Region of the Americas

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

Caribbean (orthographic projection).svg
Area275,400 km2 (106,300 sq mi)
Population density151.5/km2 (392/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsAfrican, European, Indian, Latino or Hispanic (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mestizo, Mulatto, Pardo, and Zambo), Chinese, Jewish, Arab, Amerindian, Javanese,[3] Hmong, Multiracial
ReligionsChristianity, Hinduism, Islam, Afro-American religions, Traditional African religions, Rastafarianism, Native American religion, Judaism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion (incl. Taoism and Confucianism), Bahá'í, Kebatinan, Sikhism, Irreligion, others
DemonymCaribbean, West Indian
Countries13 sovereign states
LanguagesEnglish, French, Spanish, Dutch, French Creoles, English Creoles, Dutch Creoles, Papiamento, Caribbean Hindustani, Chinese, among others
Time zonesUTC−5 to UTC−4
Internet TLDMultiple
Calling codeMultiple
Largest cities
  • Caracas
  • Santo Domingo
  • Port-au-Prince
  • Maracaibo
  • Barranquilla
  • San Juan
  • Havana
  • Valencia
  • Maracay
  • Kingston
  • Santiago de los Caballeros
  • Santiago de Cuba
  • Cancún
  • Cartagena
  • Ciudad Guayana
  • Barcelona
  • Costa Oriental del Lago
  • Willemstad
  • Oranjestad
  • Macapá
  • Santa Marta
  • Montería
  • Punta Cana
  • Maturín
  • Valledupar
  • Montego Bay
  • Cumaná
  • Camagüey
  • Sincelejo
  • Cap-Haïtien
  • Nassau
  • Paramaribo
  • Chetumal
  • Spanish Town
  • Porlamar
  • Cayenne
  • Georgetown
  • Bridgetown
  • Noord
  • Chaguanas
  • San Fernando
  • Port of Spain
  • Belize City
UN M49 code029 – Caribbean
419 – Latin America
019 – Americas
001 – World

The Caribbean (/ˌkærɪˈbən, kəˈrɪbiən/, locally /ˈkærɪbiæn/;[5] Spanish: El Caribe; French: la Caraïbe; Haitian Creole: Karayib; Dutch: De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea[6] and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean)[7] and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America and north of South America islets, reefs and cays.[8] Island arcs delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea:[9] the Greater Antilles and the Lucayan Archipelago on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (which includes the Leeward Antilles). They form the West Indies with the nearby Lucayan Archipelago (the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands), which are considered to be part of the Caribbean despite not bordering the Caribbean Sea. On the mainland, Belize, Nicaragua, the Caribbean region of Colombia, Cozumel, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, and the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Guayana Region in Venezuela, and Amapá in Brazil) are often included due to their political and cultural ties with the region.[10]

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

Etymology and pronunciation

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

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

The Oxford Online Dictionaries claim that the stress on the second syllable is the most common pronunciation in the Caribbean itself, but according to the Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage, the most common pronunciation in Caribbean English stresses the first syllable instead, /ˈkærɪbiæn/ (KARR-ih-bee-an).[5][22]


Map of the Caribbean

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

  • The United Nations geoscheme for the Americas presents the Caribbean as a distinct region within the 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 Straits of Florida and the Northern Atlantic Ocean, which lies to the east and northeast. To the south lies the coastline of the continent of South America.
  • Politically, the "Caribbean" may be centred by considering narrower and wider socio-economic groupings:
    • At its core is the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), whose full members include the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in the Atlantic, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Suriname in South America, and Belize in Central America; its associate members include Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
    • Most expansive is the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), which includes almost every nation in the region surrounding the Caribbean and also El Salvador on the Pacific Ocean. According to the ACS, the total population of its member states is 227 million people.[23]

Countries and territories of the Caribbean today

Islands in and near the Caribbean
Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations
Flag Country or territory[24][25][26] Sovereignty Status Area
(2021 est.)[1][2]
(people per km2)
Anguilla Anguilla United Kingdom British overseas territory 91 15,753 164.8 The Valley
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda Independent Constitutional monarchy 442 93,219 199.1 St. John's
Aruba Aruba Kingdom of the Netherlands Constituent kingdom 180 106,537 594.4 Oranjestad
The Bahamas The Bahamas[28] Independent Constitutional monarchy 13,943 407,906 24.5 Nassau
Barbados Barbados Independent Republic 430 287,025 595.3 Bridgetown
Bonaire Bonaire Kingdom of the Netherlands Special Municipality 294 20,104 41.1 Kralendijk
British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands United Kingdom British overseas territory 151 31,122 152.3 Road Town
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands United Kingdom British overseas territory 264 68,136 212.1 George Town
Cuba Cuba Independent Republic 109,886 11,256,372 102.0 Havana
Curaçao Curaçao Kingdom of the Netherlands Constituent kingdom 444 190,338 317.1 Willemstad
Dominica Dominica Independent Republic 751 72,412 89.2 Roseau
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Independent Republic 48,671 11,117,873 207.3 Santo Domingo
Federal Dependencies of Venezuela Federal Dependencies of Venezuela Venezuela Territories 342 2,155 6.3 Gran Roque
Grenada Grenada Independent Constitutional monarchy 344 124,610 302.3 St. George's
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe France Overseas department and region of France 1,628 396,051 246.7 Basse-Terre
Guyana Guyana Independent Republic 214,970 804,567 3.5 Georgetown
Haiti Haiti Independent Republic 27,750 11,447,569 361.5 Port-au-Prince
Jamaica Jamaica Independent Constitutional monarchy 10,991 2,827,695 247.4 Kingston
Martinique Martinique France Overseas department 1,128 368,796 352.6 Fort-de-France
Montserrat Montserrat United Kingdom British overseas territory 102 4,417 58.8 Plymouth (Brades)[29]
Navassa Island United States/Haiti Territory (uninhabited) 5 0 0.0 n/a
Nueva Esparta Nueva Esparta Venezuela State 1,151 491,610 La Asunción
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico United States Commonwealth 8,870 3,256,028 448.9 San Juan
Saba (island) Saba Kingdom of the Netherlands Special municipality 13 1,537[30] 118.2 The Bottom
Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina San Andrés and Providencia Colombia Department 52.5 75,167 1431 San Andrés
Saint Barthélemy Saint Barthélemy France Overseas collectivity 21 7,448 354.7 Gustavia
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis Independent Constitutional monarchy 261 47,606 199.2 Basseterre
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia Independent Constitutional monarchy 539 179,651 319.1 Castries
Collectivity of Saint Martin Saint Martin France Overseas collectivity 54 29,820 552.2 Marigot
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Independent Constitutional monarchy 389 104,332 280.2 Kingstown
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius Kingdom of the Netherlands Special municipality 21 2,739[30] 130.4 Oranjestad
Sint Maarten Sint Maarten Kingdom of the Netherlands Constituent kingdom 34 44,042 1176.7 Philipsburg
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Independent Republic 5,130 1,525,663 261.0 Port of Spain
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos Islands[31] United Kingdom British overseas territory 948 45,114 34.8 Cockburn Town
United States Virgin Islands United States Virgin Islands United States Territory 347 100,091 317.0 Charlotte Amalie
Total 235,667 44,636,789 189.4


Precolombian languages of the Antilles.Ciboney Taíno, Classic Taíno, and Iñeri were Arawakan, Karina and Yao were Cariban. Macorix, Ciguayo and Guanahatabey are unclassified.

The oldest evidence of humans in the Caribbean is in southern Trinidad at 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 dates to about 3600 BC, but the reliability of these finds is questioned. Consistent dates of 3100 BC appear in Cuba. The earliest dates in the Lesser Antilles are from 2000 BC in Antigua. A lack of pre-ceramic sites in the Windward Islands 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.

DNA studies changed some of the traditional beliefs about pre-Columbian indigenous history. According to National Geographic, "studies confirm that a wave of pottery-making farmers—known as Ceramic Age people—set out in canoes from the northeastern coast of South America starting some 2,500 years ago and island-hopped across the Caribbean. They were not, however, the first colonizers. On many islands they encountered a foraging people who arrived some 6,000 or 7,000 years ago...The ceramicists, who are related to today's Arawak-speaking peoples, supplanted the earlier foraging inhabitants—presumably through disease or violence—as they settled new islands."[32]

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 in the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas and the Leeward Islands, the Island Caribs and Galibi in the Windward Islands, and the Ciboney in western Cuba. The Taínos are subdivided into Classic Taínos, who occupied Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, Western Taínos, who occupied Cuba, 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 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 Battle of the Saintes between British and French fleets in 1782, by Nicholas Pocock

The Caribbean was known for pirates, especially between 1640 and 1680. The term "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 was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence from European powers (see 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. Between 1958 and 1962, most of the British-controlled Caribbean became the West Indies Federation before they separated into many separate nations.

US interventions

The United States has conducted military operations in the Caribbean for at least 100 years.[33]

Since the 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. Victory in the Spanish–American War and the signing of the Platt Amendment in 1901 ensured that the United States would have the right to interfere in Cuban political and economic affairs, militarily if necessary. After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, relations deteriorated rapidly leading to the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and successive US attempts to destabilize the island, based upon Cold War fears of the Soviet threat. The US invaded and occupied Hispaniola for 19 years (1915–34), subsequently dominating the Haitian economy through aid and loan repayments. The US invaded Haiti again in 1994 and in 2004 were accused by CARICOM of arranging a coup d'état 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). 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 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 and the Caribbean. The command is headquartered in Miami, Florida.

  • Counter-attack by Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces supported by T-34 tanks near Playa Giron during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, 19 April 1961.

    Counter-attack by Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces supported by T-34 tanks near Playa Giron during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, 19 April 1961

  • A Marine heavy machine gunner monitors a position along the international neutral corridor in Santo Domingo, 1965.

    A Marine heavy machine gunner monitors a position along the international neutral corridor in Santo Domingo, 1965.

  • A Soviet-made BTR-60 armored personnel carrier seized by US forces during Operation Urgent Fury (1983)

    A Soviet-made BTR-60 armored personnel carrier seized by US forces during Operation Urgent Fury (1983)

  • US Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, Bell AH-1 Cobra and Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters on deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) off Haiti, 1994.

    US Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, Bell AH-1 Cobra and Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters on deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) off Haiti, 1994

Foreign interventions by Cuba

A Cuban PT-76 tank crew performing routine security duties in Angola during the Cuban intervention into the country

From 1966 until the late 1980s, the Soviet government upgraded Cuba's military capabilities, and Cuban leader 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.[34][35] Its Angolan involvement was particularly intense and noteworthy with heavy assistance given to the Marxist–Leninist MPLA in the Angolan Civil War. Cuba sent 380,000 troops to Angola and 70,000 additional civilian technicians and volunteers. (The Cuban forces possessed 1,000 tanks, 600 armored 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 and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA). In August and October 1975, the South African Defence Force (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 a 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 (1977–78) in which Somalia attempted to invade an Ethiopia affected by civil war, Cuba deployed 18,000 troops along with armored vehicles, artillery, T-62 tanks, and MiGs to assist the Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia. Cuban troops and warplanes played a major part in the expulsion of Somali regulars from the Ogaden.

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, 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 Caribbean Plate

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

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

The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish, turtles, and coral reef formations. The Puerto Rico Trench, located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico, is the deepest point in all of the Atlantic Ocean.[36]

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


Tropical monsoon climate in San Andrés island, Caribbean, Colombia
Köppen climate map of the islands of the Caribbean

The climate of the area is tropical, varying from tropical rainforest in some areas to tropical monsoon and 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 arid. Warm, moist trade winds blow consistently from the east, creating both rain forest and semi arid climates across the region. The tropical rainforest climates include lowland areas near the Caribbean Sea from Costa Rica north to Belize, as well as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, while the more seasonal dry tropical savanna climates are found in Cuba, northern Colombia and Venezuela, and southern Yucatán, Mexico. Arid climates are found along the extreme northern coast of Venezuela out to the islands including 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 25 to 33 C (77 F to 90 F) between the wet and dry seasons. Seasonally, monthly mean temperatures vary from only about 5 C (7 F) in the northern most regions, to less than 3 C in the southernmost areas of the Caribbean.

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

Sea surface temperatures change little annually, normally running from 30 °C (87 °F) in the warmest months to 26 °C (76 °F) in the coolest months. The air temperature is warm year round, in the 70s, 80s and 90s, 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.

Aruba: Latitude 12°N

Climate data for Oranjestad, Aruba (1981–2010, extremes 1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.5
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.7
Average low °C (°F) 24.5
Record low °C (°F) 21.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 39.3

Puerto Rico: Latitude 18°N

Climate data for San Juan, Puerto Rico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33
Average high °C (°F) 28
Average low °C (°F) 22
Record low °C (°F) 16
Average precipitation mm (inches) 95
Source: The National Weather Service[39]

Cuba: at Latitude 22°N

Climate data for Havana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.5
Average high °C (°F) 25.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 22.2
Average low °C (°F) 18.6
Record low °C (°F) 5.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 64.4
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN),[40][41]
A field in Pinar del Rio planted with Cuban tobacco
Puerto Rico's south shore, from the mountains of Jayuya
Grand Anse beach, St. George's, Grenada
A church cemetery perched in the mountains of Guadeloupe
A view of Nevis island from the southeastern peninsula of Saint Kitts

Island groups

Lucayan Archipelago[c]

Greater Antilles

  •  Cayman Islands (United Kingdom)
  •  Cuba
  • Hispaniola
    •  Haiti
    •  Dominican Republic
  •  Jamaica
  •  Puerto Rico (U.S. Commonwealth)
    • Spanish Virgin Islands

Lesser Antilles

Historical groupings

Spanish Caribbean Islands in the American Viceroyalties 1600
Political evolution of Central America and the Caribbean from 1700 to present
The mostly Spanish-controlled Caribbean in the 18th century

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

  • British West Indies/Anglophone Caribbean – Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bay Islands, Guyana, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Croix (briefly), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago (from 1797) and the Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Danish West Indies – Possession of Denmark-Norway before 1814, then Denmark, present-day United States Virgin Islands
  • Dutch West Indies – Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Bay Islands (briefly), Saint Croix (briefly), Tobago, Surinam and Virgin Islands
  • French West Indies – Anguilla (briefly), Antigua and Barbuda (briefly), Dominica, Dominican Republic (briefly), Grenada, Haiti (formerly Saint-Domingue), Montserrat (briefly), Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius (briefly), Sint Maarten, St. Kitts (briefly), Tobago (briefly), Saint Croix, the current French overseas départements of French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe (including Marie-Galante, La Désirade and Les Saintes), the current French overseas collectivities of Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin
  • Portuguese West Indies – present-day Barbados, known as Os Barbados 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, Hispaniola (present-day Dominican Republic), Haiti (until 1659, lost to France), Puerto Rico, Jamaica (until 1655, lost to Great Britain), the Cayman Islands (until 1670 to Great Britain) Trinidad (until 1797, lost to Great Britain) and Bay Islands (until 1643, lost to Great Britain), coastal islands of Central America (except Belize), and some Caribbean coastal islands of Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela.
  • Swedish West Indies – present-day French Saint-Barthélemy, Guadeloupe (briefly) and Tobago (briefly).
  • Courlander West Indies – Tobago (until 1691)

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

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

Continental countries with Caribbean coastlines and islands

  •  Nicaragua
    • Corn Islands
    • Miskito Cays
    • Pearl Cays
      • Calala Island
    • Rama Cay
  •  Panama
    • 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
  •  Mexico
    • Quintana Roo
      • Banco Chinchorro
      • Cozumel
      • Isla Blanca
      • Isla Contoy
      • Isla Holbox
      • Isla Mujeres
  •  Suriname
  •  Venezuela
    • Blanquilla Island
    • Coche Island
    • Cubagua Island
    • Isla Aves
    • Islas Los Frailes
    • Isla Margarita
    • La Orchila
    • La Sola Island
    • La Tortuga Island
    • Las Aves archipelago
    • Los Hermanos Archipelago
    • Los Monjes Archipelago
    • Los Roques archipelago
    • Los Testigos Islands
    • Patos Island

Cayo de Agua, Los Roques Archipelago, Venezuela
Palancar Beach in Cozumel Island, Mexico
Guanaja Island, Bay Islands, Honduras


The Caribbean islands have one of the most diverse eco systems in the world. The animals, fungi and plants, and have been classified as one of Conservation International's biodiversity hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests, to tropical rainforest, to cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world's coral reefs[42] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[43] 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.[44] 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.[45] 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;[46] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[47] for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[48] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[49]

Many of the ecosystems of the Caribbean islands have been devastated by deforestation, pollution, and human encroachment. The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of giant owls and dwarf ground sloths.[50] The hotspot contains dozens of highly threatened animals (ranging from birds, to mammals and reptiles), fungi and plants. Examples of threatened animals include the Puerto Rican amazon, two species of solenodon (giant shrews) in Cuba and the Hispaniola island, and the Cuban crocodile.

Saona Island, Dominican Republic

The region's coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500–700 species of reef-associated fishes[51] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[52] 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.[53]

Some Caribbean islands have terrain that Europeans found suitable for cultivation for agriculture. Tobacco was an important early crop during the colonial era, but was eventually overtaken by sugarcane production as the region's staple crop. Sugar was produced from sugarcane for export to Europe. Cuba and Barbados were historically the largest producers of sugar. The tropical plantation system thus came to dominate Caribbean settlement. Other islands were found to have terrain unsuited for agriculture, for example Dominica, which remains heavily forested. The islands in the southern Lesser Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, are extremely arid, making them unsuitable for agriculture. However, they have salt pans that were exploited by the Dutch. Sea water was pumped into shallow ponds, producing coarse salt when the water evaporated.[54]

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.[55]

Plants and animals

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

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

  • A green and black poison frog, Dendrobates auratus

    A green and black poison frog, Dendrobates auratus

  • Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Guadeloupe.

    Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Guadeloupe

  • Costus speciosus, a marsh plant, Guadeloupe.

    Costus speciosus, a marsh plant, Guadeloupe

  • An Atlantic ghost crab (Ocypode quadrata) in Martinique.

    An Atlantic ghost crab (Ocypode quadrata) in Martinique

  • Crescentia cujete, or calabash fruit, Martinique.

    Crescentia cujete, or calabash fruit, Martinique

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Anastrepha suspensa, a Caribbean fruit fly.

    Anastrepha suspensa, a Caribbean fruit fly

  • Hemidactylus mabouia, a tropical gecko, in Dominica Edited by: Taniya Brooks.

    Hemidactylus mabouia, a tropical gecko, in Dominica. Edited by: Taniya Brooks


Indigenous groups

  • Arawak peoples
  • Caquetio people
  • Ciboney
  • Ciguayo
  • Garifuna
  • Kalina
  • Kalinago
  • Lucayan
  • Macorix
  • Raizal
A linen market in Dominica in the 1770s
Agostino Brunias. Free Women of Color with Their Children and Servants in a Landscape. Brooklyn Museum
Asian Indians in the late 19th century singing and dancing in Trinidad and Tobago
Street scene, Matanzas, Cuba

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Taíno of the Greater Antilles and northern Lesser Antilles, the Island Caribs of the southern Lesser Antilles, and smaller distinct groups such as the Guanajatabey of western Cuba and the Ciguayo of eastern Hispaniola. The population of the Caribbean is estimated to have been around 750,000 immediately before European contact, although lower and higher figures are given. After contact, social disruption and epidemic diseases such as smallpox and measles (to which they had no natural immunity)[56] led to a decline in the Amerindian population.[57] From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as enslaved Africans were brought from West Africa,[58] such as the Kongo, Igbo, Akan, Fon and Yoruba, as well as military prisoners from Ireland, who were deported during the Cromwellian reign in England.[citation needed] Immigrants from Britain, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark also arrived, although the mortality rate was high for both groups.[59]

The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.[60] Immigrants from India, China, Indonesia, and other countries arrived in the mid-19th century as indentured servants.[61] After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally.[62] The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.[63]

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

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

Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago

Jamaica has a large African majority, in addition to a significant population of mixed racial background, and has minorities of Chinese, Europeans, Indians, Latinos, Jews, and Arabs. This is a result of years of importation of slaves and indentured laborers, and migration. Most multi-racial Jamaicans refer to themselves as either mixed race or brown. Similar populations can be found in the Caricom states of Belize, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago has a multi-racial cosmopolitan society due to the arrivals of Africans, Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Jews, Latinos, and Europeans along with the 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, Mestizo, Pardo, Zambo, Dougla, Chindian, Afro-Asians, Eurasian, Cocoa panyols, and Asian Latinos.


Spanish (64%), French (25%), English (14%), Dutch, Haitian Creole, and Papiamento are the predominant official languages of various countries in the region, although a handful of unique creole languages or dialects can also be found in virtually every Caribbean country. Other languages such as Caribbean Hindustani, Chinese, Javanese, Arabic, Hmong, Amerindian languages, other African languages, other European languages, and other Indian languages can also be found.


Havana Cathedral (Catholic) in Cuba completed in 1777
Holy Trinity Cathedral, an Anglican Christian cathedral in Trinidad and Tobago
Temple in the Sea, a Hindu mandir in Trinidad and Tobago
Muhammad Ali Jinnah Memorial Masjid, a Muslim masjid in Trinidad and Tobago
A Jewish synagogue in Suriname
A Haitian Vodou alter

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).[64] Other religions in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion (incl. Taoism and Confucianism), Bahá'í, Jainism, Sikhism, Kebatinan, Traditional African religions, Yoruba (incl. Trinidad Orisha), Afro-American religions, (incl. Santería, Palo, Umbanda, Brujería, Hoodoo, Candomblé, Quimbanda, Orisha, Xangô de Recife, Xangô do Nordeste, Comfa, Espiritismo, Santo Daime, Obeah, Candomblé, Abakuá, Kumina, Winti, Sanse, Cuban Vodú, Dominican Vudú, Louisiana Voodoo, Haitian Vodou, and Vodun).



Flag of the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM)

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.[65] The current economic and political problems the states face individually are common to all Caribbean states. Regional development has contributed to attempts to subdue current problems and avoid projected problems. From a political and economic perspective, regionalism serves to make Caribbean states active participants in current international affairs through collective coalitions. In 1973, the first political regionalism in the Caribbean Basin was created by advances of the English-speaking Caribbean nations through the institution known as the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM)[66] 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."[67] 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."[68] These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations' desires to compete in the international economic system.[68]

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."[69] The lack of international support for these small, relatively poor states, helped regionalism prosper.

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

United States-EU trade dispute

The United States under President Bill Clinton launched a challenge in the World Trade Organization against the EU over Europe's preferential program, known as the Lomé Convention, which allowed banana exports from the former colonies of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply.[70] 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.[71]

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.[72]

Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lomé Convention weakens. Some farmers have faced increased pressure to turn towards the cultivation of illegal drugs, which has a higher profit margin and fills the sizable demand for these illegal drugs in North America and Europe.[73][74]

African Union relations

Many Caribbean nations have sought to deepen ties with the continent of Africa. The African Union-bloc has referred to the Caribbean as the potential "Sixth Region" of the African Union.[75] Some Caribbean states have already moved to join Africa institutions including Barbados which became a member of the African Export Import Bank.[76] And the Caribbean Development Bank signing a cooperation strategic partnership agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB)[77]

Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and Association of Caribbean States

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

Bolivarian Alliance

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez launched an economic group called the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which several eastern Caribbean islands joined. In 2012, the nation of Haiti, with 9 million people, became the largest CARICOM nation that sought to join the union.[78][better source needed]

Regional institutions

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


Favourite or national dishes

Doubles, one of the national dishes of Trinidad and Tobago
Arroz con gandules, one of the national dishes of Puerto Rico
  • Anguilla – rice, peas and fish
  • Antigua and Barbuda – fungee and pepperpot
  • Bahamas – Guava duff, Conch Salad, Peas n' Rice, and Conch Fritters
  • Barbados – cou-cou and flying fish
  • Belize – rice and beans, stew chicken with potato salad and white rice, stew beans and fry fish with cole slaw
  • British Virgin Islands – fish and fungee
  • Cayman Islands – turtle stew, turtle steak, grouper
  • Colombian Caribbean – rice with coconut milk, arroz con pollo, sancocho
  • Cuba – platillo Moros y Cristianos, ropa vieja, lechon, maduros, ajiaco
  • Dominica – mountain chicken, rice and peas, dumplings, saltfish, dashin, bakes (fried dumplings), coconut confiture, curry goat, cassava farine, oxtail
  • Dominican Republic – arroz con pollo with stewed red kidney beans, pan fried or braised beef, salad/ ensalada de coditos, empanadas, mangú, sancocho
  • Grenada – oil down, Roti and rice & chicken
  • Guyana – pepperpot, roti and curry, cookup rice, and metemgee
  • Haiti – griot (fried pork) served with du riz a pois or diri ak pwa (rice and beans)
  • Jamaica – ackee and saltfish, callaloo, jerk chicken, curry chicken, rice and peas
  • Montserrat – Goat water
  • 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, saltfish, breadfruit
  • Saint Lucia – callaloo, roti, dried and salted cod, green bananas, rice and peas
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish
  • Suriname – pom, roti and curry, peanut soup, nasi goreng, moksi alesi, bara
  • Trinidad and Tobago – doubles, callaloo, pelau, curry with roti, bake and shark, curry crab and dumpling (Tobago)
  • United States Virgin Islands – stewed goat, seasoned rice (rice and peas), callaloo, fungee

See also

  • mapCaribbean portal
  • iconGeography portal
  • iconIslands portal
  • mapNorth America portal



  1. ^ a b c d e f Sometimes included.
  2. ^ The Lucayan Archipelago is sometimes excluded from the definition of the "Caribbean" and instead classified as a part of North Atlantic; this is primarily a geological rather than cultural or political distinction.
  3. ^ The Lucayan Archipelago is excluded from some definitions of "Caribbean" and instead classified as Atlantic; this is primarily a geological rather than cultural or environmental distinction.


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  7. ^ Hillman, Richard S.; D'Agostino, Thomas J., eds. (2003). Understanding the contemporary Caribbean. London, UK: Lynne Rienner. ISBN 978-1588266637. OCLC 300280211.
  8. ^ See the list of Caribbean islands.
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  60. ^ Engerman, Figure 11.1.
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  62. ^ Engerman, pp. 504, 511.
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  73. ^ "World: Americas St Vincent hit by banana war". BBC News. 1999-03-13. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
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  75. ^ African Union 6th Region Diaspora Headquarters to be established in Accompong, Jamaica, 24 January 2018.
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  • Engerman, Stanley L. "A Population History of the Caribbean", pp. 483–528 in A Population History of North America Michael R. Haines and Richard Hall Steckel (Eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-521-49666-7.
  • Hillman, Richard S., and Thomas J. D'agostino, eds. Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean, London: Lynne Rienner, 2003 ISBN 1-58826-663-X.

Further reading

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

External links

Caribbean at Wikipedia's sister projects
  • Definitions from Wiktionary
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  • Texts from Wikisource
  • Textbooks from Wikibooks
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  • Resources from Wikiversity
  • Caribbean at Curlie
  • 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)
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Earth's primary regions and subregions
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Regions of Africa
  • Guinea region
    • Gulf of Guinea
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Regions of Asia
(The 'stans)
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  • Gulf of Tonkin
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may include:
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N.B.: Territories in italics are parts of transregional sovereign states or non-sovereign dependencies.

^These three form the SSS islands that with the ABC islands comprise the Dutch Caribbean, of which *the BES islands are not direct Kingdom constituents but subsumed with the country of the Netherlands.

Physiographically, these continental islands are not part of the volcanic Windward Islands arc, although sometimes grouped with them culturally and politically.

ǂDisputed territories administered by Guyana. ~Disputed territories administered by Colombia.

#Bermuda is an isolated North Atlantic oceanic island, physiographically not part of the Lucayan Archipelago, Antilles, Caribbean Sea nor North American continental nor South American continental islands. It is grouped with the Northern American region, but occasionally also with the Caribbean region culturally.
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