British Empire

East Caribbean

Central America


North America

 South America

 Bahamas  Cuba  Haiti  Puerto Rico
 Cayman Islands  Dominican Republic  Jamaica  Turks  East Caribbean

  The Caribbean is a sea formed in the area between the two major continents. In geological time the continents have been separated in the past and the area at present is a compromise between land and sea.

Before the Europeans arrived most islands were inhabited by peoples whose origin was South America. The Arawaks appeared to have been there first and as the Europeans arrived were being displaced by the invading Caribs. Both spoke languages which can be traced over large areas of South America. The Arawaks appear to have been a peaceful people; the Caribs warlike. Both were eliminated by the Europeans, a far more savage group of peoples.

The Europeans brought Africans to do their work and hence the whole area is an outpost of African culture synthesized with European influences. The Caribs and Arawaks appear to have contributed almost nothing to the present day culture (except in the two islands where a few still survive). All the islands are affected by population growth - something which is quickly noticed on a small island. All, except Cuba, are much influenced by the United States and, although formally independent (except for a few residual colonies) have very little freedom of action.

In the 1950s the British government attempted to transfer sovereignty to a British West Indies Federation (1958-62). However, this project failed when the two largest islands, Jamaica and Trinidad, opted out and chose separate independence. This left the other small islands to become independent as micro-states. They maintain a degree of cooperation notably in currency - the East Caribbean Monetary Union - and trade with CARICOM, the Caribbean Common Market. CARICOM includes all the intended members of the Federation, including Guyana and Belize, but has few common successes. They also maintain a common Cricket team, for many years the most successful in the world. A Windward Federation has been discussed.

There are also some French colonies in the East Caribbean area, and two United States territories: Puerto Rico possibly on the route to statehood, and the neglected Virgin Islands.

The total population of the area (without Cuba) is about 30 million.

Alex von Tunzelmann - Red Heat, the Cold War in the Caribbean

Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder and the Cold War in the Caribbean

Review of this book
Jad Adams on Tunzelmann
Matthew Parker - the Sugar Barons

The Sugar Barons

Last revised 10/04/11

East Caribbean


World Info


Return to the top

Since 10/04/11

eXTReMe Tracker