The Greater Antilles is a grouping of the larger islands in the Caribbean Sea: Cuba, Hispaniola (containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands.

The Greater Antilles constitute nearly 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies,[1] as well as over 90% of its population. The remainder of the land belongs to the archipelago of the Lesser Antilles, which is a chain of islands to the east (running north-south and encompassing the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea where it meets the Atlantic Ocean) and south (running east-west off the northern coast of South America).

The word Antilles originated in the period before the European conquest of the New World - Europeans used the term Antilia as one of the mysterious lands featured on medieval charts, sometimes as an archipelago, sometimes as continuous land of greater or lesser extent, its location fluctuating in mid-ocean between the Canary Islands and Eurasia.

The Lucayan Archipelago is not considered to be a part of the Antilles archipelagoes but rather of the North Atlantic.


Name Area
Population density
(per km²)
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands (UK) 264 58,441 207.9 George Town
Cuba Cuba 110,860 11,147,407 102.4 Havana
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 48,442 10,734,247 183.7 Santo Domingo
Haiti Haiti 27,750 10,646,714 292.7 Port-au-Prince
Jamaica Jamaica 10,991 2,990,561 248.6 Kingston
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (US) 9,104 3,351,827 430.2 San Juan
Total 207,411 38,929,197 169.05


  1. ^ "Greater Antilles". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 

Further reading

External links

Media related to Greater Antilles at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 21°59′N 79°02′W / 21.983°N 79.033°W / 21.983; -79.033