Let’s explore the Caribbean region. You may or may not know that the beautiful Caribbean is comprised of many island states. Some of these islands are run by independent country governments, while others are still overseas territories for larger countries.
These islands can be separated into different groups. Below are the different islands and the group they fall under.
Easthern Caribbean/Lessser Antilles
Eastern Caribbean /Lesser Antilles Island Maps.
Western Caribbean/Greater Antilles Island Maps.
Western Caribbean /Greater Antilles Island Maps.
The Antilles starts from the west with Cuba, which is the largest of the four islands of the Greater Antilles. The Bahamas, in the north of Cuba, a long island, are not included in the Antillean Islands, because they are directly in the ocean, not the Caribbean Sea. Haiti or Hispaniola, separated by the Windward Strait in the east of Cuba, is the second largest island. Jamaica is located in the south-east of Cuba and completely within the Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico, the fourth largest island of Antille, is in eastern Haiti. The chain of the Lesser Antilles begins from the southeast of Puerto Rico begins
The Netherlands Antilles
The Netherlands Antilles is a political designation the refers to the former territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. When discussing the Netherlands Antilles, you may also hear the term “ABC islands” which is a nickname used to refer to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao because they are grouped so closely together. Throughout the islands of the Netherlands Antilles, you’ll find Dutch influences including the language and colorful architecture.
The Windward Islands
The Windward Islands are the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles island group in the Eastern Caribbean. They are so named because the trade winds touch here first, placing these islands upwind from the Leeward Islands. The term dates back to the days when explorers and merchants relied on the trade winds to carry their ships across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.
The Leeward Islands
The Leeward Islands are the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles in the Eastern Caribbean. They are so named because they are downwind from the Windward Islands, which the prevailing trade winds reach first. These islands should not be confused with the Leeward Islands, or the Society Islands, of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean.
The British West Indies
Historically, the British West Indies (BWI) included more than 20 Caribbean islands that were part of the British Empire. Many of these islands have gained their independence from Great Britain over the years, however, but are still referred to as the BWI, as you’ll still find historical landmarks and influences of British culture on these islands. These countries are connected by their common heritage and may be a popular choice for travelers looking for an English-speaking country.
The French West Indies
The French West Indies refers to the overseas departments belonging to France. The prominent language on these islands is either French or a French-Creole, so these islands are particularly popular with French tourists. On these islands, it’s easy to see the influence of the French colonial era in the architecture and also in the modern cities where you’ll find outlets of French supermarket chains and classic patisseries.
|French Guiana||St. Martin|