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Image:Location Caribbean.png
World map depicting Caribbean : </td>
blue = Caribbean Sea
green = West Indies
"West Indian" redirects here. For the western part of India, see West India.

The Caribbean (Dutch: Caraïben; French: Caraïbes; Spanish: Caribe) is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (most of which enclose the sea), and the surrounding coasts. The region is located southeast of Northern America, east of Central America, and to the north and west of South America.

Image:Central america.jpg
Central America and the Caribbean: (detailed pdf map)

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the area comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cayes. The West Indies consist of the Antilles, divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), and the Bahamas which are northeast of the sea. Bermuda lies much further to the north in the Atlantic Ocean and is sometimes included in the West Indies. Geopolitically, the West Indies are usually reckoned as a subregion of North America and are organised into 28 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. At one time, there was a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories.

The name "Caribbean" is named after the Caribs, one of the dominant Amerindian groups in the region at the time of European contact during the late 15th century. The analogous "West Indies" originates from Christopher Columbus' idea that he had landed in the Indies (then meaning all of south and east Asia) when he had actually reached the Americas. The Spanish term Antillas was commonly assigned to the newly discovered lands; stemming from this, "Sea of the Antilles" is a common alternate name for the Caribbean Sea in various European languages.

In the English-speaking Caribbean, someone from the Caribbean is usually referred to as a "West Indian", although the rather cumbersome phrase "Caribbean person" is sometimes used. The use of the words "Caribbean" and "Caribbeans" to refer to a West Indian or West Indians is largely unknown in the English-speaking Caribbean.</div>


[edit] Biodiversity

The Caribbean Islands are classified as one of Conservation International's biodiversity hotspots because they support exceptionally diverse ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands. These ecosystems have been devastated by deforestation and encroachment. The hotspot has dozens of highly threatened species, including two species of solenodon (giant shrews) and the Cuban crocodile. The hotspot is also remarkable for the diminutive nature of much of its fauna, boasting the world’s smallest bird and smallest snake.

[edit] Historical groupings

Most islands at some point were, or still are, colonies of European nations:

Image:Caribbean spanish names.PNG
The mostly Spanish controlled Caribbean in the sixteenth century

The British West Indies were formerly united by the United Kingdom into a West Indies Federation. The independent countries which were once a part of the B.W.I. still have a unified composite cricket team that successfully competes in test matches and one-day internationals. The West Indian cricket team includes the South American nation of Guyana, the only former British colony on that continent.

In addition, these countries share the University of the West Indies as a regional entity. The university consists of three main campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, a smaller campus in the Bahamas and Resident Tutors in other contributing territories.

[edit] Present-day island territories of the Caribbean

Islands in and near the Caribbean
See also: Caribbean South America and Caribbean basin

[edit] Continental countries with Caribbean coastlines and islands

The nations of Belize and Guyana, although on the mainland of Central America and South America respectively, were former British colonies and maintain many cultural ties to the Caribbean and are members of CARICOM. Guyana participates in West Indies cricket tournaments and many players from Guyana have been in the West Indies Test cricket team. The Turneffe Islands (and many other islands and reefs) are part of Belize and lie in the Caribbean Sea.

[edit] Indigenous tribes

[edit] See also


[edit] Regional institutions

Here are some of the bodies that several islands share in collaboration:

Many of the nations in the Caribbean play international cricket as one team called the West Indies.

bg:Карибски острови

bs:Karipsko more ca:Carib da:Caribien de:Westindische Inseln et:Lääne-India es:Islas Caribes eo:Antiloj fr:Antilles gl:Caribe ko:서인도 제도 id:Karibia it:Antille he:האיים הקאריביים ka:კარიბები kg:Karibe mk:Кариби nl:Caribisch Gebied ja:西インド諸島 no:Karibien nds:Karibik pl:Karaiby pt:Caribe ru:Вест-Индия simple:Caribbean fi:Länsi-Intia sv:Västindien th:แคริบเบียน tr:Karayipler zh:加勒比海国家


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