The CARIBBEAN PORTAL
The Caribbean (, locally ) 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 on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (which includes the Leeward Antilles). They form the West Indies with the nearby Lucayan Archipelago (the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands), which are sometimes considered Caribbean despite not bordering the Caribbean Sea. On the mainland, Belize, Nicaragua, the Caribbean region of Colombia, Cozumel, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, and the 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…
Did you know?
- …that Bequia, the name of the largest island in the Grenadines (pictured), means “island of clouds” in Arawak?
- …that Sociolismo is an informal term used in Cuba to describe the reciprocal exchange of favors by individuals?
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 geography article
Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic republic consisting of 23 islands in the southern Caribbean between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela. They are southeasterly islands of the Lesser Antilles, located close to the South American mainland. Covering an area of 5,128 square kilometres (1,979 square miles), the country consists of the two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and 21 smaller islands – including Chacachacare, Monos, Huevos, Gaspar Grande (or Gasparee), Little Tobago, and St. Giles Island. Trinidad is 11 km (7 mi) off the northeast coast of Venezuela and 130 km south of the Grenadines.