East Caribbean


British Empire


Central America


North America

 South America

 Anguilla  Dominica  Martinique  St Lucia
 Antigua  Grenada  Montserrat  St Martin/St Maartin
 Barbados  Guadeloupe   St Kitts-Nevis  St Vincent

  An arc of small islands formed on volcanic peaks in the space between north and south America. When the Europeans arrived they were inhabited but the original inhabitants were killed and most of their cultures are now unknown. From their languages it is presumed they had migrated from the southern mainland.

The Europeans used the islands to grow tropical crops, especially sugar and bananas, and brought African slaves to do the work. The populations of all the islands are therefore largely African with some European influence, both genetically and culturally.

In all the islands the language shows African influence. Some were settled by the French; others by the English. In several the Spaniards were there first. Some were settled by the Dutch. Several islands changed hands, a few several times. Thus some islands which ended up as British colonies had previously been French. Therefore the language of the people may show French influence even if the language of government is English.

Most of them are micro-states, which makes them vulnerable to the political influence of their larger neighbors, especially the United States.

The formerly British Windward Islands: Dominica, St.Lucia, St.Vincent and Grenada at one time were planning to unite as a Federation which might then become a sovereign state. However it did not develop and instead there is the Organization of East Caribbean States which includes Antigua, Barbados and St.Kitts as well as the Windwards.

Last revised 21/07/08



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