random House Dictionary
  19. ^ American Heritage Dictionary
  20. ^ Merriam Webster
  21. ^ See, e.g., Elster, supra.
  22. ^ a b Oxford Online Dictionaries
  23. ^ "Background of the business forum of the Greater Caribbean of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS)". Archived from the original on 2010-03-27. Retrieved 2009-05-05.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). acs-aec.org
  24. ^ ten Brink, Uri. "Puerto Rico Trench 2003: Cruise Summary Results". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
  25. ^ "Summary Climatological Normals 1981–2010" (PDF). Departamento Meteorologico Aruba. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  26. ^ "Climate Data Aruba". Departamento Meteorologico Aruba. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  27. ^ "Average Weather for Mayaguez, PR - Temperature and Precipitation". Weather.com. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  28. ^ "World Weather Information Service – Havana". Cuban Institute of Meteorology. June 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  29. ^ "Casa Blanca, Habana, Cuba: Climate, Global Warming, and Daylight Charts and Data". Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  30. ^ "SPP Background". CommerceConnect.gov. Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  31. ^ "Ecoregions of North America". United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  32. ^ "What's the difference between North, Latin, Central, Middle, South, Spanish and Anglo America?". About.com.
  33. ^ Unless otherwise noted, land area figures are taken from "Demographic Yearbook—Table 3: Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density" (PDF). United Nations Statistics Division. 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  34. ^ Since the Lucayan Archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean rather than Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas are part of the West Indies but are not technically part of the Caribbean, although the United Nations groups them with the Caribbean.
  35. ^ a b c Population estimates are taken from the Central Bureau of Statistics Netherlands Antilles. "Statistical information: Population". Government of the Netherlands Antilles. Archived from the original on 1 May 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  36. ^ Because of ongoing activity of the Soufriere Hills volcano beginning in July 1995, much of Plymouth was destroyed and government offices were relocated to Brades. Plymouth remains the de jure capital.
  37. ^ Since the Lucayan Archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean rather than Caribbean Sea, the Turks and Caicos Islands are part of the West Indies but are not technically part of the Caribbean, although the United Nations groups them with the Caribbean.
  38. ^ Mark Spalding; Corinna Ravilious; Edmund Peter Green (10 September 2001). World Atlas of Coral Reefs. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-23255-6. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  39. ^ Littler, D. and Littler, M. (2000) Caribbean Reef Plants. OffShore Graphics, Inc., ISBN 0967890101.
  40. ^ Minter, D.W., Rodríguez Hernández, M. and Mena Portales, J. (2001) Fungi of the Caribbean. An annotated checklist. PDMS Publishing, ISBN 0-9540169-0-4.
  41. ^ Kirk, P. M.; Ainsworth, Geoffrey Clough (2008). Ainsworth & Bisby's Dictionary of the Fungi. CABI. ISBN 978-0-85199-826-8.
  42. ^ "Fungi of Cuba – potential endemics". cybertruffle.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  43. ^ "Fungi of Puerto Rico – potential endemics". cybertruffle.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  44. ^ "Fungi of the Dominican Republic – potential endemics". cybertruffle.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  45. ^ "Fungi of Trinidad & Tobago – potential endemics". cybertruffle.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  46. ^ "North American Extinctions v. World". Thegreatstory.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  47. ^ "Caribbean Coral Reefs". coral-reef-info.com.
  48. ^ Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Mumby, P. J.; Hooten, A. J.; Steneck, R. S.; Greenfield, P.; Gomez, E.; Harvell, C. D.; Sale, P. F.; et al. (2007). "Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification". Science. 318 (5857): 1737–42. doi:10.1126/science.1152509. PMID 18079392.
  49. ^ "Caribbean coral reefs may disappear within 20 years: Report". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  50. ^ Rogoziński, Jan (2000). A Brief History of the Caribbean. Penguin. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-452-28193-6.
  51. ^ Rogoziński, Jan (2000). A Brief History of the Caribbean. Penguin. p. 356. ISBN 978-0-452-28193-6.
  52. ^ Byrne, Joseph Patrick (2008). Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues: A-M. ABC-CLIO. p. 413. ISBN 0-313-34102-8.
  53. ^ Engerman, p. 486
  54. ^ The Sugar Revolutions and Slavery, U.S. Library of Congress
  55. ^ Engerman, pp. 488–492
  56. ^ Engerman, Figure 11.1
  57. ^ Engerman, pp. 501–502
  58. ^ Engerman, pp. 504, 511
  59. ^ Table A.2, Database documentation, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Population Database, version 3, International Center for Tropical Agriculture, 2005. Accessed on line February 20, 2008.
  60. ^ Christianity in its Global Context Archived 2013-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
  61. ^ Gowricharn, Ruben. Caribbean Transnationalism: Migration, Pluralization, and Social Cohesion, Lanham: Lexington Books, 2006. p. 5 ISBN 0-7391-1167-1
  62. ^ Hillman, p. 150
  63. ^ Hillman, p. 165
  64. ^ a b Serbin, Andres (1994). "Towards an Association of Caribbean States: Raising Some Awkward Questions". Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs. 36 (4): 61–90. JSTOR 166319.
  65. ^ Hillman, p. 123
  66. ^ "The U.S.-EU Banana Agreement". Archived from the original on 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2008-11-23.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) See also: "Dominica: Poverty and Potential". BBC. 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  67. ^ "WTO rules against EU banana import practices". Archived from the original on 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2008-11-23.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). eubusiness.com (2007-11-29)
  68. ^ "No truce in banana war". BBC News. 1999-03-08. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  69. ^ "World: Americas St Vincent hit by banana war". BBC News. 1999-03-13. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  70. ^ "Concern for Caribbean farmers". Bbc.co.uk. 2005-01-07. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  71. ^ Edmonds, Kevin (2012-03-06). "ALBA Expands its Allies in the Caribbean". Venezuela Analysis. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  72. ^ "CANTO Caribbean portal". Canto.org. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  73. ^ "Caribbean Educators Network". CEN. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  74. ^ "Carilec". Carilec.com. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  75. ^ "About Us". Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  76. ^ "Caribbean Regional Environmental Programme". Crepnet.net. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  77. ^ "Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism". Caricom-fisheries.com. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  78. ^ "Official website of the RNM". Crnm.org. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  79. ^ "University of the West Indies". Uwi.edu. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  80. ^ "West Indies Cricket Board WICB Official Website". Windiescricket.com. Retrieved 2008-12-06.

Bibliography

  • Engerman, Stanley L. "A Population History of the Caribbean", pp. 483–528 in A Population History of North America Michael R. Haines and Richard Hall Steckel (Eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-521-49666-7.
  • Hillman, Richard S., and Thomas J. D'agostino, eds. Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean, London: Lynne Rienner, 2003 ISBN 1-58826-663-X.

Further reading

  • Develtere, Patrick R. 1994. "Co-operation and development: With special reference to the experience of the Commonwealth Caribbean" ACCO, ISBN 90-334-3181-5
  • Gowricharn, Ruben. Caribbean Transnationalism: Migration, Pluralization, and Social Cohesion. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2006.
  • Henke, Holger, and Fred Reno, eds. Modern Political Culture in the Caribbean. Kingston: University of West Indies Press, 2003.
  • Heuman, Gad. The Caribbean: Brief Histories. London: A Hodder Arnold Publication, 2006.
  • de Kadt, Emanuel, (editor). Patterns of foreign influence in the Caribbean, Oxford University Press, 1972.
  • Knight, Franklin W. The Modern Caribbean (University of North Carolina Press, 1989).
  • Kurlansky, Mark. 1992. A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny. Addison-Wesley Publishing. ISBN 0-201-52396-5
  • Langley, Lester D. The United States and the Caribbean in the Twentieth Century. London: University of Georgia Press, 1989.
  • Maingot, Anthony P. The United States and the Caribbean: Challenges of an Asymmetrical Relationship. Westview Press, 1994.
  • Palmie, Stephan, and Francisco A. Scarano, eds. The Caribbean: A History of the Region and Its Peoples (University of Chicago Press; 2011); 660 pp.; writings on the region since the pre-Columbia era.
  • Ramnarine, Tina K. Beautiful Cosmos: Performance and Belonging in the Caribbean Diaspora. London, Pluto Press, 2007.
  • Rowntree, Lester/Martin Lewis/Marie Price/William Wyckoff. Diversity Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment, Development, 4th edition, 2008.

External links

Coordinates: 14°31′32″N 75°49′06″W / 14.52556°N 75.81833°W

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda ( (listen); an-TEE-g(w)ə ... bar-B(Y)OO-də) is a country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda). The permanent population numbers about 81,800 (at the 2011 Census) and the capital and largest port and city is St. John's on Antigua. Lying near each other (the main Barbuda airport is less than 0.5° of latitude, or 30 nautical miles, north of the main Antigua airport), Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17°N of the equator.

The island of Antigua was explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa María La Antigua. Antigua was colonized by Britain in 1632; Barbuda island was first colonized in 1678. Antigua and Barbuda joined the West Indies Federation in 1958. With the breakup of the federation, it became one of the West Indies Associated States in 1967. Following by self-governing on its internal affairs, independence was granted from United Kingdom on 1 November 1981.

Antigua and Barbuda remains a member of the Commonwealth and Elizabeth II is the country's queen and head of state.

Aruba

Aruba ( ə-ROO-bə; Dutch: [aːˈrubaː]; Papiamento: [aˈruba]) is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, located about 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) west of the main part of the Lesser Antilles and 29 kilometres (18 mi) north of the coast of Venezuela. It measures 32 kilometres (20 mi) long from its northwestern to its southeastern end and 10 kilometres (6 mi) across at its widest point. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba forms a group referred to as the ABC islands. Collectively, Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean.

Aruba is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten; the citizens of these countries are all Dutch nationals. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, but, for census purposes, is divided into eight regions. Its capital is Oranjestad.

Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather. It has a land area of 179 km2 (69.1 sq mi) and is densely populated, with a total of 102,484 inhabitants at the 2010 Census. It lies outside Hurricane Alley.

Barbados

Barbados ( (listen) or ) is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America. It is 34 kilometres (21 miles) in length and up to 23 km (14 mi) in width, covering an area of 432 km2 (167 sq mi). It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 km (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, Barbados is east of the Windwards, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 13°N of the equator. It is about 168 km (104 mi) east of both the countries of Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and 400 km (250 mi) north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside the principal Atlantic hurricane belt. Its capital and largest city is Bridgetown.

Inhabited by Kalinago people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other Amerindians, Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century and claimed for the Spanish Crown. It first appeared in a Spanish map in 1511. The Portuguese visited the island in 1536, but they left it unclaimed, with their only remnants being an introduction of wild hogs for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. An English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1625; its men took possession of it in the name of King James I. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and it became an English and later British colony. As a wealthy sugar colony, it became an English centre of the African slave trade until that trade was outlawed in 1807, with final emancipation of slaves in Barbados occurring over a period of years from 1833.

On 30 November 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm with the British monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II) as hereditary head of state. It has a population of 284,996 people, predominantly of African descent. Despite being classified as an Atlantic island, Barbados is considered to be a part of the Caribbean, where it is ranked as a leading tourist destination. Forty percent of the tourists come from the UK, with the US and Canada making up the next large groups of visitors to the island.

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), officially simply the Virgin Islands, are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.

The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, which is about 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom approximately 23,500 lived on Tortola. For the islands, the latest United Nations estimate (2016) is 30,661.British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.

Caribbean Sea

The Caribbean Sea (Spanish: Mar Caribe; French: Mer des Caraïbes; Dutch: Caraïbische Zee) is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and south west, to the north by the Greater Antilles starting with Cuba, to the east by the Lesser Antilles, and to the south by the north coast of South America.

The entire area of the Caribbean Sea, the numerous islands of the West Indies, and adjacent coasts, are collectively known as the Caribbean. The Caribbean Sea is one of the largest seas and has an area of about 2,754,000 km2 (1,063,000 sq mi). The sea's deepest point is the Cayman Trough, between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, at 7,686 m (25,217 ft) below sea level. The Caribbean coastline has many gulfs and bays: the Gulf of Gonâve, Gulf of Venezuela, Gulf of Darién, Golfo de los Mosquitos, Gulf of Paria and Gulf of Honduras.

The Caribbean Sea has the world's second biggest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It runs 1,000 km (620 mi) along the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Dominica

Dominica ( dom-ih-NEE-kə; Island Carib: Wai‘tu kubuli), officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island country in the West Indies. The capital, Roseau, is located on the western side of the island. It is part of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The island is located near Guadeloupe to the northwest and Martinique to the south-southeast. Its area is 750 km2 (290 sq mi), and the highest point is Morne Diablotins, at 1,447 m (4,747 ft) in elevation. The population was 71,293 at the 2011 census. The Commonwealth of Dominica is one of the Caribbean's few republics.

The island was originally inhabited by the Kalinago and later colonised by Europeans, predominantly by the French from the 1690s to 1763. Columbus is said to have passed the island on Sunday 3 November 1493, and the island's name is derived from the Latin for "Sunday". Great Britain took possession in 1763 after the Seven Years' War, and it gradually established English as its official language. The island republic gained independence in 1978.

Its name is pronounced with emphasis on the third syllable, related to its French name of Dominique. Dominica has been nicknamed the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean" for its natural environment. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, and in fact it is still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world's second-largest hot spring, called Boiling Lake. The island has lush mountainous rainforests, and it is the home of many rare plants, animals, and bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions, but heavy rainfall occurs inland. The Sisserou parrot, also known as the imperial amazon and found only on Dominica, is the island's national bird and featured on the national flag, which is one of only two national flags containing the color purple.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic (; Spanish: República Dominicana Spanish pronunciation: [reˈpuβliˌka ðoˌminiˈkana]) is a country located in the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area (after Cuba) at 48,671 square kilometers (18,792 sq mi), and third by population with approximately 10 million people, of which approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.Christopher Columbus landed on the island on December 5, 1492, which the native Taíno people had inhabited since the 7th century. The colony of Santo Domingo became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, the oldest continuously inhabited city, and the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. After more than three hundred years of Spanish rule the Dominican people declared independence in November 1821. The leader of the independence movement José Núñez de Cáceres, intended the Dominican nation to unite with the country of Gran Colombia, but no longer under Spain's custody the newly independent Dominicans were forcefully annexed by Haiti in February 1822. Independence came 22 years later after victory in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844. Over the next 72 years the Dominican Republic experienced mostly internal conflicts and a brief return to colonial status before permanently ousting Spanish rule during the Dominican War of Restoration of 1863–1865. A United States occupation lasted eight years between 1916 and 1924, and a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez was followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo until 1961. A civil war in 1965, the country's last, was ended by U.S. military occupation and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer (1966–1978 & 1986–1996), the rules of Antonio Guzmán (1972–1978) & Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982–1986). Since 1996, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy and has been led by Leonel Fernández for most of the time since 1996. Danilo Medina, the Dominican Republic's current president, succeeded Fernandez in 2012, winning 51% of the electoral vote over his opponent ex-president Hipólito Mejía.The Dominican Republic has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Over the last two decades, the Dominican Republic has had one of the fastest-growing economies in the Americas – with an average real GDP growth rate of 5.4% between 1992 and 2014. GDP growth in 2014 and 2015 reached 7.3 and 7.0%, respectively, the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In the first half of 2016 the Dominican economy grew 7.4% continuing its trend of rapid economic growth. Recent growth has been driven by construction, manufacturing, tourism, and mining. The country is the site of the second largest gold mine in the world, the Pueblo Viejo mine. Private consumption has been strong, as a result of low inflation (under 1% on average in 2015), job creation, as well as a high level of remittances.

The Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean. The year-round golf courses are major attractions. A geographically diverse nation, the Dominican Republic is home to both the Caribbean's tallest mountain peak, Pico Duarte, and the Caribbean's largest lake and point of lowest elevation, Lake Enriquillo. The island has an average temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F) and great climatic and biological diversity. The country is also the site of the first cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress built in the Americas, located in Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone, a World Heritage Site. Music and sport are of great importance in the Dominican culture, with Merengue and Bachata as the national dance and music, and baseball as the favorite sport.

Grenada

Grenada ( (listen) grih-NAY-də) is a country in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain. Grenada consists of the island of Grenada itself plus six smaller islands which lie to the north of the main island. It is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Its size is 348.5 square kilometres (134.6 sq mi), and it had an estimated population of 107,317 in 2016. Its capital is St. George's. Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" due to its production of nutmeg and mace crops, of which it is one of the world's largest exporters. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada dove.

Before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, Grenada was inhabited by the indigenous Arawaks and later by the Island Caribs. Christopher Columbus sighted Grenada in 1498 during his third voyage to the Americas. Although it was deemed the property of the King of Spain, there are no records to suggest the Spanish ever landed or settled on the island. Following several unsuccessful attempts by Europeans to colonise the island due to resistance from the Island Caribs, French settlement and colonisation began in 1650 and continued for the next century. On 10 February 1763, Grenada was ceded to the British under the Treaty of Paris. British rule continued, except for a period of French rule between 1779 and 1783, until 1974. From 1958 to 1962, Grenada was part of the Federation of the West Indies, a short-lived federation of British West Indian colonies. On 3 March 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs as an Associated State. Herbert Blaize was the first Premier of the Associated State of Grenada from March to August 1967. Eric Gairy served as Premier from August 1967 until February 1974.

Independence was granted on 7 February 1974, without breaking formal ties with the Commonwealth, under the leadership of Eric Gairy, who became the first Prime Minister of Grenada, with Queen Elizabeth as Head of State. In March 1979, the Marxist–Leninist New Jewel Movement overthrew Gairy's government in a coup d'état and established the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), headed by Maurice Bishop as Prime Minister. On 19 October 1983, hard-line Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis, backed by the Grenadian Army, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop and placed Bishop under house arrest. Bishop was later freed by popular demonstration and attempted to resume power, but he was captured and executed by soldiers, and replaced with a military council chaired by Hudson Austin. On 25 October 1983, forces from the United States and the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) invaded Grenada in a U.S.-led operation code-named Operation Urgent Fury. The invasion was highly criticised by the governments of Britain, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, along with the United Nations General Assembly. Elections were held in December 1984 and were won by the Grenada National Party under Herbert Blaize, who served as Prime Minister until his death in December 1989.

Haiti

Haiti ( (listen); French: Haïti [a.iti]; Haitian Creole: Ayiti [ajiti]), officially the Republic of Haiti (French: République d'Haïti; Haitian Creole: Repiblik Ayiti) and formerly called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola, east of Cuba in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated 10.8 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole.

The region was originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people. Spain landed on the island on 5 December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic. When Columbus initially landed in Haiti, he had thought he had found India or China. On Christmas Day 1492, Columbus's flagship the Santa Maria ran aground north of what is now Limonade. As a consequence, Columbus ordered his men to salvage what they could from the ship, and he created the first European settlement in the Americas, naming it La Navidad after the day the ship was destroyed.

The island was named La Española and claimed by Spain, which ruled until the early 17th century. Competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France, which named it Saint-Domingue. Sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves brought from Africa, were established by colonists.

In the midst of the French Revolution (1789–99), slaves and free people of color revolted in the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), culminating in the abolition of slavery and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's army at the Battle of Vertières. Afterward the sovereign state of Haiti was established on 1 January 1804—the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, and the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt. The rebellion that began in 1791 was led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture, whose military genius and political acumen transformed an entire society of slaves into an independent country. Upon his death in a prison in France, he was succeeded by his lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared Haiti's sovereignty and later became the first Emperor of Haiti, Jacques I. The Haitian Revolution lasted just over a dozen years; and apart from Alexandre Pétion, the first President of the Republic, all the first leaders of government were former slaves. The Citadelle Laferrière is the largest fortress in the Americas. Henri Christophe—former slave and first king of Haiti, Henri I—built it to withstand a possible foreign attack.It is a founding member of the United Nations, Organization of American States (OAS), Association of Caribbean States, and the International Francophonie Organisation. In addition to CARICOM, it is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. It has the lowest Human Development Index in the Americas. Most recently, in February 2004, a coup d'état originating in the north of the country forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

List of Caribbean islands

This is a list of islands in the Caribbean Sea, by country.

Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)

Pirates of the Caribbean is a series of fantasy swashbuckler films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and based on Walt Disney's eponymous theme park ride.

Directors of the series include Gore Verbinski (1–3), Rob Marshall (4) and Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (5). The series is primarily written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (1–4); other writers include Stuart Beattie (1), Jay Wolpert (1) and Jeff Nathanson (5). The stories follow the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). Characters such as Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) follow Jack, Will and Elizabeth in the course of the films. The fourth film features Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and Angelica (Penélope Cruz), while the fifth film features Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). The films take place in a fictionalized historical setting; a world ruled by the British Empire, the East India Trading Company (based on the real East India Company) and the Spanish Empire, with pirates representing freedom from the ruling powers.

The film series started in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which received positive reviews from critics and grossed US$654 million worldwide. After the first film's success, Walt Disney Pictures revealed that a trilogy was in the works. The franchise's second film, subtitled Dead Man's Chest, was released three years later in 2006; the sequel proved successful, breaking financial records worldwide the day of its premiere. Dead Man's Chest ended up being the number one film of the year upon earning almost $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office. The third film in the series, subtitled At World's End, followed in 2007 earning $960 million, and Disney released a fourth film, subtitled On Stranger Tides, in 2011 in conventional 2D, Digital 3-D and IMAX 3D. On Stranger Tides succeeded in also grossing more than $1 billion, becoming the second film in the franchise and only the eighth film in history to achieve this.

The franchise has grossed over $4.5 billion worldwide; it is the 14th-highest-grossing film series of all time and it was the first franchise where more than one film grossed $1 billion worldwide.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts and Nevis ( (listen)), also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, is an island country in the West Indies. Located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, it is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere, in both area and population. The country is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as queen and head of state.

The capital city is Basseterre on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller island of Nevis lies approximately 3 km (2 mi) southeast of Saint Kitts across a shallow channel called "The Narrows".

The British dependency of Anguilla was historically also a part of this union, which was then known collectively as Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla. To the north-northwest lie the islands of Sint Eustatius, and Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten and Anguilla. To the east and northeast are Antigua and Barbuda, and to the southeast is the small uninhabited island of Redonda, and the island of Montserrat, which currently has an active volcano (see Soufrière Hills).

Saint Kitts and Nevis were among the first islands in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean, and thus has also been titled "The Mother Colony of the West Indies".

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia ( (listen); French: Sainte-Lucie) is a sovereign island country in the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. The island is also called Iyonola, the name given to the island by the native caribs. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 617 km2 (238 square miles) and reported a population of 165,595 in the 2010 census. Its capital is Castries.

The French were the island's first European settlers. They signed a treaty with the native Island Caribs in 1660. England took control of the island from 1663 to 1667. In ensuing years, it was at war with France fourteen times, and the rule of the island changed frequently (it was ruled seven times each by the French and British). In 1814, the British took definitive control of the island. Because it switched so often between British and French control, Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West Indies" after the Greek mythology "Helen of Troy".

Representative government came about in 1840 (universal suffrage was established in 1953). From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the West Indies Federation. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Saint Lucia is a mixed jurisdiction, meaning that it has a legal system based in part on both the civil law and English common law. The Civil Code of St. Lucia of 1867 was based on the Quebec Civil Code of 1866, as supplemented by English common law-style legislation. It is also a member of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas ( (listen)), known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Archipelago. The archipelagic state consists of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, and is located north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast of the United States state of Florida, and east of the Florida Keys. The capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. The designation of "the Bahamas" can refer either to the country or to the larger island chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force describes the Bahamas territory as encompassing 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean space.

The Bahamas is the site of Columbus's first landfall in the New World in 1492. At that time, the islands were inhabited by the Lucayans, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taíno people. Although the Spanish never colonised The Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola. The islands were mostly deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.

The Bahamas became a British crown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American War of Independence, the Crown resettled thousands of American Loyalists in the Bahamas; they brought their slaves with them and established plantations on land grants. Africans constituted the majority of the population from this period. The slave trade was abolished by the British in 1807; slavery in the Bahamas was abolished in 1834. Subsequently, the Bahamas became a haven for freed African slaves; the Royal Navy resettled Africans there liberated from illegal slave ships, North American slaves and Seminoles escaped here from Florida, and the government freed slaves carried on US domestic ships that had reached the Bahamas due to weather. Today, Afro-Bahamians make up nearly 90% of the population.

The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973, retaining the British monarch, then and currently Queen Elizabeth II, as its head of state. In terms of gross domestic product per capita, The Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada), with an economy based on tourism and finance.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago ( (listen), ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country that is the southernmost nation of the West Indies in the Caribbean. It is situated 130 kilometres (81 miles) south of Grenada off the northern edge of the South American mainland, 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) off the coast of northeastern Venezuela. It shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 until Spanish governor Don José María Chacón surrendered the island to a British fleet under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1797. During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands among Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlander colonizers more times than any other island in the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago were ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens as separate states and unified in 1889. Trinidad and Tobago obtained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.

As of 2015, the sovereign state of Trinidad and Tobago had the third highest GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP) in the Americas after the United States and Canada. It is recognised by the World Bank as a high-income economy. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, the economy is primarily industrial with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals; much of the nation's wealth is derived from its large reserves of oil and natural gas.Trinidad and Tobago is known for its Carnival celebration and as the birthplace of steelpan, the limbo, and music styles such as calypso, soca, parang and chutney.

West Indies

The West Indies is a region of the North Atlantic Ocean in the Caribbean that includes the island countries and surrounding waters of three major archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles and the Lucayan Archipelago.The region includes all the islands in or bordering the Caribbean Sea, plus The Bahamas, which are in the Atlantic Ocean. Depending on the context, some references to the West Indies may include some nations of northern South America that share the history and culture of the West Indian islands.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.