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The Caribbean (Dutch: Caraïben; French: Caraïbes; Spanish: Caribe; Portuguese: Caribe or Caraíbas) 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.

Central America and the Caribbean: 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. Bermuda lies much further to the north in the Atlantic Ocean and is 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.

Geography and Climate
The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies from one place to another. Some islands in the region are relatively flat terrains of non-volcanic in origins such islands include Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands or Anguilla. Meanwhile others may contain some rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Cuba, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Lucia or Trinidad.

The climate of the region mainly ranges between sub-tropical to tropical and depends a great deal upon location in proximity to the tradewinds from the Atlantic. The Tradewinds blow towards the Eastern Caribbean islands heading northwest up the chain of Windward islands.

When the tradewinds reach close to the island of Cuba they tend to get overcome by other minor jet streams across the Caribbean region.

In the waters of the Caribbean Sea, the region can be found migratory large schools of fish, turtles and coral reef formations.

The Puerto Rico trench located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico is said to be the deepest point in the entire Atlantic Ocean.

In the majority of cases hurricanes which at times batter the region usually strike northwards of Grenada, and to the West of Barbados. The principle hurricane belt arks to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean.

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.

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

Spanish West Indies - Cuba, Hispaniola (present-day Dominican Republic, and until 1609, Haiti), Puerto Rico, Jamaica (until 1655), the Cayman Islands, Trinidad (until 1797) and Bay Islands (until 1643)
French West Indies - Anguilla (briefly), Antigua and Barbuda (briefly), Dominica (briefly), Dominican Republic (briefly), Grenada (briefly), Haiti, Montserrat (briefly), Saint Lucia (briefly), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (briefly), Sint Eustatius (briefly), St Kitts (briefly), Tobago (briefly), Saint Croix (briefly), and the current French overseas départements of Martinique and Guadeloupe (including Saint-Barthélemy, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, Les Saintes, and the northern half of Saint Martin)
British West Indies/Anglophone Caribbean - Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bay Islands, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica (from 1655), Montserrat, Saint Croix (briefly), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago (from 1797) and the Turks and Caicos Islands
Danish West Indies - present-day United States Virgin Islands
Dutch West Indies - present-day Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, Virgin Islands, Saint Croix (briefly), Tobago and Bay Islands (briefly)
Swedish West Indies - present-day French Saint-Barthélemy.
Portuguese West Indies- present-day Barbados, known as Los Barbados in the 1500s when the Portuguese occupied the island during the same time as Brazil. However, the Portuguese abandoned Barbados in 1533, nearly a century prior to the British arrival on the island.

The mostly Spanish-controlled Caribbean in the sixteenth centuryThe 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.

Present-day island territories of the Caribbean

Islands in and near the Caribbean

Anguillita Island
Dog Island
East Cay
Little Scrub Island
Prickly Pear Cays
Sandy Island
Scrub Island
Seal Island
West Cay
Antigua and Barbuda
Guiana Island
Great Bird Island
Lesser Bird Island
Prickly Pear Island
Long Island
Aruba (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Acklins Island
Bimini Islands
Cat Island
Crooked Island
Grand Bahama
Great Abaco
Great Exuma
Great Inagua
Little San Salvador Island/Half Moon Cay
Long Island
New Providence
Ragged Island
San Salvador Island
Culpepper Island
Pelican Island (now absorbed into Barbados)
British Virgin Islands (British dependency, shares the Virgin Islands with the U.S. Virgin Islands.)
Beef Island
Bellamy Cay
Carvel Rock
Cockroach Island
Cooper Island
Dead Chest Cay
Diamond Cay
Dog Islands
Drowned Island
East Seal Dog Island
Eustatia Island
Fallen Jerusalem Island
Frenchmans Cay
Grouge Dog Island
Ginger Island
Great Camanoe
Great Dog Island
Great Thatch
Great Tobago Island
Green Cay
Guana Island
Jost Van Dyke
Little Anegada
Little Camanoe
Little Cay
Little Jost Van Dyke
Little Seal Dog Island
Little Thatch
Little Tobago
Little Wickmans Cay
Marina Cay
Mosquito Island
Nanny Cay
Necker Island
Norman Island
Old Jerusalem Island
Oyster Rock
Pelican Island
Peter Island
Prickly Pear Island
Saba Rock
Salt Cay
Sandy Cay
Scrub Island
Spanish Island
Virgin Gorda
West Dog Island
Cayman Islands (British dependency)
Cayman Brac
Grand Cayman (with the capital George Town)
Little Cayman
Isla de la Juventud
Cayo Largo del Sur
Cayo Buenavista
Cayo Ines de Soto
Cayo Levisa
Cayo Cruz del Padre
Cayo Punta Arenas
Cayo Blancos del Sur
Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Fragoso
Cayo Esquivel
Cayo Guillermo
Cayo Coco
Cayo Romano
Cayo Guajaba
Cayo Saetia
and thousands of minor cays and islets.
Bird Island (disputed territory with Venezuela located about 110 km (70 mi) west of the island of Dominica)
Grenada (shares the Grenadines group with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
Petit Martinique
Ronde Island
Petite Martinique
Guadeloupe (overseas department of France)
La Désirade
Iles de la Petite Terre
Iles des Saintes
Terre de Haut
Terre de Bas
Dominican Republic
Beata Island
Punta Cana
Saona Island
Gonave Island
Île à Vache
Grande et Petite Cayemites
Bogue Islands (some now absorbed into Montego Bay, Jamaica)
Great Goat Island
Little Goat Island
Kokomo Island
Lime Cay (part of the Port Royal Cays)
Morant Cays
Navy Island
Pedro Cays
Pigeon Island
Martinique (overseas department of France)
Montserrat (British dependency)
Netherlands Antilles (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Klein Bonaire
Klein Curaçao
Sint Eustatius
Sint Maarten (part of the island Saint Martin shared with Guadeloupe)
Puerto Rico (U.S. commonwealth)
Puerto Rico
Caja de Muertos
Desecheo Island
FranceSaint-Barthélemy (also Saint Barts) Since feb 2007 become a french Overseas collectivity.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts
Saint Lucia
FranceSaint-Martin (part of the island Saint Martin shared with the Netherlands Antilles; note the dash). Since feb 2007 become a french Overseas collectivity.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (shares the Grenadines group with Grenada)
Canouan Island
Palm Island
Petit Mustique
Petit Saint Vincent
Saint Vincent
Tobago Cays
Union Island
Young Island
Trinidad and Tobago
Goat Island
Little Tobago
Saint Giles Island
Sisters' Rock
Caledonia Island
Craig Island
Cronstadt (Kronstadt)
Gaspar Grande
Gasparillo (Little Gasparee or Centipede Island)
Lenagan Island
Nelson Island
Pelican Island
Rock Island
Saut d'Eau
Soldado Rock
Turks and Caicos Islands (British dependency)
Grand Turk
Middle Caicos
North Caicos
Parrot Cay
Pine Cay
Salt Cay
South Caicos
United States Virgin Islands (U.S. territory, shares the Virgin Islands with the British Virgin Islands)
Birsk Island
Buck Island
Cas Cay
Congo Cay
Cow And Calf Island
Dog Island
Dry Rock
Fish Cay
Flat Cay
Grass Cay
Great Saint James
Green Cay
Hans Lollik
Hassel Island
Inner Brass
Johnsons Reef
Little Saint James
Lovango Cay
Mingo Cay
Outer Brass
Packet Rock
Patricia Cay
Saba Island
Saint Croix
Saint John
Saint Thomas
Savana Island
South-West Rock
Stranglers Island
Thatch Cay
Turtledove Cay
Water Island
Welk Rock
Continental countries with Caribbean coastlines and islands
Ambergris Caye
Belize City
Big Creek
Caye Caulker
Glover's Reef
Hicks Cays
Lighthouse Reef
South Water Caye
Turneffe Islands
Archipelago of San Andres and Providencia
Santa Marta
Costa Rica
French Guiana
Hog Island, Guyana
Leguan Island
Cortés department
Atlántida department
Gracias a Dios department
Islas de la Bahía Department
Puerto Cortés
La Ceiba
La Mosquitia
Puerto Lempira
Cayos Cochinos
Swan Islands
Isla Contoy
Isla Cozumel
Isla Mujeres
Corn Islands
Cayos Miskitos
San Blas Islands Comprising of more than 1300 islands
Bocas del Toro Archipielago with aproximately 300 islands
United States
Navassa Island
Isla Margarita
Los Monjes Archipelago
Las Aves Archipelago
Isla de Aves
Los Hermanos Island
Los Frailes Island
Los Roques Archipelago
La Sola Island
La Tortuga Island
La Orchila Island
Los Testigos Island
La Blanquilla Island
Isla de Patos
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.

Indigenous tribes

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

Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Guyana
Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Trinidad and Tobago
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Saint Lucia
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Barbados
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), Barbados
Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Barbados and Jamaica
Caribbean Programme for Economic Competitiveness (CPEC), Saint Lucia
Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Barbados
Inter-American Economic Council (IAEC), Washington, D.C.
Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), Brazil and Uruguay
United Nations - Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Chile and Trinidad and Tobago
Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), Trinidad and Tobago
Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO), Trinidad and Tobago
Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC), Saint Lucia
Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), Puerto Rico
Caribbean Regional Environmental Programme (CREP), Barbados
Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Belize
Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM), Barbados and Dominican Republic
Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), Trinidad and Tobago
West Indies Cricket Board, Antigua and Barbuda

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