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The Caribbean is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands
(most of which enclose the sea), and the surrounding coasts. The region is located
southeast of North America, east of Central America, and to the north of South America.
Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 7,000 islands,
islets, reefs, and cays. Also called the West Indies, since Christopher Columbus
landed here in 1492 believing he was in India, the region consists of the Antilles,
divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north and the
Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), and the
Geopolitically, the West Indies are usually reckoned as a subregion of North America
and are organised into 27 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments,
and dependencies. At one time, there was a short-lived country called the Federation
of the West Indies composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories.
The Caribbean islands are an island chain 4,020 kilometres (2,500 mi) long and no
more than 257 kilometres (160 mi) wide at any given point. They enclose the Caribbean
Indians were the first inhabitants in the Caribbean, and then, in 1492, Christopher
Columbus began his exploration of these islands, becoming the first European to
venture into the area.
After landing in the Bahamas, Columbus named these islands the Indies, because he
thought he had finally reached Asia (and the East Indies).
Numerous explorers followed in his path, then settlers arrived from the Americas
Included in that mix were religious outcasts, slaves from Africa, and a small army
of infamous pirates.
Great military powers would fight for control of the islands, and finally, a blended
mix of African and European cultures and languages transformed this large group
of islands and its peoples into one of the premier tourist destinations on the planet.
Long called the West Indies, the overall area is now commonly referred to as the
Caribbean, a name that became popular after World War II.
Some of this information has been provided by
Region Information - Antigua
| Bahamas |
Grand Bahama | St Lucia
| Tobago |
Turks and Caicos Islands