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The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=
Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antillas; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, An ...
, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben;
Papiamento Papiamento () or Papiamentu (; nl, Papiaments) is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean. It is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; als ...
: ) is a region of the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...

Americas
that comprises the
Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an Americas, American Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean ...
, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of which lie within the Caribbean Sea and some of which lie on the edge of the Caribbean Sea where it borders the North Atlantic Ocean). The region lies southeast of the
Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geographic features In hydrology Hydrology (from Greek: wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning ...

Gulf of Mexico
and of the North American mainland, east of
Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or ...

Central America
, and north of
South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern of a single continent called (see the ). The reference to South America instead of other cultural ...

South America
. The region, situated largely on the
Caribbean Plate The Caribbean Plate is a mostly oceanic tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around ...
, has more than 700 islands,
islet An islet is a very small island. Most definitions are not precise, but some suggest that an islet has little or no vegetation, and cannot support human habitation. They may be made of rock, sand, and/or coral, may be permanent or tidal, and may ...

islet
s,
reef A reef is a ridge or shoal A tidal sandbar connecting the islands of Waya and Wayasewa of the Yasawa Islands, Fiji ">Fiji.html" ;"title="Yasawa Islands, Fiji">Yasawa Islands, Fiji In oceanography, geomorphology, and earth sciences, a s ...

reef
s and
cay A cay ( or ), also spelled caye or key, is a small, low-elevation, sandy island on the surface of a coral reef. Cays occur in tropical environments throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans (including in the Caribbean The Caribbean ...
s (see the
list of Caribbean islands This is a list of Caribbean islands. Almost all of these islands are in the Caribbean Sea with only a few in inland lakes. The largest island is the island of Cuba. Some of the smaller islands are referred to as a ''rock'' or ''reef. Islands are l ...
). Three
island arc Island arcs are long chains of active volcano A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical bod ...

island arc
s delineate the eastern and northern edges of the
Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an Americas, American Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean ...
: The
Greater Antilles The Greater Antilles ( es, Grandes Antillas or Antillas Mayores; french: Grandes Antilles ht, Gwo Zantiy jam, Grieta hAntiliiz) is a grouping of the larger islands in the Caribbean Sea, including Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the ...

Greater Antilles
to the north, and the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic isla ...
and
Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergen ...
to the south and east. Together with the nearby
Lucayan Archipelago The Lucayan Archipelago (named for the original native Lucayan people The Lucayan () people were the original residents of the Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Ar ...
, these island arcs make up the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inh ...
.
The Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a sovereign country within the of the in the . It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago's land area and is home to 88% of the archipelago's population. The consists ...
and the
Turks and Caicos Islands The Turks and Caicos Islands (abbreviated TCI; and ) are a British Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of ...
are sometimes considered to be a part of the Caribbean, even though they are neither within the Caribbean Sea nor on its border, however The Bahamas is a full member state of the
Caribbean Community The Caribbean Community (CARICOM or CC) is an organisation of fifteen states and dependencies throughout the Caribbean having primary objectives to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of inte ...
and the Turks and Caicos Islands are an associate member.
Belize Belize () is a Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surroundi ...

Belize
,
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be ...

Guyana
, and
Suriname Suriname (, sometimes spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. Borders of Suriname, It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the ...

Suriname
are also considered part of the Caribbean despite being mainland countries and they are full member states of the Caribbean Community and the
Association of Caribbean States The Association of Caribbean States (ACS; es, Asociación de Estados del Caribe; french: Association des États de la Caraïbe) is a union of nations centered on the Caribbean Basin. It was formed with the aim of promoting consultation, cooper ...

Association of Caribbean States
. Several regions of mainland South and Central America are also often seen as part of the Caribbean because of their
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of reso ...
and
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...
ties with the region. These include: Belize, the
Caribbean region of Colombia The Caribbean region of Colombia or Caribbean coast region is in the north of Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia (), is a country in South America with Insular region of Colombia, territories in North America. C ...
, the Venezuelan Caribbean,
Quintana Roo Quintana Roo ( , ), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo), is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City ) , blank1_name_sec1 = Human Development Index, HDI , blank ...

Quintana Roo
in
Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; ...

Mexico
(consisting of
Cozumel Cozumel (, yua, Kùutsmil) is an island and municipality in the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lanmè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is a sea of the ...

Cozumel
and the Caribbean coast of the
Yucatán Peninsula The Yucatán Peninsula (, also , ; es, Península de Yucatán), in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantep ...

Yucatán Peninsula
), and
The Guianas The Guianas, sometimes called by the Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (ma ...

The Guianas
(Guyana, Suriname,
French Guiana French Guiana ( or ; french: link=no, Guyane ) is an overseas departments and regions of France, overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France on the northern Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic coast of South America in the Gui ...

French Guiana
,
Guayana Region 250px, Canaima Lagoon, Guayana Region, Venezuela. The Guayana Region is an regions of Venezuela, administrative region of eastern Venezuela. History In the 1970s, after the process of forming the Political-Administrative Regions through ' ...
in
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the ...

Venezuela
, and
Amapá Amapá () is a States of Brazil, state located in the North Region, Brazil, northern region of Brazil. It is the List of Brazilian states by population, second least populous state and the List of Brazilian states by area, eighteenth largest by ar ...
in
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both and . At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 million people, Brazil is the ...

Brazil
). A mostly tropical geography, the climates are greatly shaped by sea temperatures and precipitation, with the hurricane season regularly leading to natural disasters. Because of its tropical climate and low-lying island geography, the Caribbean is vulnerable to a number of climate change effects, including increased , saltwater intrusion,
sea level rise Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 2017, the globally averaged sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloqui ...

sea level rise
and
coastal erosion Coastal erosion is the loss or displacement of land, or the long-term removal of sediment and rocks along the coastline due to the action of Wind wave, waves, Ocean current, currents, tides, wind-driven water, waterborne ice, or other impacts ...
, and precipitation variability. These weather changes will greatly change the economies of the islands, and especially the major industries of agricultural and tourism. The Caribbean was occupied by indigenous people since at least 6000 BC. When European colonization followed the arrival of Columbus, the population was quickly decimated by brutal labour practices, enslavement and disease and on many islands, Europeans supplanted the native populations with enslaved Africans. Following the
independence of Haiti The Haitian Revolution (french: Révolution haïtienne ; ht, Revolisyon ayisyen) was a successful insurrection by slave revolt, self-liberated slaves against First French Republic, French French colonial empire, colonial rule in Saint-Domingue ...

independence of Haiti
from France in the early 19th century and the decline of slavery in the 19th century, island nations in the Caribbean gradually gained independence, with a wave of new states during the 1950s and 60s. Because of the proximity to the United States, there is also a long history of United States intervention in the region. The islands of the Caribbean (the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inh ...
) are often regarded as a
subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth an ...
of North America, though sometimes they are included in Middle America or then left as a subregion of their own and are organized into 30 territories including
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
s, overseas departments, and dependencies. From December 15, 1954, to October 10, 2010, there was a country known as the
Netherlands Antilles nl, In vrijheid verenigd"Unified by freedom" , national_anthem = , common_languages = Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgi ...
composed of five states, all of which were
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...

Dutch
dependencies. From January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was also a short-lived political union called the
West Indies Federation The West Indies Federation, also known as the West Indies, the Federation of the West Indies or the West Indian Federation, was a short-lived political union A political union is a type of political entity A polity is an identifiable politica ...

West Indies Federation
composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
dependencies.


Etymology and pronunciation

The region takes its name from that of the Caribs, an ethnic group present in the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic isla ...
and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the
Spanish conquest of the Americas Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish conquest of the Americas
. The term was popularized by British cartographer
Thomas Jefferys Example of Jefferys' work. The eastern part of Siberia as depicted by the Second Kamchatka Expedition. Thomas Jefferys (c. 1719 – 1771), "Geographer to King George III of the United Kingdom, George III", was an England, English cartographer who ...
who used it in his ''The West-India Atlas'' (1773). The two most prevalent pronunciations of "Caribbean" outside the Caribbean are (), with the primary stress on the third syllable, and (), with the stress on the second. Most authorities of the last century preferred the stress on the third syllable. This is the older of the two pronunciations, but the stressed-second-syllable variant has been established for over 75 years. It has been suggested that speakers of
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage and is employed by a populatio ...
prefer () while North American speakers more typically use (), but major American dictionaries and other sources list the stress on the third syllable as more common in
American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English is the m ...
too. 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". 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 Caribbean English dialects of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading l ...
stresses the first syllable instead, (). The word Caribbean consistently ranks as one of the most misspelled words in the English language.


Definition

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 Africa,
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
, European colonisation and the
plantation system A plantation economy is an economy based on agricultural mass production, usually of a few commodity crops grown on large farms called plantations. Plantation economies rely on the export of cash crops as a source of income. Prominent crops includ ...
. * The
United Nations geoscheme for the Americas The following is an alphabetical list of countries in the United Nations geoscheme for the Americas grouped by subregion and (if applicable) intermediate region. Note that the continent of North America comprises the intermediate regions of the C ...
presents the Caribbean as a distinct region within the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...

Americas
. * Physiographically, the Caribbean region is mainly a chain of islands surrounding the Caribbean Sea. To the north, the region is bordered by the
Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geographic features In hydrology Hydrology (from Greek: wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning ...

Gulf of Mexico
, the
Straits of Florida 250px, The Straits of Florida The Straits of Florida, Florida Straits, or Florida Strait ( es, Estrecho de Florida) is a strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. M ...

Straits of Florida
and the Northern , which lies to the east and northeast. To the south lies the coastline of the continent of
South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern of a single continent called (see the ). The reference to South America instead of other cultural ...

South America
. * Politically, the "Caribbean" may be centred by considering narrower and wider
socio-economic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies social progress, progress, economic stagnation ...
groupings: ** At its core is the
Caribbean Community The Caribbean Community (CARICOM or CC) is an organisation of fifteen states and dependencies throughout the Caribbean having primary objectives to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of inte ...
(CARICOM), whose full members include the
Commonwealth of the Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Atlantic. It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago's land area and is home to 88% of the archipelago' ...

Commonwealth of the Bahamas
in the Atlantic, the
Co-operative Republic of Guyana Guyana (pronounced or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, w ...

Co-operative Republic of Guyana
and the
Republic of Suriname Suriname (, sometimes spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. Borders of Suriname, It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the ...

Republic of Suriname
in South America, and
Belize Belize () is a Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surroundi ...

Belize
in Central America; its associate members include
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen "God Save the Queen", alternatively "God Save the King" (dependent on the gender of the reigning monarch), is the or in most s, their territories, and the British . The author of the tune is unknown, ...

Bermuda
and the
Turks and Caicos Islands The Turks and Caicos Islands (abbreviated TCI; and ) are a British Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of ...
in the Atlantic Ocean. ** Most expansive is the
Association of Caribbean States The Association of Caribbean States (ACS; es, Asociación de Estados del Caribe; french: Association des États de la Caraïbe) is a union of nations centered on the Caribbean Basin. It was formed with the aim of promoting consultation, cooper ...

Association of Caribbean States
(ACS), which includes almost every nation in the region surrounding the Caribbean and also
El Salvador , national_anthem = '' Himno Nacional de El Salvador''( en, "National Anthem of El Salvador") , image_map = El Salvador (orthographic projection).svg , image_map2 = , capital = San Salvador , coordinates = , largest_city = San Salvador ...

El Salvador
on the Pacific Ocean. According to the ACS, the total population of its member states is 227 million people.


Countries and territories


History

The oldest evidence of humans in the Caribbean is in southern
Trinidad Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the and is known for its fossil- ...

Trinidad
at
Banwari Trace Banwari Trace, an Archaic (pre-ceramic) site in southwestern Trinidad Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, i ...

Banwari Trace
, where remains have been found from seven thousand years ago. These pre-ceramic sites, which belong to the Archaic (pre-ceramic) age, have been termed Ortoiroid. The earliest archaeological evidence of human settlement in
Hispaniola Hispaniola (, also ; es, La Española; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
dates to about 3600 BC, but the reliability of these finds is questioned. Consistent dates of 3100 BC appear in
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
. The earliest dates in the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic isla ...
are from 2000 BC in
Antigua Antigua ( ), also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antillas; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen ...

Antigua
. A lack of pre-ceramic sites in the
Windward Islands french: Îles du Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Windward Islands. Clockwise: Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica. , image_alt = , locator_map = , location = Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean , co ...
and differences in technology suggest that these Archaic settlers may have Central American origins. Whether an Ortoiroid colonization of the islands took place is uncertain, but there is little evidence of one. Between 400 BC and 200 BC the first ceramic-using agriculturalists, the Saladoid culture, entered Trinidad from South America. They expanded up the Orinoco River to Trinidad and then spread rapidly up the islands of the Caribbean. Some time after 250 AD another group, the Barancoid, entered Trinidad. The Barancoid society collapsed along the Orinoco around 650 AD and another group, the Arauquinoid, expanded into these areas and up the Caribbean chain. Around 1300 AD a new group, the Mayoid, entered Trinidad and remained the dominant culture until Spanish settlement. At the time of the European discovery of most of the islands of the Caribbean, three major Amerindian indigenous peoples lived on the islands: the
Taíno The Taíno were an indigenous people of the Caribbean. At the time of European contact in the late fifteenth century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cub ...
in the
Greater Antilles The Greater Antilles ( es, Grandes Antillas or Antillas Mayores; french: Grandes Antilles ht, Gwo Zantiy jam, Grieta hAntiliiz) is a grouping of the larger islands in the Caribbean Sea, including Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the ...

Greater Antilles
,
the Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a sovereign country within the Lucayan Archipelago The Lucayan Archipelago (named for the original native Lucayan people The Lucayan () people were the original resid ...
and the
Leeward Islands french: Îles-Sous-le-Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Leeward Islands. Clockwise: Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda (; ) is a sovereign state, sovereign island country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying ...

Leeward Islands
, the
Island Caribs The Kalinago, also known as the Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic group ...
and
Galibi The Kalina, also known as the Caribs, mainland Caribs and several other names, are an indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capita ...
in the Windward Islands, and the
Ciboney The Ciboney, or Siboney, were a Taíno The Taíno were an indigenous people of the Caribbean. At the time of European contact in the late fifteenth century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the R ...
in western Cuba. The Taínos are subdivided into Classic Taínos, who occupied Hispaniola and
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
, Western Taínos, who occupied Cuba,
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

Jamaica
, and the Bahamian archipelago, and the Eastern Taínos, who occupied the Leeward Islands. Trinidad was inhabited by both Carib speaking and Arawak-speaking groups. Soon after
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian ...

Christopher Columbus
came to the Caribbean, both Portuguese and Spanish explorers began claiming territories in Central and South America. These early colonies brought gold to Europe; most specifically England, the Netherlands, and France. These nations hoped to establish profitable colonies in the Caribbean. Colonial rivalries made the Caribbean a cockpit for European wars for centuries. The Caribbean was known for
pirates Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted ...
, especially between 1640 and 1680. The term "
buccaneer up"Buccaneer of the Caribbean" from Howard Pyle's ''Book of Pirates''. Buccaneers were a kind of privateer A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. Since robbery under arms was a co ...

buccaneer
" is often used to describe a pirate operating in this region. The Caribbean region was war-torn throughout much of its colonial history, but the wars were often based in Europe, with only minor battles fought in the Caribbean. Some wars, however, were born of political turmoil in the Caribbean itself.
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and J ...

Haiti
was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence from European powers (see
Haitian Revolution The Haitian Revolution (french: révolution haïtienne ; ht, revolisyon ayisyen) was a successful insurrection Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders o ...

Haitian Revolution
). Some Caribbean nations gained independence from European powers in the 19th century. Some smaller states are still dependencies of European powers today. Cuba remained a Spanish colony until the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, S ...
. Between 1958 and 1962, most of the British-controlled Caribbean became the
West Indies Federation The West Indies Federation, also known as the West Indies, the Federation of the West Indies or the West Indian Federation, was a short-lived political union A political union is a type of political entity A polity is an identifiable politica ...

West Indies Federation
before they separated into many separate nations.


Foreign interventions by the United States

The United States has conducted military operations in the Caribbean and Latin America regions for at least 100 years. Successive administrations of the Caribbean region have regularly maintained that the Caribbean must remain a zone of peace and have sought declarations at the United Nations to declare the region as such. Since the
Monroe Doctrine The Monroe Doctrine was a United States foreign policy position that opposed European colonialism in the Western Hemisphere. It held that any intervention in the political affairs of the Americas by foreign powers was a potentially hostile act a ...

Monroe Doctrine
, the United States gained a major influence on most Caribbean nations. In the early part of the 20th century, this influence was extended by participation in the
Banana Wars The Banana Wars were occupations Occupation commonly refers to: *Occupation or job A job, employment, work or occupation, is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason ...
. Victory in the Spanish–American War and the signing of the
Platt Amendment On March 2, 1901, the Platt Amendment was passed as part of the 1901 Army Appropriations Bill.Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded control of
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...
and
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
to the United States. Thereafter, the United States conducted military interventions in Cuba,
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and J ...

Haiti
, and the
Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on 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 series of conflicts ended with the withdrawal of troops from Haiti in 1934 under President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
. After the
Cuban Revolution The Cuban Revolution ( es, Revolución cubana) was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (; ; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary, lawyer, and politician who was the leader of ...
of 1959, relations deteriorated rapidly leading to the
Bay of Pigs Invasion The Bay of Pigs Invasion (; sometimes called ''invasión de playa Girón'' or ''batalla de Girón'', after the Playa Girón) was a failed landing operation Allied invasion of Sicily, 1943 A landing operation is a military A military ...
, the
Cuban Missile Crisis The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962 ( es, Crisis de Octubre), the Caribbean Crisis (), or the Missile Scare, was a 1-month, 4 day (16 October – 20 November 1962) confrontation between the United States ...
, and successive US attempts to destabilize the island, based upon
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
fears of the
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
threat. The U.S. invaded and occupied Haiti for 19 years (1915–34), subsequently dominating the Haitian economy through aid and loan repayments. The U.S. invaded Haiti again in 1994 and in 2004 were accused by of arranging a
coup d'état A coup d'état (; French for "blow of state"), often shortened to coup in English, (also known as an overthrow) is a seizure and removal of a government and its powers. Typically, it is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a politic ...
to remove elected Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In 1965, 23,000 US troops were sent to the Dominican Republic to quash a local uprising against military rule (see
Dominican Civil War The Dominican Civil War () took place between April 24, 1965, and September 3, 1965, in Santo Domingo , total_type = Total , population_density_km2 = auto , timezone = AST , area_code_type = Area codes , area_code = 809, 829, 849 , pos ...
). President Lyndon Johnson had ordered the invasion to stem what he deemed to be a "Communist threat." However, the mission appeared ambiguous and was roundly condemned throughout the hemisphere as a return to
gunboat diplomacy In international politics, the term gunboat diplomacy refers to the pursuit of foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international po ...
. In 1983, the US invaded Grenada to remove populist left-wing leader Maurice Bishop. The US maintains a naval military base in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay. The base is one of five unified commands whose "area of responsibility" is
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
and the Caribbean. The command is headquartered in Miami, Florida. File:Attack near Playa Giron. April 19, 1961. - panoramio.jpg, Counter-attack by
Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces The Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces ( es, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias – FAR) consist of ground forces, naval forces, Cuban Revolutionary Air and Air Defense Force, air and air defence forces, and other paramilitary bodies including the T ...
supported by
T-34 The T-34 is a Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or wor ...

T-34
tanks near Playa Giron during the
Bay of Pigs Invasion The Bay of Pigs Invasion (; sometimes called ''invasión de playa Girón'' or ''batalla de Girón'', after the Playa Girón) was a failed landing operation Allied invasion of Sicily, 1943 A landing operation is a military A military ...
, 19 April 1961. File:DR1965-5 (8161964889).jpg, A
Marine Marine is an adjective meaning of or pertaining to the sea or ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
heavy machine gunner monitors a position along the international neutral corridor in Santo Domingo, 1965. File:BTR-60PB Urgent Fury.jpg, A Soviet-made
BTR-60 The BTR-60 is the first vehicle in a series of Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred ...

BTR-60
armored personnel carrier seized by US forces during
Operation Urgent Fury The United States invasion of Grenada began at dawn on 25 October 1983. The U.S. and a coalition of six Caribbean nations invaded the island nation of Grenada Grenada ( ; Grenadian Creole French: ''Gwenad'') is an island country in the ...
(1983) File:US Army helicopters on forward flight deck of USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) off Haiti in 1994.JPEG, US Army
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-blade, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. Sikorsky submitted the S-70 design for the United States Army's Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) co ...
,
Bell AH-1 Cobra The Bell AH-1 Cobra is a single-engined attack helicopter developed and manufactured by the American rotorcraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter Bell Textron Inc. is an United States, American aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Fort Worth ...

Bell AH-1 Cobra
and
Bell OH-58 Kiowa The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a family of single-engine, single- rotor, military helicopters used for observation, utility, and direct fire support. Bell Helicopter Bell Textron Inc. is an American aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Fort Wor ...
helicopters on the deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS ''Dwight D. Eisenhower'' (
CVN-69 USS ''Dwight D. Eisenhower'' (CVN-69) (known informally as "''Ike''") is a nuclear-powered Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reaction In nuclear physics Nuclear physics is the field of physics that studies atomic nuclei and their c ...
) off Haiti, 1994.


Foreign interventions by Cuba

From 1966 until the late 1980s, the Soviet government upgraded Cuba's military capabilities, and Cuban leader
Fidel Castro Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (; ; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary, lawyer, and politician who was the leader of Cuba from 1959 to 2008, serving as the prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and President of Cuba ...

Fidel Castro
saw to it that Cuba assisted with the independence struggles of several countries across the world, most notably Angola and Mozambique in southern Africa, and the anti-imperialist struggles of countries such as Syria, Algeria, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Vietnam. Its Angolan involvement was particularly intense and noteworthy with heavy assistance given to the Marxist–Leninist
MPLA The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, for some years called the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party ( pt, Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola – Partido do Trabalho, MPLA), is a left-wing politi ...
in the
Angolan Civil War The Angolan Civil War ( pt, Guerra Civil Angolana) was a civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side ...
. Cuba sent 380,000 troops to Angola and 70,000 additional civilian technicians and volunteers. (The Cuban forces possessed 1,000 tanks, 600 armoured vehicles and 1,600 artillery pieces.) Cuba's involvement in the Angolan Civil War began in the 1960s when relations were established with the leftist Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The MPLA was one of three organizations struggling to gain Angola's independence from Portugal, the other two being
UNITA The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA, pt, União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) is the second-largest political party in Angola. Founded in 1966, UNITA fought alongside the Popular Movement for the L ...
and the
National Liberation Front of Angola The National Front for the Liberation of Angola ( pt, Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola; abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of ...
(FNLA). In August and October 1975, the
South African Defence Force The South African Defence Force (SADF) comprised the South African armed forces from 1957 until 1994. Shortly before the state reconstituted itself as a republic in 1961, the former Union Defence Force (South Africa), Union Defence Force was ...
(SADF) intervened in Angola in support of the UNITA and FNLA. On 14 October 1975, the SADF commenced Operation Savannah in an effort to capture Luanda from the south. On 5 November 1975, without consulting Moscow, the Cuban government opted for direct intervention with combat troops ( Operation Carlota) in support of the MPLA and the combined MPLA-Cuban armies managed to stop the South African advance by 26 November. During the
Ogaden War The Ogaden War, or the Ethio-Somali War (), was a military conflict fought between Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''F ...
(1977–78) in which Somalia attempted to invade an Ethiopia affected by civil war, Cuba deployed 18,000 troops along with armoured vehicles, artillery,
T-62 The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank A main battle tank (MBT), also known as a battle tank or universal tank, is a tank that fills the armor-protected direct fire and maneuver role of many modern armies. Cold War-era development of mor ...

T-62
tanks, and MiGs to assist the
Derg The Derg (also spelled Dergue; from Amharic: ደርግ, "committee" or "council"; om, Dergii), officially the Provisional Military Government of Ethiopia, was the military junta that ruled Ethiopia Ethiopia (; am, ኢትዮጵያ, , ...

Derg
. Ethiopia and Cuba defeated Somalia on 9 March 1978. In 1987–88, South Africa again sent military forces to Angola to stop an advance of MPLA forces (FAPLA) against UNITA, leading to the
Battle of Cuito Cuanavale The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale was fought intermittently between 14 August 1987 and 23 March 1988, south and east of the town of Cuito Cuanavale Cuito Cuanavale is a town and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrativ ...
, where the SADF was unable to defeat the FAPLA and Cuban forces. Cuba also directly participated in the negotiations between Angola and South Africa, again without consulting Moscow. Within two years, the Cold War was over and Cuba's foreign policy shifted away from military intervention.


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 Aruba ( , , ) is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-1 ...

Aruba
(possessing only minor volcanic features),
Curaçao Curaçao ( ; ; pap, Kòrsou, ) is a Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea The Cari ...
,
Barbados Barbados is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

Barbados
,
Bonaire Bonaire ( or ; ; pap, Boneiru, ) is an island in the Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dram ...

Bonaire
, the
Cayman Islands The Cayman Islands () is a self-governing British overseas territories, British Overseas Territory, the largest by population, in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Caym ...

Cayman Islands
,
Saint Croix Saint Croix; nl, Sint-Kruis; french: link=no, Sainte-Croix; Danish and no, Sankt Croix, Taino: ''Ay Ay'' ( , ) is an island in the Caribbean Sea, and a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands The United St ...
,
the Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a sovereign country within the Lucayan Archipelago The Lucayan Archipelago (named for the original native Lucayan people The Lucayan () people were the original resid ...
, and
Antigua Antigua ( ), also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antillas; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen ...

Antigua
. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of
Saint MartinSaint Martin may refer to: People * Saint Martin of Tours (c. 316–397), Bishop of Tours, France * Saint Martin of Braga (c. 520–580), archbishop of Bracara Augusta in Gallaecia (now Braga in Portugal) * Pope Martin I (598–655) * Saint Martin ...
,
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
,
Hispaniola Hispaniola (, also ; es, La Española; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
,
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
,
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

Jamaica
,
Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago : ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is the generally spoken language in Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language: ; french: Dominique; Do ...

Dominica
,
Montserrat Montserrat ( ) is a British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all with a constitutional and historical lin ...

Montserrat
,
Saba Saba (, ; , ) is a Caribbean island which is the smallest Caribbean Netherlands, special municipality (officially “Public body (Netherlands), public body”) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scener ...

Saba
,
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (, ), also known locally as Statia (),Tuchman, Barbara W. ''The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution'' New York: Ballantine Books, 1988. is an island in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes ...

Sint Eustatius
,
Saint Kitts Saint Kitts, officially the Saint Christopher Island, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land ...
,
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individu ...

Saint Lucia
, Saint Thomas,
Saint John Saint John or St. John sometimes refers to John the Apostle John the Apostle ( arc, ܝܘܚܢܢ ܫܠܝܚܐ, ; he, יוחנן בן זבדי, ; grc, Ἰωάννης; cop, ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ or ; la, Ioannes; ) was one of the Twelve Apostles ...
,
Tortola Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. It has a surface area of with a total population of 23,908, with 9,400 residents in Road Tow ...

Tortola
,
Grenada Grenada ( ; Grenadian Creole French: ) is an island country in the West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "ea ...

Grenada
, Saint Vincent,
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and voca ...
,
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and ...

Martinique
and
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean C ...

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 A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
formations. The
Puerto Rico Trench The Puerto Rico Trench is located on the boundary between the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an American med ...
, 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. The region sits in the line of several major shipping routes with the
Panama Canal The Panama Canal ( es, Canal de Panamá, link=no) is an artificial waterway in Panama Panama ( , ; es, link=no, Panamá ), officially the Republic of Panama ( es, República de Panamá), is a List of transcontinental countries#Nor ...

Panama Canal
connecting the western Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.


Island groups

Lucayan Archipelago The Lucayan Archipelago (named for the original native Lucayan people The Lucayan () people were the original residents of the Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Ar ...
* * (United Kingdom)
Greater Antilles The Greater Antilles ( es, Grandes Antillas or Antillas Mayores; french: Grandes Antilles ht, Gwo Zantiy jam, Grieta hAntiliiz) is a grouping of the larger islands in the Caribbean Sea, including Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the ...

Greater Antilles
* (United Kingdom) * *
Hispaniola Hispaniola (, also ; es, La Española; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
, politically divided between: ** ** * * (
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
) **
Spanish Virgin Islands , image_name = Spanish-virgin-islands.jpg , image_size = , image_caption = Location of the Spanish Virgin Islands (yellow) between Puerto Rico (left) and Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands , image_alt = , location ...
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic isla ...
*
Leeward Islands french: Îles-Sous-le-Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Leeward Islands. Clockwise: Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda (; ) is a sovereign state, sovereign island country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying ...

Leeward Islands
** (United States) ***
Saint Croix Saint Croix; nl, Sint-Kruis; french: link=no, Sainte-Croix; Danish and no, Sankt Croix, Taino: ''Ay Ay'' ( , ) is an island in the Caribbean Sea, and a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands The United St ...
*** Saint Thomas ***
Saint John Saint John or St. John sometimes refers to John the Apostle John the Apostle ( arc, ܝܘܚܢܢ ܫܠܝܚܐ, ; he, יוחנן בן זבדי, ; grc, Ἰωάννης; cop, ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ or ; la, Ioannes; ) was one of the Twelve Apostles ...
*** Water Island ** (United Kingdom) ***
Tortola Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. It has a surface area of with a total population of 23,908, with 9,400 residents in Road Tow ...

Tortola
***
Virgin Gorda Virgin Gorda is the third-largest (after Tortola and Anegada) and second-most populous of the British Virgin Islands ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen" , song_type = Territorial song , song = "Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands" , image_map = ...

Virgin Gorda
***
Anegada Anegada is the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen" , song_type = Territorial song , song = "Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands" , image_map = British Virgin Islands in United Kingdom.svg , map_caption ...
***
Jost Van Dyke Jost Van Dyke (sometimes colloquially referred to as JVD or Jost) is the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen" , song_type = Territorial song , song = "Oh, Beautiful Virgin I ...
** (United Kingdom) ** ***
Antigua Antigua ( ), also known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antillas; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen ...

Antigua
***
Barbuda Barbuda () is a small island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in_Lower_Saranac_Lake.jpg.html" ...

Barbuda
***
Redonda Redonda is an uninhabited Caribbean island that is a part of Antigua and Barbuda, in the Leeward Islands, West Indies The West Indies are a subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and the Cari ...

Redonda
**
Saint MartinSaint Martin may refer to: People * Saint Martin of Tours (c. 316–397), Bishop of Tours, France * Saint Martin of Braga (c. 520–580), archbishop of Bracara Augusta in Gallaecia (now Braga in Portugal) * Pope Martin I (598–655) * Saint Martin ...
, politically divided between *** (France) *** (
Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-10-10.png , map_caption2 = Map of the four constituent countries shown to scale , capital = ...
) ** (
Caribbean Netherlands The Caribbean Netherlands ( nl, Caribisch Nederland, ) are the three #Administration, special municipalities of the Netherlands that are located in the Caribbean Sea. They consist of the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba,"Bonaire, Sin ...

Caribbean Netherlands
, Netherlands) ** (
Caribbean Netherlands The Caribbean Netherlands ( nl, Caribisch Nederland, ) are the three #Administration, special municipalities of the Netherlands that are located in the Caribbean Sea. They consist of the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba,"Bonaire, Sin ...

Caribbean Netherlands
, Netherlands) ** (
French Antilles 270px, ''Les Salines'' in Martinique The term French West Indies or French Antilles (french: Antilles françaises) refers to the eight territories currently under France, French sovereignty in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean: * The two O ...

French Antilles
, France) ** ***
Saint Kitts Saint Kitts, officially the Saint Christopher Island, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land ...
***
Nevis Nevis is a small island in the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an Americas, American Mediterranean s ...
** (United Kingdom) ** (
French Antilles 270px, ''Les Salines'' in Martinique The term French West Indies or French Antilles (french: Antilles françaises) refers to the eight territories currently under France, French sovereignty in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean: * The two O ...

French Antilles
, France) including *** ***
Marie-Galante Marie-Galante ( gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antill ...

Marie-Galante
***
La Désirade La Désirade ('The Desired', also called La Deseada) is an island in the French West Indies. It forms part of Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Gwadloup, ) is an archipelago and Overseas departments and regions of Fr ...

La Désirade
*
Windward Islands french: Îles du Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Windward Islands. Clockwise: Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica. , image_alt = , locator_map = , location = Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean , co ...
** ** (
French Antilles 270px, ''Les Salines'' in Martinique The term French West Indies or French Antilles (french: Antilles françaises) refers to the eight territories currently under France, French sovereignty in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean: * The two O ...

French Antilles
, France) ** ** *** *** The Grenadines ** ***
Grenada Grenada ( ; Grenadian Creole French: ) is an island country in the West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "ea ...

Grenada
*** Carriacou and Petite Martinique ** * ** Tobago **
Trinidad Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the and is known for its fossil- ...

Trinidad
*
Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergen ...
** (
Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-10-10.png , map_caption2 = Map of the four constituent countries shown to scale , capital = ...
) ** (
Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-10-10.png , map_caption2 = Map of the four constituent countries shown to scale , capital = ...
) ** (
Caribbean Netherlands The Caribbean Netherlands ( nl, Caribisch Nederland, ) are the three #Administration, special municipalities of the Netherlands that are located in the Caribbean Sea. They consist of the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba,"Bonaire, Sin ...

Caribbean Netherlands
, Netherlands)


Historical groupings

All islands at some point were, and a few still are, colony, colonies of European nations; a few are dependent territory, overseas or dependent territories: * British West Indies, British West Indies/Anglophone Caribbean – Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda,
The Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a sovereign country within the of the in the . It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago's land area and is home to 88% of the archipelago's population. The consists ...
,
Barbados Barbados is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

Barbados
, Bay Islands Department, Bay Islands,
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be ...

Guyana
,
Belize Belize () is a Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surroundi ...

Belize
, British Virgin Islands,
Cayman Islands The Cayman Islands () is a self-governing British overseas territories, British Overseas Territory, the largest by population, in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Caym ...

Cayman Islands
,
Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago : ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is the generally spoken language in Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language: ; french: Dominique; Do ...

Dominica
,
Grenada Grenada ( ; Grenadian Creole French: ) is an island country in the West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "ea ...

Grenada
,
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

Jamaica
,
Montserrat Montserrat ( ) is a British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all with a constitutional and historical lin ...

Montserrat
,
Saint Croix Saint Croix; nl, Sint-Kruis; french: link=no, Sainte-Croix; Danish and no, Sankt Croix, Taino: ''Ay Ay'' ( , ) is an island in the Caribbean Sea, and a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands The United St ...
(briefly), Saint Kitts and Nevis,
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individu ...

Saint Lucia
, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean C ...

Trinidad and Tobago
(from 1797) and the
Turks and Caicos Islands The Turks and Caicos Islands (abbreviated TCI; and ) are a British Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of ...
* Danish West Indies – Possession of Denmark-Norway before Norwegian Constitution, 1814, then Denmark, present-day United States Virgin Islands * Dutch West Indies –
Aruba Aruba ( , , ) is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-1 ...

Aruba
,
Bonaire Bonaire ( or ; ; pap, Boneiru, ) is an island in the Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dram ...

Bonaire
,
Curaçao Curaçao ( ; ; pap, Kòrsou, ) is a Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea The Cari ...
,
Saba Saba (, ; , ) is a Caribbean island which is the smallest Caribbean Netherlands, special municipality (officially “Public body (Netherlands), public body”) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scener ...

Saba
,
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (, ), also known locally as Statia (),Tuchman, Barbara W. ''The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution'' New York: Ballantine Books, 1988. is an island in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes ...

Sint Eustatius
, Sint Maarten, Bay Islands Department, Bay Islands (briefly),
Saint Croix Saint Croix; nl, Sint-Kruis; french: link=no, Sainte-Croix; Danish and no, Sankt Croix, Taino: ''Ay Ay'' ( , ) is an island in the Caribbean Sea, and a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands The United St ...
(briefly), Tobago, Suriname, Surinam and Virgin Islands * French West Indies – Anguilla (briefly), Antigua and Barbuda (briefly),
Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago : ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is the generally spoken language in Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language: ; french: Dominique; Do ...

Dominica
, Dominican Republic (briefly),
Grenada Grenada ( ; Grenadian Creole French: ) is an island country in the West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "ea ...

Grenada
,
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and J ...

Haiti
(formerly Saint-Domingue),
Montserrat Montserrat ( ) is a British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all with a constitutional and historical lin ...

Montserrat
(briefly),
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individu ...

Saint Lucia
, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (, ), also known locally as Statia (),Tuchman, Barbara W. ''The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution'' New York: Ballantine Books, 1988. is an island in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes ...

Sint Eustatius
(briefly), Sint Maarten,
Saint Kitts Saint Kitts, officially the Saint Christopher Island, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land ...
(briefly), Tobago (briefly),
Saint Croix Saint Croix; nl, Sint-Kruis; french: link=no, Sainte-Croix; Danish and no, Sankt Croix, Taino: ''Ay Ay'' ( , ) is an island in the Caribbean Sea, and a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands The United St ...
, the current French overseas department and region, overseas ''départements'' of
French Guiana French Guiana ( or ; french: link=no, Guyane ) is an overseas departments and regions of France, overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France on the northern Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic coast of South America in the Gui ...

French Guiana
,
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and ...

Martinique
and
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and voca ...
(including
Marie-Galante Marie-Galante ( gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Pequeñas Antill ...

Marie-Galante
,
La Désirade La Désirade ('The Desired', also called La Deseada) is an island in the French West Indies. It forms part of Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Gwadloup, ) is an archipelago and Overseas departments and regions of Fr ...

La Désirade
and ), the current French overseas collectivity, overseas collectivities of Saint Barthélemy and Collectivity of Saint Martin, Saint Martin * Portuguese Empire, Portuguese West Indies – present-day
Barbados Barbados is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

Barbados
, known as ' in the 16th century when the Portuguese claimed the island en route to Brazil. The Portuguese left Barbados abandoned years before the British arrived. * Spanish West Indies –
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
,
Hispaniola Hispaniola (, also ; es, La Española; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
(present-day Dominican Republic,
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and J ...

Haiti
(until 1659, lost to France)),
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
,
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

Jamaica
(until 1655, lost to Great Britain), the
Cayman Islands The Cayman Islands () is a self-governing British overseas territories, British Overseas Territory, the largest by population, in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Caym ...

Cayman Islands
(until 1670 to Great Britain)
Trinidad Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the and is known for its fossil- ...

Trinidad
(until 1797, lost to Great Britain) and Bay Islands Department, Bay Islands (until 1643, lost to Great Britain), coastal islands of
Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or ...

Central America
(except Belize), and some Caribbean coastal islands of Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the ...

Venezuela
. * Swedish West Indies – present-day French Saint-Barthélemy,
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and voca ...
(briefly) and Tobago (briefly). * Couronian colonization of the Americas, Courlander West Indies – Tobago (until 1691) The British West Indies were united by the United Kingdom into a
West Indies Federation The West Indies Federation, also known as the West Indies, the Federation of the West Indies or the West Indian Federation, was a short-lived political union A political union is a type of political entity A polity is an identifiable politica ...

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 cricket, Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. The West Indian cricket team includes the South American nation of
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be ...

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.


Continental countries with Caribbean coastlines and islands

* ** Ambergris Caye ** Caye Caulker ** Glover's Reef ** Hick's Cayes ** Lighthouse Reef ** St. George's Caye ** Tobacco Caye ** Turneffe Atoll * ** Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina *** ''Bajo Nuevo Bank''* *** Crab Cay *** Quita Sueño Bank *** Roncador Bank *** Roncador Cay *** San Andrés (island) *** Santa Catalina Island (Colombia) *** Serrana Bank *** ''Serranilla Bank''* ** Archipelago of San Bernardo ** Rosario Islands * ** Brava, Costa Rica, Brava Island, Costa Rica ** Isla Calero ** Uvita Island * * * * ** Bay Islands Department, Islas de la Bahía *** Cayos Cochinos *** Guanaja *** Roatán *** Swan Islands, Honduras, Swan Islands *** Útila *** Cayos Cochinos *** Cayo Gorda ** Bobel Cay * ** Corn Islands ** Miskito Cays ** Pearl Cays *** Calala Island ** Rama Cay * ** Archipelago off Guna Yala coast (including the San Blas Islands) ** Bocas del Toro Archipelago (approximately 300 islands) ** Galeta Island (Panama) ** Isla Grande ** Soledad Miria *** Cayos Limones * **
Quintana Roo Quintana Roo ( , ), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo), is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City ) , blank1_name_sec1 = Human Development Index, HDI , blank ...

Quintana Roo
*** Banco Chinchorro ***
Cozumel Cozumel (, yua, Kùutsmil) is an island and municipality in the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lanmè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is a sea of the ...

Cozumel
*** Isla Mujeres Municipality, Isla Blanca *** Isla Contoy *** Isla Holbox *** Isla Mujeres * * * ** Isla de Aves, Aves Island ** Blanquilla Island ** Coche Island ** Cubagua, Cubagua Island ** Islas Los Frailes ** La Orchila ** La Sola Island ** La Tortuga Island ** Las Aves archipelago ** Los Hermanos Archipelago ** Los Monjes Archipelago ** Los Roques archipelago ** Los Testigos Islands ** Margarita Island ** Patos Island (Venezuela), Patos Island * Territorial dispute, Disputed territories administered by Colombia.


Climate

The climate of the area is tropical, varying from tropical rainforest climate, tropical rainforest in some areas to tropical monsoon climate, tropical monsoon and tropical savanna climate, tropical savanna in others. There are also some locations that are arid climates with considerable drought in some years, and the peaks of mountains tend to have cooler temperate climates. Rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents, such as the cool upwellings that keep the ABC islands (Lesser Antilles), 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 Belize () is a Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surroundi ...

Belize
, as well as the Dominican Republic and
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
, while the more seasonal dry tropical savanna climates are found in
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
, northern Colombia and
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the ...

Venezuela
, and southern Yucatán Peninsula, Yucatán, Mexico. Arid climates are found along the extreme northern coast of Venezuela out to the islands including
Aruba Aruba ( , , ) is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-1 ...

Aruba
and Curacao, as well as the northwestern tip of Yucatán. 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 between the wet and dry seasons. Seasonally, monthly mean temperatures vary from only about in the northernmost regions, to less than 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. Tropical cyclone#Hurricane or typhoon, Hurricanes that sometimes batter the region usually strike northwards of
Grenada Grenada ( ; Grenadian Creole French: ) is an island country in the West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "ea ...

Grenada
and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to the 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 in the warmest months to in the coolest months. The air temperature is warm year-round, in the 20s and 30s °C (70s, 80s, and 90s °F), and only varies from winter to summer about 2–5 degrees on the southern islands and about a 10–20 degrees difference on the northern islands of the Caribbean. The northern islands, like the Bahamas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, may be influenced by continental masses during winter months, such as cold fronts. Dominican Republic: Latitude 18°N Aruba: Latitude 12°N Puerto Rico: Latitude 18°N Cuba: at Latitude 22°N


Climate change


Biodiversity

The Caribbean islands have some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The animals, fungi, and plants 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 along with extensive seagrass meadows, 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. 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. 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; for
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
, the number is 789 species; for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species; for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species. 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 Tyto pollens, giant Ornimegalonyx, owls and Megalocnus, dwarf ground sloths. 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 Hispaniola, and the Cuban crocodile. The region's coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500 and 700 species of reef-associated fishes have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification. 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. 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 Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
and
Barbados Barbados is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

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 Dominica ( or ; Kalinago : ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is the generally spoken language in Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language: ; french: Dominique; Do ...

Dominica
, which remains heavily forested. The islands in the southern
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic isla ...
,
Aruba Aruba ( , , ) is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-1 ...

Aruba
,
Bonaire Bonaire ( or ; ; pap, Boneiru, ) is an island in the Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dram ...

Bonaire
and
Curaçao Curaçao ( ; ; pap, Kòrsou, ) is a Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea The Cari ...
, are extremely arid, making them unsuitable for agriculture. However, they have salt pans that were exploited by the Dutch. Seawater was pumped into shallow ponds, producing coarse salt when the water evaporated. 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.


Plants and animals

File:Epiphytes (Dominica).jpg, Epiphytes (bromeliads, climbing palms) in the rainforest of
Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago : ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is the generally spoken language in Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language: ; french: Dominique; Do ...

Dominica
. File:Jumping frog.jpg, A green and black poison frog, ''Dendrobates auratus'' File:Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Guadeloupe.jpg, ''Caesalpinia pulcherrima'',
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and voca ...
. File:Costus speciosus Guadeloupe.JPG, ''Costus speciosus'', a marsh plant,
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and voca ...
. File:Ocypode quadrata (Martinique).jpg, An Atlantic ghost crab (''Ocypode quadrata'') in
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and ...

Martinique
. File:Calebassier.jpg, ''Crescentia cujete'', or calabash fruit,
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and ...

Martinique
. File:Thalassoma bifasciatum (Bluehead Wrasse) juvenile yellow stage over Bispira brunnea (Social Feather Duster Worms).jpg, ''Thalassoma bifasciatum'' (bluehead wrasse fish), over ''Bispira brunnea'' (social feather duster worms). File:Stenopus hispidus (Banded cleaner shrimp).jpg, Two ''Stenopus hispidus'' (banded cleaner shrimp) on a ''Xestospongia muta'' (giant barrel sponge). File:Cyphoma signata (Fingerprint Cowry) pair.jpg, A pair of ''Cyphoma signatum'' (fingerprint cowry), off coastal
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and J ...

Haiti
. File:Extinctbirds1907 P18 Amazona martinicana0317.png, The Martinique amazon, ''Amazona martinicana'', is an extinct species of parrot in the family Psittacidae. File:Anastrepha suspensa 5193019.jpg, ''Anastrepha suspensa'', a Caribbean fruit fly. File:Hemidactylus mabouia (Dominica).jpg, ''Hemidactylus mabouia'', a tropical gecko, in
Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago : ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is the generally spoken language in Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago language: ; french: Dominique; Do ...

Dominica
Edited by: Taniya Brooks.


Demographics


Indigenous peoples

* Arawak ** Igneri ** Taíno people, Taíno ***
Ciboney The Ciboney, or Siboney, were a Taíno The Taíno were an indigenous people of the Caribbean. At the time of European contact in the late fifteenth century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the R ...
*** Lucayan people, Lucayan ** Neo-Taíno nations#Ciguayo, Ciguayo ** Neo-Taíno nations#Macorix, Macorix * Guanahatabey * Caquetio * Garifuna people, Garifuna * Kalina people, Kalina * Island Caribs, Kalinago * Raizal At the time of European colonization of the Americas, European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the
Taíno The Taíno were an indigenous people of the Caribbean. At the time of European contact in the late fifteenth century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cub ...
of the
Greater Antilles The Greater Antilles ( es, Grandes Antillas or Antillas Mayores; french: Grandes Antilles ht, Gwo Zantiy jam, Grieta hAntiliiz) is a grouping of the larger islands in the Caribbean Sea, including Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the ...

Greater Antilles
and northern
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most of them are part of a long, partially volcanic arc, volcanic isla ...
, the
Island Caribs The Kalinago, also known as the Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic group ...
of the southern Lesser Antilles, and smaller distinct groups such as the Guanahatabey of western Cuba and the Neo-Taíno nations#Ciguayo, Ciguayo and Neo-Taíno nations#Macorix, Macorix 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) led to a decline in the Amerindian population. From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa such as the Kongo people, Kongo, Igbo people, Igbo, Akan people, Akan, Fon people, Fon and Yoruba people, Yoruba as well as military prisoners from Ireland, who were deported during the Cromwellian reign in England. Immigrants from Great Britain, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark also arrived, although the mortality rate was high for both groups. The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800. Immigrants from India, China, Indonesia, and other countries arrived in the mid-19th century as indentured servants. After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally. The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.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.
In
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and J ...

Haiti
and most of the French Caribbean, French, Anglophone Caribbean, Anglophone and Dutch West Indies, Dutch Caribbean, the population is predominantly of Afro-Caribbean, African origin; on many islands there are also significant populations of mixed racial origin (including Mulatto-Creole peoples, Creole, Dougla, Mestizo, Quadroon, Cholo, Castizo, Criollo people, Criollo, Zambo, Pardo, Asian Latin Americans, Chindian, Cocoa panyols, and Eurasian (mixed ancestry), Eurasian), as well as populations of European ancestry: Dutch people, Dutch, English people, English, French people, French, Italian people, Italian, Portuguese people, Portuguese and Spanish people, Spanish ancestry. Asians, especially those of Chinese Caribbean, Chinese, Indo-Caribbean, Indian descent, and Javanese people, Javanese Indonesian people, Indonesians, form a significant minority in parts of the region. Indo-Caribbean, Indians form a plurality of the population in
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean C ...

Trinidad and Tobago
,
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be ...

Guyana
, and
Suriname Suriname (, sometimes spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. Borders of Suriname, It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the ...

Suriname
. Most of their ancestors arrived in the 19th century as indentured laborers. The Spanish Caribbean, Spanish-speaking Caribbean populations are primarily of European, African, or racially mixed origins. Puerto Rico has a European majority with a tri-racial (mixture of European-African-Native American) population, as well as a large mulatto (European-West African) and West African minority. Cuba has a mixed-race majority, along with a high European minority, and a significant population of African ancestry. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed-race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans, and Amerindians.
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...

Jamaica
has a large African majority, in addition to a significant population of mixed racial background, and has minorities of Chinese people, Chinese, ethnic groups in Europe, Europeans, Indian people, Indians, Latin Americans, 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 Belize () is a Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surroundi ...

Belize
,
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be ...

Guyana
and
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean C ...

Trinidad and Tobago
.
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean C ...

Trinidad and Tobago
has a multi-racial cosmopolitan society due to the arrivals of Afro-Trinidadian, Africans, Indo-Trinidadian, Indians, Chinese Trinidadian, Chinese, Arabs, Jews, Latin Americans, Latinos, and White Trinidadian, Europeans along with the Amerindians, native indigenous Amerindians population. This multi-racial mix of the Caribbean has created sub-ethnicities that often straddle the boundaries of major ethnicities and include Mulatto-Creole peoples, Creole, Mestizo, Pardo, Zambo, Dougla, Chindian, Afro-Asians, Eurasian (mixed ancestry), Eurasian, Cocoa panyols, and Asian Latin Americans, Asian Latinos.


Language

Caribbean Spanish, Spanish (64%), French language, French (25%), Caribbean English, English (14%), Dutch language, Dutch, Haitian Creole, and
Papiamento Papiamento () or Papiamentu (; nl, Papiaments) is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean. It is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; als ...
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 language, Chinese, Javanese language, Javanese, Arabic, Hmong language, Hmong, Indigenous languages of the Americas, Amerindian languages, other African languages, other Languages of Europe, European languages, and other Languages of India, Indian languages can also be found.


Religion

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%). Other religions in the region are Hinduism in the West Indies, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Rastafari, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion (incl. Taoism and Confucianism), Baháʼí Faith, Baháʼí, Jainism, Sikhism, Kebatinan, Traditional African religions, Yoruba religion, Yoruba (incl. Trinidad Orisha), Afro-American religions, (incl. Santería, Palo (religion), Palo, Umbanda, Brujería, Hoodoo (folk magic), 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 West African Vodun, Vodun).


Politics


Regionalism

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens. 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 (international relations), 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 () 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." 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." These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations' desires to compete in the international economic system. 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." The lack of international support for these small, relatively poor states, helped regionalism prosper. Another issue of due to the cold war 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. In counteraction, the European Union claimed that the U.S. in the midst of the cold war, and seeking to promote capitalist economic growth in the region through offshoring of business development and later on offshore financial sector characterized this segment of regional government activity in the Caribbean as an unfair/ Harmful low-tax competition which undercuts the higher taxation rates found in Europe. Much of the U.S. tax code which benefited the Caribbea
US eases stance on 'tax havens'
was to cull socialist movements in the region, limit Russian financial influence in the area, and firmly integrate the Caribbean into the United States financial system much to the insistence by the E.U. that the low tax rates of the Caribbean for global companies needed to be banne
U.S.-Caribbean Relations
https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1227&context=mjil ]


United States-EU trade dispute

The United States President Bill Clinton, backed by American owned banana producers in Central America 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 ACP countries, Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply. 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. 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. 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 marijuana, which has a higher profit margin and fills the sizable demand for these narcotics in North America and Europ
The banana wars explained


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 The Association of Caribbean States (ACS; es, Asociación de Estados del Caribe; french: Association des États de la Caraïbe) is a union of nations centered on the Caribbean Basin. It was formed with the aim of promoting consultation, cooper ...

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.


Chinese relations

In recent history increasing numbers of countries in the regions have signed on to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in order to take advantage of the advancing Chinese market and access development loans at rates lower than traditional global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund or World Bank. Nations in the region which have joined China's global trading network are: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago. In addition the nations of France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom all of which have a considerable amount of territory in the region are also Belt & Road Initiative area members.


Bolivarian Alliance

The President of
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the ...

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.


Regional institutions

Here are some of the bodies that several islands share in collaboration: * African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States *
Association of Caribbean States The Association of Caribbean States (ACS; es, Asociación de Estados del Caribe; french: Association des États de la Caraïbe) is a union of nations centered on the Caribbean Basin. It was formed with the aim of promoting consultation, cooper ...

Association of Caribbean States
(ACS), Trinidad and Tobago * Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), Trinidad and Tobago * Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO), Trinidad and Tobago *
Caribbean Community The Caribbean Community (CARICOM or CC) is an organisation of fifteen states and dependencies throughout the Caribbean having primary objectives to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of inte ...
(CARICOM), Guyana * Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Barbados * Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDERA), Barbados * Caribbean Educators Network * Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC), Saint Lucia * Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Barbados and Jamaica * Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Trinidad and Tobago * Caribbean Food Crops Society, Puerto Rico * Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Jamaica * Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Florida and Puerto Rico * Caribbean Initiative (Initiative of the IUCN) * Caribbean Programme for Economic Competitiveness (CPEC), Saint Lucia * Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Trinidad and Tobago * Caribbean Regional Environmental Programme (CREP), Barbados * Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Belize * Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM), Barbados and Dominican Republic * Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), Trinidad and Tobago * Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Barbados * Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) * Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children, Barbados * Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC), Brazil and Uruguay * Latin American Economic System, Latin American and the Caribbean Economic System, Venezuela * Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Saint Lucia * United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Chile and Trinidad and Tobago * University of the West Indies, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, the fourth campus, the Open Campus was formed in June 2008 as a result of an amalgamation of the Board for Non-Campus Countries and Distance Education, Schools of Continuing Studies, the UWI Distance Education Centres and Tertiary Level Units. The Open Campus has 42 physical sites in 16 Anglophone caribbean countries. * West Indies Cricket Board, Antigua and Barbuda


Cuisine


Favourite or national dishes

* Anguilla – rice, peas and fish * Antigua and Barbuda cuisine, Antigua and Barbuda – fungee and Guyana pepperpot, pepperpot * Bahamas – Guava duff, Conch Salad, Peas n' Rice, and Conch Fritters *
Barbados Barbados is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

Barbados
– cou-cou and flying fish *
Belize Belize () is a Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surroundi ...

Belize
– rice and beans, stew chicken with potato salad ; white rice, stew beans and fry fish with cole slaw * British Virgin Islands – fish and fungee *
Cayman Islands The Cayman Islands () is a self-governing British overseas territories, British Overseas Territory, the largest by population, in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Caym ...

Cayman Islands
– turtle stew, turtle steak, grouper * Colombian cuisine, Colombian Caribbean – rice with coconut milk, arroz con pollo, sancocho, Arab cuisine (due to the large Arab population) * Cuban cuisine, Cuba – platillo Moros y Cristianos, ropa vieja, lechon, plantain (cooking), maduros, ajiaco * Dominica cuisine, Dominica – mountain chicken, rice and peas, dumplings, saltfish, dashin, bakes (fried dumplings), coconut confiture, curry goat, cassava farine, oxtail * Dominican Republic cuisine, Dominican Republic – arroz con pollo with stewed red kidney beans, pan fry, pan fried or braised beef, salad/ ensalada de coditos, empanadas, pastelitos, Mangú (dish), mangú, sancocho, locrio * Grenadan cuisine, Grenada – oil down, Roti and rice & chicken *
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be ...

Guyana
– roti and curry, Guyana pepperpot, pepperpot, cookup rice, methem, pholourie * Haitian cuisine, Haiti – griot (fried pork) served with du riz a pois or diri ak pwa (rice and beans) * Jamaican cuisine, Jamaica – ackee and saltfish, callaloo, jerk chicken, curry chicken *
Montserrat Montserrat ( ) is a British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories all with a constitutional and historical lin ...

Montserrat
– Goat water * Puerto Rican cuisine, Puerto Rico – yellow rice with green pigeon peas, saltfish stew, roasted pork shoulder, chicken fricassée, mofongo, tripe soup, alcapurria, coconut custard, rice pudding, guava turnovers, Mallorca bread * Saint Kitts and Nevis – goat water, coconut dumplings, spicy plantain (cooking), plantain, saltfish, breadfruit * Saint Lucian cuisine, Saint Lucia – callaloo, dal roti, dried and salted cod, green bananas, rice and beans * Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish *
Suriname Suriname (, sometimes spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. Borders of Suriname, It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the ...

Suriname
– brown beans and rice, roti and curry, peanut soup, battered fried plantain with peanut sauce, nasi goreng, moksie alesi, Vada (food), bara, Pom (dish), pom * Trinidad and Tobago cuisine, Trinidad and Tobago – doubles (food), doubles, curry with roti or dal bhat, aloo pie, Pholourie, phulourie, callaloo, Bake and Shark, bake and shark, curry crab and dumpling * United States Virgin Islands – stewed goat, oxtail or beef, seafood, callaloo, cou-cou, fungee


See also

* African diaspora * Afro-Caribbean people * Anchor coinage * British African-Caribbean people * British Indo-Caribbean people * Caribbean culture * Caribbean literature * Caribbean people * Caribbean poetry * Climate change in the Caribbean * CONCACAF * Cricket West Indies * Council on Hemispheric Affairs * Culture of the Caribbean * Economy of the Caribbean * Spanish Caribbean, Hispanic Caribbean * Indian diaspora * Indo-Caribbean * Indo-Caribbean American * List of Caribbean music genres * List of sovereign states and dependent territories in the Caribbean * NECOBELAC Project * Non-resident Indian and person of Indian origin * Piracy in the Caribbean * Politics of the Caribbean * Tourism in the Caribbean Geography: * Americas (terminology) * List of archipelagos by number of islands * List of Caribbean islands * List of indigenous names of Eastern Caribbean islands * List of mountain peaks of the Caribbean * List of Ultras of the Caribbean * Middle America (Americas) * Latin America and the Caribbean (region)


Notes


References


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, . * Hillman, Richard S., and Thomas J. D'agostino, eds. ''Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean'', London: Lynne Rienner, 2003 .


Further reading

* Develtere, Patrick R. 1994. "Co-operation and development: With special reference to the experience of the Commonwealth Caribbean" ACCO, * 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. * 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

*
Digital Library of the Caribbean

Manioc, open access digital Library, books, images, conferences, articles about the Caribbean

Federal Research Division of the U.S. Library of Congress
Caribbean Islands (1987)
LANIC Caribbean country pages
* {{Authority control Caribbean,