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The Official Tourism Website of the Caribbean …

Explore the beauty of the Caribbean

You know you’ve hit the all-inclusive bullseye when the resort you’ve checked into is next to another one and there are exchange privileges between the two more

With unlimited eating and drinking the hallmark of a one-price holiday, you can amp up the all-inclusive meter by sniffing out add-ons with no price tag. more

There are weddings and then there are really great weddings. Say I Do at a sugar plantation, on an antique sugar train or under the waves in scuba gear. more

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The Official Tourism Website of the Caribbean …

Caribbean – Wikipedia

CaribbeanArea2,754,000km2 (1,063,000sqmi)Land area239,681km2 (92,541sqmi)Population (2016)43,601,839[1]Density151.5/km2 (392/sqmi)Ethnic groupsAfro-Caribbean, European, Indo-Caribbean, Latino or Hispanic (Spanish, Portuguese, Mestizo, Mulatto, Pardo, and Zambo), Chinese Caribbean, Jewish, Arab, Javanese,[2] Amerindian, MultiracialReligionsChristianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Rastafarianism, Native American religion, Yoruba, Bah’ Faith, Chinese folk religion (including Taoism and Confucianism), Kebatinan, Afro-American religion, Traditional African religion, and othersDemonymCaribbean, West IndianLanguagesSpanish, English, French, Dutch, French Creoles, English Creoles, Caribbean Hindustani, among othersGovernment13 sovereign states17 dependent territoriesLargest citiesList of metropolitan areas in the West IndiesSanto DomingoHavanaPort-au-PrinceSan JuanKingstonSantiago de CubaSantiago de los CaballerosCamageyCap-HatienSpanish TownChaguanasGeorgetownParamariboInternet TLDMultipleCalling codeMultipleTime zoneUTC-5 to UTC-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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), Curaao, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, the Bahamas, and Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Saint Martin, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago.

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

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

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

The climate of the area is tropical to subtropical in Cuba, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist trade winds blow consistently from the east creating rain forest /semi desert divisions on mountainous islands. Occasional north westerlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons, with the latter six months of the year being wetter than the first half.

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.

Water temperatures vary from 31C (88F) to 22C (72F) all around the year. The air temperature is warm, in the 20s and 30s C (70s, 80s and 90s F) during the year, only varies from winter to summer about 25 degrees on the southern islands and about 1020 degrees difference can occur in 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 12N

Puerto Rico: Latitude 18N

Cuba: at Latitude 22N

Lucayan Archipelago[a]

Greater Antilles

Lesser Antilles

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

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

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

Islands in and near the Caribbean

Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations

The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their 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 cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world’s coral reefs[30] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[31] 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.[32] That checklist includes more than 11250 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.[33] 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;[34] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[35] for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[36] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[37]

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.[38] 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.

The region’s coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500700 species of reef-associated fishes[39] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[40] 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.[41]

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 Curaao, 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.[42]

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.[43]

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

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Tano 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)[44] led to a decline in the Amerindian population.[45] From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa[46] 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.[47]

The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.[48] Immigrants from India, China, Indonesia, and other countries arrived in the mid-19th century as indentured servants.[49] After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally.[50] The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.[51]

The majority of the Caribbean has populations of mainly Africans in the French Caribbean, Anglophone Caribbean and Dutch Caribbean, there are minorities of mixed-race (including Mulatto-Creole, Dougla, Mestizo, Quadroon, Cholo, Castizo, Criollo, Zambo, Pardo, Asian Latin Americans, Chindian, Cocoa panyols, and Eurasian); and European people of Spanish, Dutch, English, French, Italian, and Portuguese ancestry. Asians, especially those of Chinese, Indian descent, and Javenese Indonesians, form a significant minority in the region and also contribute to multiracial communities. Indians form a majority 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 have primarily mixed race, African, or European majorities. 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 with small but growing African population. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans, and Amerindians.

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

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

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).[52] Other religious groups in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion (Taoism and Confucianism), Bah’, Jainism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Kebatinan, Traditional African religions, Afro-American religions, Yoruba (Santera, Trinidad Orisha, Palo, Umbanda, Brujera, Hoodoo, Candombl, Quimbanda, Orisha, Xang de Recife, Xang do Nordeste, Comfa, Espiritismo, Santo Daime, Obeah, Candombl, Abaku, Kumina, Winti, Sanse, Cuban Vod, Dominican Vud, Louisiana Voodoo, Haitian Vodou, and Vodun).

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.[53] 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)[54] 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.”[55] 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.”[56] These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations’ desires to compete in the international economic system.[56]

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.”[57] 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]

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 Lom Convention, which allowed banana exports from the former colonies of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply.[58] 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.[59]

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.[60]

Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lom 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.[61][62]

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.

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.[63]

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

Coordinates: 143132N 754906W / 14.52556N 75.81833W / 14.52556; -75.81833

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Caribbean – Wikipedia

Caribbean Sea – Wikipedia

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

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

The Caribbean Sea has the world’s second biggest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It runs 1,000km (620mi) along the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.[3]

Contents

The name “Caribbean” derives from the Caribs, one of the region’s dominant Native American groups at the time of European contact during the late 15th century. After the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Spanish term Antillas applied to the lands; stemming from this, “Sea of the Antilles” became a common alternative name for “Caribbean Sea” in various European languages. During the first century of development, Spanish dominance in the region remained undisputed.

From the 16th century, Europeans visiting the Caribbean region identified the “South Sea” (the Pacific Ocean, to the south of the isthmus of Panama) as opposed to the “North Sea” (the Caribbean Sea, to the north of the same isthmus).[4]

The Caribbean Sea had been unknown to the populations of Eurasia until 1492, when Christopher Columbus sailed into Caribbean waters on a quest to find a sea route to Asia. At that time the Western Hemisphere in general was unknown to most Europeans, although it had been discovered between the years 800 and 1000 by the vikings. Following the discovery of the islands by Columbus, the area was quickly colonized by several Western cultures (initially Spain, then later England, the Dutch Republic, France, Courland and Denmark). Following the colonization of the Caribbean islands, the Caribbean Sea became a busy area for European-based marine trading and transports, and this commerce eventually attracted pirates such as Samuel Bellamy and Blackbeard.

As of 2015[update] the area is home to 22 island territories and borders 12 continental countries.

The Caribbean Sea is an oceanic sea largely situated on the Caribbean Plate. The Caribbean Sea is separated from the ocean by several island arcs of various ages. The youngest stretches from the Lesser Antilles to the Virgin Islands to the north east of Trinidad and Tobago off the coast of Venezuela. This arc was formed by the collision of the South American Plate with the Caribbean Plate and includes active and extinct volcanoes such as Mount Pelee, the Quill (volcano) on Sint Eustatius in the Caribbean Netherlands and Morne Trois Pitons on Dominica. The larger islands in the northern part of the sea Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico lie on an older island arc.

The geological age of the Caribbean Sea is estimated to be between 160 and 180million years and was formed by a horizontal fracture that split the supercontinent called Pangea in the Mesozoic Era.[6] It is assumed the proto-caribbean basin existed in the Devonian period. In the early Carboniferous movement of Gondwana to the north and its convergence with the Euramerica basin decreased in size. The next stage of the Caribbean Sea’s formation began in the Triassic. Powerful rifting led to the formation of narrow troughs, stretching from modern Newfoundland to the west coast of the Gulf of Mexico which formed siliciclastic sedimentary rocks. In the early Jurassic due to powerful marine transgression, water broke into the present area of the Gulf of Mexico creating a vast shallow pool. The emergence of deep basins in the Caribbean occurred during the Middle Jurassic rifting. The emergence of these basins marked the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean and contributed to the destruction of Pangaea at the end of the late Jurassic. During the Cretaceous the Caribbean acquired the shape close to that seen today. In the early Paleogene due to Marine regression the Caribbean became separated from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean by the land of Cuba and Haiti. The Caribbean remained like this for most of the Cenozoic until the Holocene when rising water levels of the oceans restored communication with the Atlantic Ocean.

The Caribbean’s floor is composed of sub-oceanic sediments of deep red clay in the deep basins and troughs. On continental slopes and ridges calcareous silts are found. Clay minerals likely having been deposited by the mainland river Orinoco and the Magdalena River. Deposits on the bottom of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have a thickness of about 1km (0.62mi). Upper sedimentary layers relate to the period from the Mesozoic to the Cenozoic (250million years ago to present) and the lower layers from the Paleozoic to the Mesozoic.

The Caribbean sea floor is divided into five basins separated from each other by underwater ridges and mountain ranges. Atlantic Ocean water enters the Caribbean through the Anegada Passage lying between the Lesser Antilles and Virgin Islands and the Windward Passage located between Cuba and Haiti. The Yucatn Channel between Mexico and Cuba links the Gulf of Mexico with the Caribbean. The deepest points of the sea lie in Cayman Trough with depths reaching approximately 7,686m (25,220ft). Despite this, the Caribbean Sea is considered a relatively shallow sea in comparison to other bodies of water.

The pressure of the South American Plate to the east of the Caribbean causes the region of the Lesser Antilles to have high volcanic activity. There was a very serious eruption of Mount Pele in 1902 which caused many casualties.

The Caribbean sea floor is also home to two oceanic trenches: the Cayman Trench and Puerto Rico Trench, which put the area at a high risk of earthquakes. Underwater earthquakes pose a threat of generating tsunamis which could have a devastating effect on the Caribbean islands. Scientific data reveals that over the last 500 years the area has seen a dozen earthquakes above 7.5 magnitude.[9] Most recently, a 7.1 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010.

The hydrology of the sea has a high level of homogeneity. Annual variations in monthly average water temperatures at the surface do not exceed 3C (5.4F). Over the past fifty years the Caribbean has gone through three stages: cooling until 1974; a cold phase with peaks during 19741976 and 19841986 then; a warming phase with an increase in temperature of 0.6C (1.1F) per year. Virtually all temperature extremes were associated with the phenomena of El Nio and La Nia. The salinity of seawater is about 3.6% and its density is 1,023.51,024.0kg/m3 (63.9063.93lb/cuft). The surface water colour is blue-green to green.

The Caribbean’s depth in its wider basins and deep water temperatures are similar to those of the Atlantic. Atlantic deep water is thought to spill into the Caribbean and contribute to the general deep water of its sea.[10] The surface water (30 feet; 100 m) acts as an extension of the northern Atlantic as the Guiana Current and part of the North Equatorial Current enter the sea on the east. On the western side of the sea the trade winds influence a northerly current which causes an upwelling and a rich fishery near Yucatn.[11]

The Caribbean is home to about 9% of the world’s coral reefs covering about 50,000km2 (19,000sqmi), most of which are located off the Caribbean Islands and the Central American coast.[12] Among them stands out the Belize Barrier Reef with an area of 963km2 (372sqmi) which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. It forms part of the Great Mayan Reef also known as the MBRS and being over 1,000km (600mi) in length is the world’s second longest. It runs along the Caribbean coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

During the past ten years,[when?] unusually warm Caribbean waters have been increasingly threatening Caribbean coral reefs. Coral reefs support some of the most diverse marine habitats in the world, but they are fragile ecosystems. When tropical waters become unusually warm for extended periods of time, microscopic plants called zooxanthellae, which are symbiotic partners living within the coral polyp tissues, die off. These plants provide food for the corals, and give them their color. The result of the death and dispersal of these tiny plants is called coral bleaching, and can lead to the devastation of large areas of reef. Over 42% of corals are completely bleached and 95% are experiencing some type of whitening.[13] Historically the Caribbean is thought to contain 14% of the world’s coral reefs.[14]

The habitats supported by the reefs are critical to such tourist activities as fishing and diving, and provide an annual economic value to Caribbean nations of US$3.14.6billion. Continued destruction of the reefs could severely damage the region’s economy.[15] A Protocol of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region came in effect in 1986 to protect the various endangered marine life of the Caribbean through forbidding human activities that would advance the continued destruction of such marine life in various areas. Currently this protocol has been ratified by 15 countries.[16] Also, several charitable organisations have been formed to preserve the Caribbean marine life, such as Caribbean Conservation Corporation which seeks to study and protect sea turtles while educating others about them.[17]

In connection with the foregoing, the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, conducted a regional study, funded by the Department of Technical Cooperation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in which specialists from 11 Latin American countries (Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, Venezuela plus Jamaica) participated. The findings indicate that heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, and lead, have been identified in the coastal zone of the Caribbean Sea. Analysis of toxic metals and hydrocarbons is based on the investigation of coastal sediments that have accumulated less than 50 meters deep during the last hundred and fifty years. The project results were presented in Vienna in the forum “Water Matters”, and the 2011 General Conference of said multilateral organization.[18]

The Caribbean weather is influenced by the Gulf Stream and Humboldt Current ocean currents.[20] The tropical location of the sea helps the water to maintain a warm temperature ranging from the low of 2126C (7079F) by the season.

The Caribbean is a focal area for many hurricanes within the Western Hemisphere. A series of low pressure systems develop off the West coast of Africa and make their way across the Atlantic Ocean. While most of these systems do not become tropical storms, some do. The tropical storms can develop into Atlantic hurricanes, often in the low pressure areas of the eastern Caribbean. The Caribbean hurricane season as a whole lasts from June through November, with the majority of hurricanes occurring during August and September. On average around 9 tropical storms form each year, with 5 reaching hurricane strength. According to the National Hurricane Center 385 hurricanes occurred in the Caribbean between 1494 and 1900.

Every year hurricanes represent a potential threat to the islands of the Caribbean, due to the extremely destructive nature of these powerful weather systems. Coral reefs can easily be damaged by violent wave action, and can be destroyed when a hurricane dumps sand or mud onto a reef. When this happens, the coral organisms are smothered and the reef dies and ultimately breaks apart.

The region has a high level of biodiversity and many species are endemic to the Caribbean.

The vegetation of the region is mostly tropical but differences in topography, soil and climatic conditions increase species diversity. Where there are porous limestone terraced islands these are generally poor in nutrients. It is estimated that 13,000 species of plants grow in the Caribbean of which 6,500 are endemic. For example, guaiac wood (Guaiacum officinale), the flower of which is the national flower of Jamaica and the Bayahibe rose (Pereskia quisqueyana) which is the national flower of the Dominican Republic and the ceiba which is the national tree of both Puerto Rico and Guatemala. The mahogany is the national tree of the Dominican Republic and Belize. The caimito (Chrysophyllum cainito) grows throughout the Caribbean. In coastal zones there are coconut palms and in lagoons and estuaries are found thick areas of black mangrove and red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle).

In shallow water flora and fauna is concentrated around coral reefs where there is little variation in water temperature, purity and salinity. Leeward side of lagoons provide areas of growth for sea grasses. Turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) is common in the Caribbean as is manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme) which can grow together as well as in fields of single species at depths up to 20m (66ft). Another type shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) grows on sand and mud surfaces at depths of up to 5m (16ft). In brackish water of harbours and estuaries at depths less than 2.5m (8ft 2in) widgeongrass (Ruppia maritima) grows. Representatives of three species belonging to the genus Halophila, (Halophila baillonii, Halophila engelmannii and Halophila decipiens) are found at depths of up to 30m (98ft) except for Halophila engelmani which does not grow below 5m (16ft) and is confined to the Bahamas, Florida, the Greater Antilles and the western part of the Caribbean. Halophila baillonii has been found only in the Lesser Antilles.[21]

Marine biota in the region have representatives of both the Indian and Pacific oceans which were caught in the Caribbean before the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama four million years ago.[22] In the Caribbean Sea there are around 1,000 documented species of fish, including sharks (bull shark, tiger shark, silky shark and Caribbean reef shark), flying fish, giant oceanic manta ray, angel fish, spotfin butterflyfish, parrotfish, Atlantic Goliath grouper, tarpon and moray eels. Throughout the Caribbean there is industrial catching of lobster and sardines (off the coast of Yucatn Peninsula).

There are 90 species of mammals in the Caribbean including sperm whales, humpback whales and dolphins. The island of Jamaica is home to seals and manatees. The Caribbean monk seal which lived in the Caribbean is considered extinct. The solenodon is endangered.

There are 500 species of reptiles (94% of which are endemic). Islands are inhabited by some endemic species such as rock iguanas and American crocodile. The blue iguana, endemic to the island of Grand Cayman, is endangered. The green iguana is invasive to Grand Cayman. The Mona ground iguana which inhabits the island of Mona, Puerto Rico, is endangered. The rhinoceros iguana from the island of Hispaniola which is shared between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is also endangered. The region has several types of sea turtle (loggerhead, green turtle, hawksbill, leatherback turtle, Atlantic ridley and olive ridley). Some species are threatened with extinction.[23] Their populations have been greatly reduced since the 17th century the number of green turtles has declined from 91million to 300,000 and hawksbill turtles from 11million to less than 30,000 by 2006.[24]

All 170 species of amphibians that live in the region are endemic. The habitats of almost all members of the toad family, poison dart frogs, tree frogs and leptodactylidae (a type of frog) are limited to only one island.[25] The Golden coqui is in serious threat of extinction.

In the Caribbean 600 species of birds have been recorded of which 163 are endemic such as the tody, Fernandina’s flicker and palmchat. The American yellow warbler is found in many areas as is the green heron. Of the endemic species 48 are threatened with extinction including the Puerto Rican amazon, yellow-breasted crake and the Zapata wren. According to Birdlife International in 2006 in Cuba 29 species of bird are in danger of extinction and two species officially extinct.[26] The black-fronted piping guan is endangered as is the plain pigeon. The Antilles along with Central America lie in the flight path of migrating birds from North America so the size of populations is subject to seasonal fluctuations. In the forests are found parrots, bananaquit and toucans. Over the open sea can be seen frigatebirds and tropicbirds.

The Caribbean region has seen a significant increase in human activity since the colonization period. The sea is one of the largest oil production areas in the world, producing approximately 170million tons[clarification needed] per year.[27] The area also generates a large fishing industry for the surrounding countries, accounting for 500,000 tonnes (490,000 long tons; 550,000 short tons) of fish a year.[28]

Human activity in the area also accounts for a significant amount of pollution, The Pan American Health Organization estimated in 1993 that only about 10% of the sewage from the Central American and Caribbean Island countries is properly treated before being released into the sea.[27]

The Caribbean region supports a large tourism industry. The Caribbean Tourism Organization calculates that about 12million people a year visit the area, including (in 19911992) about 8million cruise ship tourists. Tourism based upon scuba diving and snorkeling on coral reefs of many Caribbean islands makes a major contribution to their economies.[29]

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Caribbean Sea – Wikipedia

The Official Tourism Website of the Caribbean …

Explore the beauty of the Caribbean

With unlimited eating and drinking the hallmark of a one-price holiday, you can amp up the all-inclusive meter by sniffing out add-ons with no price tag. more

There are weddings and then there are really great weddings. Say I Do at a sugar plantation, on an antique sugar train or under the waves in scuba gear. more

The largest of the Leeward Islands, Antigua is adored for 365 sandy beaches, big yachts, small sailboats, fine dining and resorts at the water’s edge. more

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Caribbean – Wikipedia

CaribbeanArea2,754,000km2 (1,063,000sqmi)Land area239,681km2 (92,541sqmi)Population (2016)43,601,839[1]Density151.5/km2 (392/sqmi)Ethnic groupsAfro-Caribbean, European, Indo-Caribbean, Latino or Hispanic (Spanish, Portuguese, Mestizo, Mulatto, Pardo, and Zambo), Chinese Caribbean, Jewish, Arab, Javanese,[2] Amerindian, MultiracialReligionsChristianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Rastafarianism, Native American religion, Yoruba, Bah’ Faith, Chinese folk religion (including Taoism and Confucianism), Kebatinan, Afro-American religion, Traditional African religion, and othersDemonymCaribbean, West IndianLanguagesSpanish, English, French, Dutch, French Creoles, English Creoles, Caribbean Hindustani, among othersGovernment13 sovereign states17 dependent territoriesLargest citiesList of metropolitan areas in the West IndiesSanto DomingoHavanaPort-au-PrinceSan JuanKingstonSantiago de CubaSantiago de los CaballerosCamageyCap-HatienSpanish TownChaguanasGeorgetownParamariboInternet TLDMultipleCalling codeMultipleTime zoneUTC-5 to UTC-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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), Curaao, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, the Bahamas, and Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Saint Martin, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago.

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

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

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

The climate of the area is tropical to subtropical in Cuba, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist trade winds blow consistently from the east creating rain forest /semi desert divisions on mountainous islands. Occasional north westerlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons, with the latter six months of the year being wetter than the first half.

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.

Water temperatures vary from 31C (88F) to 22C (72F) all around the year. The air temperature is warm, in the 20s and 30s C (70s, 80s and 90s F) during the year, only varies from winter to summer about 25 degrees on the southern islands and about 1020 degrees difference can occur in 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 12N

Puerto Rico: Latitude 18N

Cuba: at Latitude 22N

Lucayan Archipelago[a]

Greater Antilles

Lesser Antilles

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

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

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

Islands in and near the Caribbean

Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations

The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their 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 cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world’s coral reefs[30] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[31] 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.[32] That checklist includes more than 11250 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.[33] 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;[34] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[35] for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[36] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[37]

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.[38] 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.

The region’s coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500700 species of reef-associated fishes[39] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[40] 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.[41]

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 Curaao, 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.[42]

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.[43]

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

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Tano 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)[44] led to a decline in the Amerindian population.[45] From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa[46] 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.[47]

The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.[48] Immigrants from India, China, Indonesia, and other countries arrived in the mid-19th century as indentured servants.[49] After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally.[50] The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.[51]

The majority of the Caribbean has populations of mainly Africans in the French Caribbean, Anglophone Caribbean and Dutch Caribbean, there are minorities of mixed-race (including Mulatto-Creole, Dougla, Mestizo, Quadroon, Cholo, Castizo, Criollo, Zambo, Pardo, Asian Latin Americans, Chindian, Cocoa panyols, and Eurasian); and European people of Spanish, Dutch, English, French, Italian, and Portuguese ancestry. Asians, especially those of Chinese, Indian descent, and Javenese Indonesians, form a significant minority in the region and also contribute to multiracial communities. Indians form a majority 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 have primarily mixed race, African, or European majorities. 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 with small but growing African population. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans, and Amerindians.

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

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

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).[52] Other religious groups in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion (Taoism and Confucianism), Bah’, Jainism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Kebatinan, Traditional African religions, Afro-American religions, Yoruba (Santera, Trinidad Orisha, Palo, Umbanda, Brujera, Hoodoo, Candombl, Quimbanda, Orisha, Xang de Recife, Xang do Nordeste, Comfa, Espiritismo, Santo Daime, Obeah, Candombl, Abaku, Kumina, Winti, Sanse, Cuban Vod, Dominican Vud, Louisiana Voodoo, Haitian Vodou, and Vodun).

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.[53] 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)[54] 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.”[55] 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.”[56] These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations’ desires to compete in the international economic system.[56]

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.”[57] 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]

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 Lom Convention, which allowed banana exports from the former colonies of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply.[58] 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.[59]

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.[60]

Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lom 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.[61][62]

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.

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.[63]

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

Coordinates: 143132N 754906W / 14.52556N 75.81833W / 14.52556; -75.81833

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Caribbean – Wikipedia

Caribbean Cruises | Caribbean Vacations | Carnival Cruise Line

We dont have proof, but evidence suggests that the Caribbean was made for cruising. This evidence is all around you youll find in the Caribbean air, the sand and the water. And with more than 5,000 islands and cays spread across this amazing region, theres a lot of paradise to see. So how do you choose where to visit on a Caribbean cruise? We recommend you just go and see for yourself! Best of all, the mild climate means it doesnt even matter what time of year you go. A Carnival Caribbean cruise takes you to some of the coolest little hotspots stretching across the worlds designated hotspot.

Read the original:

Caribbean Cruises | Caribbean Vacations | Carnival Cruise Line

The Official Tourism Website of the Caribbean …

Explore the beauty of the Caribbean

With unlimited eating and drinking the hallmark of a one-price holiday, you can amp up the all-inclusive meter by sniffing out add-ons with no price tag. more

There are weddings and then there are really great weddings. Say I Do at a sugar plantation, on an antique sugar train or under the waves in scuba gear. more

The largest of the Leeward Islands, Antigua is adored for 365 sandy beaches, big yachts, small sailboats, fine dining and resorts at the water’s edge. more

See the original post:

The Official Tourism Website of the Caribbean …

Caribbean Map / Map of the Caribbean – Maps and …

The Caribbean, long referred to as theWest Indies, includes more than 7,000 islands; of those, 13 are independent island countries (shown in red on the map), and some are dependencies or overseas territories of other nations.

In addition, that large number includes islets (very small rocky islands); cay’s (small, low islands composed largely of coral or sand) and a few inhabited reefs: See Belize.

In geographical terms the Caribbean area includes the Caribbean Sea and all of the islands located to the southeast of the Gulf of Mexico, east of Central America and Mexico, and to the north of South America. Some of its counted cay’s, islands, islets and inhabited reefs front the handful of countries that border the region.

TheBahamas and Turks and Caicos are not considered a part of the Caribbean, however, we show them here because of their cultural, geographical and political associations with the Greater Antilles and other Caribbean Islands.

At the beginning of the 15th century the population of the Caribbean was estimated to be nearly 900,000 indigenous people immediately before European contact.

Then in 1492, Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer began his exploration of the Caribbean, becoming the firstEuropean to venture into the area.

After reportedly landing in the eastern Bahamas, Columbus named these islands theIndies, because he thought he had finally reached Asia (and the East Indies).

Numerous explorers followed in his path, then tens of thousands of settlers arrived from the Americas, China, European countries and India. Included in that mix were religious outcasts and a small army of pirates.

Across the Caribbean, slaves fromAfrica were imported in great numbers to work the sugar and tobacco plantations.

By then the indigenous populations of the islands were in severe decline as exposure to disease and brutal genocide wiped out much of their number.

Great military powers continually fought for control of the islands, and finally, a blended mix of African andEuropean cultures and languages transformed this large group of islands and its peoples into one of the premier tourist destinations on the planet.

Long called theWest Indies, the overall area is now commonly referred to as the Caribbean, a name that became popular after World War II.

Over the last few decades legions of travelers have journeyed to the Caribbean to enjoy the amenities. They frequently arrive in cruise ships that sail in and out, from ports in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Overall the Caribbean is a magical place of palm trees, white sand beaches, turquoise waters and sunshine, all blessed with a climate that consistently offers a much-needed break for those stuck in the cold weather doldrums of the north.

If you haven’t been, you should, and if you’ve been here more than once, you will come again, as these islands, these beach-ringed, jungle-covered rocks are home to thousands of historical surprises and activities galore.

So come wiggle you toes in the sand, and eat and sleep under the stars in the Caribbean.You won’t be disappointed.

Read the rest here:

Caribbean Map / Map of the Caribbean – Maps and …

Caribbean Cruises | Caribbean Vacations | Carnival Cruise Line

We dont have proof, but evidence suggests that the Caribbean was made for cruising. This evidence is all around you youll find in the Caribbean air, the sand and the water. And with more than 5,000 islands and cays spread across this amazing region, theres a lot of paradise to see. So how do you choose where to visit on a Caribbean cruise? We recommend you just go and see for yourself! Best of all, the mild climate means it doesnt even matter what time of year you go. A Carnival Caribbean cruise takes you to some of the coolest little hotspots stretching across the worlds designated hotspot.

Read more:

Caribbean Cruises | Caribbean Vacations | Carnival Cruise Line

Caribbean travel – Lonely Planet

A Caribbean Mosaic

The Caribbean is a joyous mosaic of islands beckoning paradise-hunters, an explosion of color, fringed by beaches and soaked in rum. Its a lively and intoxicating profusion of people and places spread over 7000 islands (fewer than 10% are inhabited). But, for all they share, theres also much that makes them different. Can there be a greater contrast than between bustling Barbados and its neighbor, the seemingly unchanged-since-colonial-times St Vincent? Revolutionary Cuba and its next-door banking capital, the Caymans? Or between booming British-oriented St Kitts and its sleepy, Dutch-affiliated neighbor Sint Eustatius, just across a narrow channel?

Azure seas, white beaches, green forests so vivid they actually hurt the eyes there is nothing subtle about the landscapes of the Caribbean. Swim below the waters for a color chart of darting fish and corals. Feel the sand between your toes at any one of a thousand picture-perfect beaches. Hike into emerald wilderness and spot the accents of red orchids and yellow parrots. Outdoor-adventure enthusiasts make a beeline for unspoilt islands such as nature-lovers Dominica and St Lucias iconic lush Piton mountains, which send out a siren call to climbers.

The tropical sunlight is infectious. Like birds shedding dull adolescent plumage, visitors leave their wardrobes of gray and black behind when they step off the plane and don the Caribbean palette. Even the food is colorful, with rainbows of produce brightening up the local markets. Youll also see every hue at intense, costume-filled festivities like Carnival, celebrated throughout the region but particularly in Trinidad. Glorious crumbling Cuba, reggae-rolling Jamaica and Vodou-loving Haiti top the wish lists for travelers seeking unique cultural experiences and Unesco heritage havens.

You can find any kind of island adventure here. With so many islands, beaches, cultures, flavors and waves to choose from, how could this not be vacation paradise? You can do nothing on the sand, party at a resort, explore a new community, hop between islands, discover wonders under the water or catch a perfect wave above, revel in a centuries-old culture (and sway to some of the world’s greatest music while you’re at it), and then run off to find your inner pirate Just about anything is possible in the Caribbean.

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Caribbean travel – Lonely Planet

The Official Tourism Website of the Caribbean …

Explore the beauty of the Caribbean

There are weddings and then there are really great weddings. Say I Do at a sugar plantation, on an antique sugar train or under the waves in scuba gear. more

The largest of the Leeward Islands, Antigua is adored for 365 sandy beaches, big yachts, small sailboats, fine dining and resorts at the water’s edge. more

Thirty minutes as the gull flies from Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a strand of 32 islands strung like a necklace across the Caribbean Sea. more

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The Official Tourism Website of the Caribbean …

Caribbean Map / Map of the Caribbean – Maps and …

The Caribbean, long referred to as theWest Indies, includes more than 7,000 islands; of those, 13 are independent island countries (shown in red on the map), and some are dependencies or overseas territories of other nations.

In addition, that large number includes islets (very small rocky islands); cay’s (small, low islands composed largely of coral or sand) and a few inhabited reefs: See Belize.

In geographical terms the Caribbean area includes the Caribbean Sea and all of the islands located to the southeast of the Gulf of Mexico, east of Central America and Mexico, and to the north of South America. Some of its counted cay’s, islands, islets and inhabited reefs front the handful of countries that border the region.

TheBahamas and Turks and Caicos are not considered a part of the Caribbean, however, we show them here because of their cultural, geographical and political associations with the Greater Antilles and other Caribbean Islands.

At the beginning of the 15th century the population of the Caribbean was estimated to be nearly 900,000 indigenous people immediately before European contact.

Then in 1492, Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer began his exploration of the Caribbean, becoming the firstEuropean to venture into the area.

After reportedly landing in the eastern Bahamas, Columbus named these islands theIndies, because he thought he had finally reached Asia (and the East Indies).

Numerous explorers followed in his path, then tens of thousands of settlers arrived from the Americas, China, European countries and India. Included in that mix were religious outcasts and a small army of pirates.

Across the Caribbean, slaves fromAfrica were imported in great numbers to work the sugar and tobacco plantations.

By then the indigenous populations of the islands were in severe decline as exposure to disease and brutal genocide wiped out much of their number.

Great military powers continually fought for control of the islands, and finally, a blended mix of African andEuropean cultures and languages transformed this large group of islands and its peoples into one of the premier tourist destinations on the planet.

Long called theWest Indies, the overall area is now commonly referred to as the Caribbean, a name that became popular after World War II.

Over the last few decades legions of travelers have journeyed to the Caribbean to enjoy the amenities. They frequently arrive in cruise ships that sail in and out, from ports in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Overall the Caribbean is a magical place of palm trees, white sand beaches, turquoise waters and sunshine, all blessed with a climate that consistently offers a much-needed break for those stuck in the cold weather doldrums of the north.

If you haven’t been, you should, and if you’ve been here more than once, you will come again, as these islands, these beach-ringed, jungle-covered rocks are home to thousands of historical surprises and activities galore.

So come wiggle you toes in the sand, and eat and sleep under the stars in the Caribbean.You won’t be disappointed.

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Caribbean Map / Map of the Caribbean – Maps and …

Caribbean Cruises | Caribbean Vacations | Carnival Cruise Line

We dont have proof, but evidence suggests that the Caribbean was made for cruising. This evidence is all around you youll find in the Caribbean air, the sand and the water. And with more than 5,000 islands and cays spread across this amazing region, theres a lot of paradise to see. So how do you choose where to visit on a Caribbean cruise? We recommend you just go and see for yourself! Best of all, the mild climate means it doesnt even matter what time of year you go. A Carnival Caribbean cruise takes you to some of the coolest little hotspots stretching across the worlds designated hotspot.

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Caribbean Cruises | Caribbean Vacations | Carnival Cruise Line

The Official Tourism Website of the Caribbean …

Explore the beauty of the Caribbean

Organized by the Martinique Tourism Authority (MTA), the Martinique Flying Regatta will take place from November 17 to 24, 2018 more

A summer vacation in the Caribbean is easier on the wallet and a great way to audition an island before spending the big bucks for a winter vacation. more

Ewald Biemans, founder and CEO of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba, is a man on a mission. more

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Caribbean – Wikipedia

CaribbeanArea2,754,000km2 (1,063,000sqmi)Land area239,681km2 (92,541sqmi)Population (2016)43,601,839[1]Density151.5/km2 (392/sqmi)Ethnic groupsAfro-Caribbean, European, Indo-Caribbean, Latino or Hispanic (Spanish, Portuguese, Mestizo, Mulatto, Pardo, and Zambo), Chinese Caribbean, Jewish, Arab, Javanese,[2] Amerindian, MultiracialReligionsChristianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Rastafarianism, Amerindian Religion, Yoruba, Bah’, Chinese folk religion (including Taoism and Confucianism), Kebatinan, Afro-American religion, Traditional African Religion, and othersDemonymCaribbean, West IndianLanguagesSpanish, English, French, Dutch, French Creoles, English Creoles, Caribbean Hindustani, among othersGovernment13 sovereign states17 dependent territoriesLargest citiesList of metropolitan areas in the West IndiesSanto DomingoHavanaPort-au-PrinceSan JuanKingstonSantiago de CubaSantiago de los CaballerosCamageyCap-HatienSpanish TownChaguanasGeorgetownParamariboInternet TLDMultipleCalling codeMultipleTime zoneUTC-5 to UTC-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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), Curacao, 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, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago.

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

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

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

The climate of the area is tropical to subtropical in Cuba, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist trade winds blow consistently from the east creating rain forest /semi desert divisions on mountainous islands. Occasional north westerlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons, with the latter six months of the year being wetter than the first half.

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.

Water temperatures vary from 31C (88F) to 22C (72F) all around the year. The air temperature is warm, in the 20s and 30s C (70s, 80s and 90s F) during the year, only varies from winter to summer about 25 degrees on the southern islands and about 1020 degrees difference can occur in 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 12N

Puerto Rico: Latitude 18N

Cuba: at Latitude 22N

Lucayan Archipelago[a]

Greater Antilles

Lesser Antilles

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

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

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

Islands in and near the Caribbean

Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations

The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their 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 cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world’s coral reefs[30] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[31] 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.[32] That checklist includes more than 11250 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.[33] 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;[34] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[35] for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[36] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[37]

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.[38] 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.

The region’s coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500700 species of reef-associated fishes[39] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[40] 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.[41]

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 Curaao, 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.[42]

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.[43]

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

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Tano 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)[44] led to a decline in the Amerindian population.[45] From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa[46] 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.[47]

The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.[48] Immigrants from India, China, Indonesia, and other countries arrived in the mid-19th century as indentured servants.[49] After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally.[50] The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.[51]

The majority of the Caribbean has populations of mainly Africans in the French Caribbean, Anglophone Caribbean and Dutch Caribbean, there are minorities of mixed-race (including Mulatto-Creole, Dougla, Mestizo, Quadroon, Cholo, Castizo, Criollo, Zambo, Pardo, Asian Latin Americans, Chindian, Cocoa panyols, and Eurasian); and European people of Spanish, Dutch, English, French, Italian, and Portuguese ancestry. Asians, especially those of Chinese, Indian descent, and Javenese Indonesians, form a significant minority in the region and also contribute to multiracial communities. Indians form a majority 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 have primarily mixed race, African, or European majorities. 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 with small but growing African population. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans, and Amerindians.

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

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

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).[52] Other religious groups in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion (Taoism and Confucianism), Bah’, Jainism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Kebatinan, Traditional African religions, Afro-American religions, Yoruba (Santera, Trinidad Orisha, Palo, Umbanda, Brujera, Hoodoo, Candombl, Quimbanda, Orisha, Xang de Recife, Xang do Nordeste, Comfa, Espiritismo, Santo Daime, Obeah, Candombl, Abaku, Kumina, Winti, Sanse, Cuban Vod, Dominican Vud, Louisiana Voodoo, Haitian Vodou, and Vodun).

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.[53] 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)[54] 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.”[55] 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.”[56] These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations’ desires to compete in the international economic system.[56]

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.”[57] 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]

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 Lom Convention, which allowed banana exports from the former colonies of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply.[58] 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.[59]

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.[60]

Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lom 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.[61][62]

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.

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.[63]

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

Coordinates: 143132N 754906W / 14.52556N 75.81833W / 14.52556; -75.81833

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Caribbean – Wikipedia


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