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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- 5 Caribbean Islands Where You Can Go Beyond the Beach - The New York Times - March 5th, 2020
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- Kamau Brathwaite and the Voice of the Caribbean - The New York Review of Books - February 29th, 2020
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- What in the world are those things washing up on Floridas beaches? - TCPalm - February 29th, 2020
- I spent a day on the most beautiful island in the Caribbean and never left my room. It was incredible. - Business Insider - February 29th, 2020
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- Dominican Republic: first in the Caribbean to use technology for maps of coastal marine habitats - Dominican Today - February 29th, 2020
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- From Pakistan to the Caribbean: Curry's journey around the world - CNN - January 27th, 2020
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- PAHO Director urges Caribbean to Prepare for Early Detection of Coronavirus - caribbeannationalweekly.com - January 27th, 2020
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- Royal Caribbean: Grandfather 'reckless' in toddler death: report - Fox Business - January 20th, 2020
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