The Windward Islands, also known as the Islands of Barlovento, are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles, within the West Indies. They lie south of the Leeward Islands, approximately between latitudes 10° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W.
The name was also used to refer to a British colony in these islands, existing between 1833 and 1960 and consisting of the islands of:
[Barbados]] (to 1885, when it became a separate colony),
Tobago (to 1889 when it was joined to Trinidad),
The island of Dominica was traditionally apart of the Leeward Islands until 1940, when it was transferred from the Leeward Islands colony to the Windward Islands.)
Name and geography
The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving to the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds in the West Indies blow east to west. The trans-Atlantic currents and winds that provided the fastest route across the ocean brought these ships to the rough dividing line between the Windward and Leeward islands.
Vessels in the Atlantic slave trade departing from the British Gold Coast and Gulf of Guinea in Africa would first encounter the southeasternmost “Windward” islands of the Lesser Antilles in their west-northwesterly heading to final destinations in the Caribbean and North and Central America. The chain of Windward Islands forms a part of the easternmost boundary of the Caribbean Sea.
List of the Windward Islands
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Martinique (overseas department of France)
- Dominica (formerly administered as part of the colonial Leeward Islands until 1940)
- Leeward Islands
- Southern Caribbean
- Lesser Antilles topics
- Windward Islands cricket team
- “Windward Islands”. Encyclopædia Britannica.
[A] line of West Indian islands constituting the southern arc of the Lesser Antilles, at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea, between latitudes 12° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W. They include, from north to south, the English-speaking islands of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and Grenada; and, between Saint Vincent and Grenada, the chain of 32 islands known as the Grenadines. Though near the general area, Trinidad and Tobago (at the south end of the group) and Barbados (just east) are usually not considered part of the Windward Islands.
- Chapter 4 – The Windward Islands and Barbados – U.S. Library of Congress
- “Windward Islands”. Footprint Travel Guides. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- “Windward Islands”. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 716. .