What are the Antilles, and the Leeward and Windward Islands

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The term “Antilles” refers to a group of islands located in the Caribbean Sea. It encompasses both the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles, forming the principal island groups of the Caribbean region.

Origin of the Word “Antilles”: The origin of the word “Antilles” is somewhat uncertain. It is believed to be derived from the medieval Latin word “Antillia,” a term used in the 15th century to refer to a mythical island located somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. This name was later adopted for the newly discovered islands in the Caribbean by European explorers.

The Antilles

The Antilles are divided into two main groups:

Greater Antilles:

  • Islands Included: This group comprises the larger islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (which includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico.

Lesser Antilles:

  • Geographic Position: The Lesser Antilles consist of a chain of smaller islands in the southeastern part of the Caribbean.
  • Subdivisions: The Lesser Antilles are further divided into:
    Windward Islands: This includes Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Barbados.
    Leeward Islands: This includes the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Spanish Virgin Islands (Culebra and Vieques), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Antigua, and Guadeloupe.

St Croix is part of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles.

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