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 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…
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The St. Croix macaw or Puerto Rican macaw (Ara autocthones) is an extinct species of macaw whose remains have been found on the Caribbean islands of St. Croix and Puerto Rico. It was described in 1937 based on a tibiotarsus leg bone unearthed from a kitchen midden at a pre-Columbian site on St. Croix. A second specimen consisting of various bones from a similar site on Puerto Rico was described in 2008, while a coracoid from Montserrat may belong to this or another extinct species of macaw. The St. Croix macaw is one of 13 extinct macaw species that have been proposed to have lived on the Caribbean islands. Macaws were frequently transported for long distances by humans in both prehistoric and historic times, so it is impossible to know whether species only known from bones or accounts were imported or native species.
As it is only known from bones, the color of the St. Croix macaw is not known. Its bones are intermediate in size between those of smaller and larger macaws, and it was slightly larger than the extinct Cuban macaw (Ara tricolor). Only the blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis) and Lear’s macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) are similar in size. It differed from other macaws in various skeletal details, and shared several features only with the genus Ara. Like other macaw species in the Caribbean, the St. Croix macaw is believed to have been driven to extinction by humans, as indicated by the fact that its remains were found in kitchen middens. Read more…
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Pigeon Island historical marker for Fort Rodney
Pigeon Island is a 44-acre (180,000 m2) islet located in Gros Islet in the northern region of Saint Lucia. Once isolated from the country in the Caribbean Sea, the island was artificially joined to the western coast of mainland in 1972 by a man-made causeway built from dirt excavated to form the Rodney Bay Marina. Composed of two peaks the island is a historic site with numerous forts such as an 18th-century British fort and Fort Rodney both used by the British to spy on French Ships from neighbouring Martinique. In 1979 it was named a national park and again in 1992 it became a national landmark under the control of the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT). Today, Pigeon Island is the home and major venue of the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival. Read more…
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Café Cubano (also known as Cuban espresso, Cuban coffee, cafecito, Cuban pull, and Cuban shot) is a type of espresso that originated in Cuba. Specifically, it refers to an espresso shot which is sweetened (traditionally with natural brown sugar which has been whipped with the first and strongest drops of espresso). However, the name is sometimes used to refer to coffee-based drinks that include Cuban espresso as their main ingredient, such as café con leche.
Drinking café cubano remains a prominent social and cultural activity in Cuba and in Cuban-American communities, particularly in Miami, Tampa and the Florida Keys. Read more…
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- …that there are about 1,500 known Jews living in Cuba, mostly residing in Havana?
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The Lesser Antillean macaw or Guadeloupe macaw (Ara guadeloupensis) is a hypothetical extinct species of macaw that is thought to have been endemic to the Lesser Antillean island region of Guadeloupe. In spite of the absence of conserved specimens, many details about the Lesser Antillean macaw are known from several contemporary accounts, and the bird is the subject of some illustrations. Austin Hobart Clark described the species on the basis of these accounts in 1905. Due to the lack of physical remains, and the possibility that sightings were of macaws from the South American mainland, doubts have been raised about the existence of this species. A phalanx bone from the island of Marie-Galante confirmed the existence of a similar-sized macaw inhabiting the region prior to the arrival of humans and was correlated with the Lesser Antillean macaw in 2015. Later that year, historical sources distinguishing between the red macaws of Guadeloupe and the scarlet macaw (A. macao) of the mainland were identified, further supporting its validity.
According to contemporary descriptions, the body of the Lesser Antillean macaw was red and the wings were red, blue and yellow. The tail feathers were between 38 and 51 cm (15 and 20 in) long. Apart from the smaller size and the all-red coloration of the tail feathers, it resembled the scarlet macaw and may, therefore, have been a close relative of that species. The bird ate fruit – including the poisonous manchineel, was monogamous, nested in trees and laid two eggs once or twice a year. Early writers described it as being abundant in Guadeloupe, but it was becoming rare by 1760, and only survived in uninhabited areas. Disease and hunting by humans are thought to have eradicated it shortly afterward. The Lesser Antillean macaw is one of 13 extinct macaw species that have been proposed to have lived in the Caribbean islands. Many of these species are now considered dubious because only three are known from physical remains, and there are no extant endemic macaws on the islands today. Read more…
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Chanté mas (masquerade song) and Lapo kabrit is a form of Carnival music of Dominica. It is performed by masequerading partygoers in a two-day parade, with a lead vocalist (chantwèl), who is followed by the responsorial chorus (lavwa), with drummers and dancers dancing backwards in front of the drummer on a tambou lélé. The Carnival has African and French roots and is otherwise known as Mas Dominik, the most original Carnival in the Caribbean.
Carnival in Dominica is held in the capital city of Roseau, and takes elements of carnival that can be seen in the neighbouring French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, as well as Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. Notable events that take place during the season leading up to carnival include “j’ouvert” the opening of Carnival celebrations, the calypso Monarch music competition, the queen of Carnival Beauty Pageant and bouyon music bands. Celebrations last for the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Dominica’s carnival is known to be the most original and least commercialized in the Caribbean giving the carnival its name the original mas Read more…
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