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Portal:Caribbean

The CARIBBEAN PORTAL

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The Caribbean (/ˌkærɪˈbən, kəˈrɪbiən/, locally /ˈkærɪbiæn/) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean) 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 has more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays (see the list of Caribbean islands). Island arcs delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea: The Greater Antilles and the Lucayan Archipelago on the north and the Lesser Antilles and the on the south and east (which includes the Leeward Antilles). The Lucayan Archipelago (the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands), do not border the Caribbean Sea, but are still within the boundaries of the Caribbean region. On the mainland, Belize, Nicaragua, the Caribbean region of Colombia, Cozumel, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, and the Guyanas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Guayana Region in Venezuela, and Amapá in Brazil) are often included due to their political and cultural ties with the region.

Geopolitically, the islands of the Caribbean (the West Indies) are often regarded as a region of North America, though sometimes they are included in Central America or left as a region of their own. 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. 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. Read more…

Featured article

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Salsa music is a diverse and predominantly Spanish Caribbean genre that is popular across Latin America and among Latinos abroad. Salsa incorporates multiple styles and variations; the term can be used to describe most any form of popular Cuban-derived genre, such as cha-cha-chá and mambo. Most specifically, however, salsa refers to a particular style developed in the 1960s and ’70s by Cuban immigrants and Puerto Rican migrants to the New York City area, and stylistic descendants like 1980s salsa romántica. The style is now practiced throughout Latin America and abroad; in some countries it may be referred to as música tropical.

Salsa is essentially Cuban in stylistic origin, though it is also a hybrid of Puerto Rican and other Latin styles mixed with pop, jazz, rock, and R&B. Salsa is the primary music played at Latin dance clubs and is the “essential pulse of Latin music”, according to author Ed Morales, while music author Peter Manuel called it the “most popular dance (music) among Puerto Rican and Cuban communities, (and in) Central and South America”, and “one of the most dynamic and significant pan-American musical phenomena of the 1970s and 1980s”. Modern salsa remains a dance-oriented genre and is closely associated with a style of salsa dancing.

Did you know?

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  • …that Baconao, a large park region, located about 20 kilometers away from the city of Santiago de Cuba, was declared a World Heritage Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO?

Selected cuisine

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Cuisine of Jamaica contains cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from each of the many waves of immigration to the island. The Spanish, the first European arrivals to the island, contributed dishes such as the vinegary concoction escovitch fish. Later, English influences developed the Jamaican pattie, a turnover filled with spicy meat. African cuisine developed on the island as a result of waves of slavery introduced by the European powers. Chinese and East Indian influences can also been found in Jamaican cuisine, as a result of indentured laborers who replaced slaves after emancipation brought their own culinary talents. Today, dishes which grace nearly every Jamaican menu include curried goat, fried dumplings, ackee and salt fish (cod) (the is the national dish of Jamaica), fried plantain, “jerk“, steamed cabbage and rice and peas (actually kidney beans).

Selected image

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Credit: Dr. Ted Hill, Port of Spain.

Steelband in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the early 1950s.

Selected geography article

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Antigua and Barbuda lie in the eastern arc of the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. Antigua is 650 km southeast of Puerto Rico; Barbuda lies 48 km due north of Antigua, and the uninhabited island of Redonda is 56 km southwest of Antigua. The largest island, Antigua, is 21 km (about a dozen miles) across and 281 km² (about a hundred square miles) in area, or about two-thirds the size of New York City, seven eighths the area of Inner London or 86% greater than the London Borough of Bromley. Barbuda covers 161 km² (about 5% more than Bromley), while Redonda encompasses a mere 2.6 km² making it like The City of London, about 1-square-mile (2.6 km2).

Selected music

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The music of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles is a mixture of native, African and European elements, and is closely connected with trends from neighboring islands like Martinique, Trinidad and Guadeloupe, as well as the mainland former Dutch possession of Suriname, which has exported kaseko music to great success on the islands. Curaçao and Bonaire likely have the most active and well-known music scenes. Curaçao is known for a kind of music called tumba, which is named after the conga drums which accompany it.

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