The region, situated largely on the Caribbean Plate
, has more than 700 islands, islets
(see the list of Caribbean islands
). Three island arcs
delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea
The Greater Antilles
to the north, and the Lesser Antilles
and Leeward Antilles
to the south and east. Together with the nearby Lucayan Archipelago
, these island arcs make up the West Indies
. The Bahamas
and the Turks and Caicos Islands
are sometimes considered to be a part of the Caribbean, even though they are neither within the Caribbean Sea nor on its border. However, the Bahamas is a full member state of the Caribbean Community
and the Turks and Caicos Islands are an associate member. Belize
, and Suriname
are also considered part of the Caribbean despite being mainland countries and they are full member states of the Caribbean Community and the Association of Caribbean States
. Several regions of mainland South and Central America are also often seen as part of the Caribbean because of their political
ties with the region. These include: Belize, the Caribbean region of Colombia
, the Venezuelan Caribbean
, Quintana Roo
(consisting of Cozumel
and the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula
and The Guianas
(Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana
, Guayana Region
, and Amapá
A mostly tropical geography, the climates are greatly shaped by sea temperatures and precipitation, with the hurricane season
regularly leading to natural disasters. Because of its tropical climate and low-lying island geography, the Caribbean is vulnerable to a number of climate change effects
, including increased storm intensity
, saltwater intrusion, sea level rise
and coastal erosion
, and precipitation variability.
These weather changes will greatly change the economies of the islands, and especially the major industries of agricultural and tourism.
The Caribbean was occupied by indigenous people
since at least 6000 BC.
When European colonization followed the arrival of Columbus, the population was quickly decimated by brutal labour practices, enslavement and disease and on many islands, Europeans supplanted the native populations with enslaved Africans
. Following the independence of Haiti
from France in the early 19th century and the decline of slavery in the 19th century, island nations in the Caribbean gradually gained independence, with a wave of new states during the 1950s and 60s. Because of the proximity to the United States, there is also a long history of United States intervention in the region.
The islands of the Caribbean (the West Indies
) are often regarded as a subregion
of North America, though sometimes they are included in Middle America
or then left as a subregion of their own
and are organized into 30 territories including sovereign states
, overseas departments
, and dependencies
. From December 15, 1954, to October 10, 2010, there was a country known as the Netherlands Antilles
composed of five states, all of which were Dutch
From January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was also a short-lived political union called the West Indies Federation
composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then British
Etymology and pronunciation
The two most prevalent pronunciations of "Caribbean" outside the Caribbean are /
), with the stress on the second. Most authorities of the last century preferred the stress on the third syllable. This is the older of the two pronunciations, but the stressed-second-syllable variant has been established for over 75 years.
It has been suggested that speakers of British English
but major American dictionaries and other sources list the stress on the third syllable as more common in American English
According to the American version of Oxford Online Dictionaries, the stress on the second syllable is becoming more common in UK English and is increasingly considered "by some" to be more up to date and more "correct".
The Oxford Online Dictionaries claim that the stress on the second syllable is the most common pronunciation in the Caribbean itself, but according to the Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage, the most common pronunciation in Caribbean English
stresses the first syllable instead, /
Map of the Caribbean
The word "Caribbean" has multiple uses. Its principal ones are geographical and political. The Caribbean can also be expanded to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to Africa, slavery
, European colonisation
and the plantation system
Countries and territories
Islands in and near the Caribbean
Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations
Major indigenous peoples: Guanahatabey, Taínos and Island Caribs.
The oldest evidence of humans in the Caribbean is in southern Trinidad
at Banwari Trace
, where remains have been found from seven thousand years ago.
These pre-ceramic sites, which belong to the Archaic (pre-ceramic) age, have been termed Ortoiroid
. The earliest archaeological evidence of human settlement in Hispaniola
dates to about 3600 BC, but the reliability of these finds is questioned. Consistent dates of 3100 BC appear in Cuba
. The earliest dates in the Lesser Antilles
are from 2000 BC in Antigua
. A lack of pre-ceramic sites in the Windward Islands
and differences in technology suggest that these Archaic settlers may have Central American origins. Whether an Ortoiroid colonization of the islands took place is uncertain, but there is little evidence of one.
Between 400 BC and 200 BC the first ceramic-using agriculturalists, the Saladoid culture
, entered Trinidad from South America. They expanded up the Orinoco River to Trinidad and then spread rapidly up the islands of the Caribbean. Some time after 250 AD another group, the Barancoid
, entered Trinidad. The Barancoid society collapsed along the Orinoco around 650 AD and another group, the Arauquinoid
, expanded into these areas and up the Caribbean chain. Around 1300 AD a new group, the Mayoid
, entered Trinidad and remained the dominant culture until Spanish settlement.
At the time of the European discovery of most of the islands of the Caribbean, three major Amerindian indigenous peoples lived on the islands: the Taíno
in the Greater Antilles
, the Bahamas
and the Leeward Islands
, the Island Caribs
in the Windward Islands, and the Guanahatabey
in western Cuba. The Taínos are subdivided into Classic Taínos, who occupied Hispaniola and Puerto Rico
, Western Taínos, who occupied Cuba, Jamaica
, and the Bahamian archipelago, and the Eastern Taínos, who occupied the Leeward Islands. Trinidad was inhabited by both Carib speaking and Arawak-speaking groups.
Soon after Christopher Columbus
came to the Caribbean, both Portuguese and Spanish explorers began claiming territories in Central and South America. These early colonies brought gold to Europe; most specifically England, the Netherlands, and France. These nations hoped to establish profitable colonies in the Caribbean. Colonial rivalries made the Caribbean a cockpit for European wars for centuries.
The Caribbean was known for pirates
, especially between 1640 and 1680. The term "buccaneer
" is often used to describe a pirate operating in this region. The Caribbean region was war-torn throughout much of its colonial history, but the wars were often based in Europe, with only minor battles fought in the Caribbean. Some wars, however, were born of political turmoil in the Caribbean itself.
was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence from European powers (see Haitian Revolution
). Some Caribbean nations gained independence from European powers in the 19th century. Some smaller states are still dependencies of European powers today. Cuba remained a Spanish colony until the Spanish–American War
. Between 1958 and 1962, most of the British-controlled Caribbean
became the West Indies Federation
before they separated into many separate nations.
Foreign interventions by the United States
The United States has conducted military operations in the Caribbean and Latin America regions for at least 100 years.
Successive administrations of the Caribbean region have regularly maintained that the Caribbean must remain a zone of peace and have sought declarations at the United Nations to declare the region as such.
Since the Monroe Doctrine
, the United States gained a major influence on most Caribbean nations. In the early part of the 20th century, this influence was extended by participation in the Banana Wars
. Victory in the Spanish–American War and the signing of the Platt Amendment
in 1901 ensured that the United States would have the right to interfere in Cuban political and economic affairs, militarily if necessary. With the Treaty of Paris
, Spain ceded control of Cuba
and Puerto Rico
to the United States. Thereafter, the United States conducted military interventions in Cuba
, and the Dominican Republic
. The series of conflicts ended with the withdrawal of troops from Haiti in 1934 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt
After the Cuban Revolution
of 1959, relations deteriorated rapidly leading to the Bay of Pigs Invasion
, the Cuban Missile Crisis
, and successive US attempts to destabilize the island, based upon Cold War
fears of the Soviet
threat. The U.S. invaded and occupied Haiti
for 19 years (1915–34), subsequently dominating the Haitian economy through aid and loan repayments. The U.S. invaded Haiti again in 1994
and in 2004 were accused by CARICOM
of arranging a coup d'état
to remove elected Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In 1965, 23,000 US troops were sent to the Dominican Republic to quash a local uprising against military rule (see Dominican Civil War
). President Lyndon Johnson had ordered the invasion to stem what he deemed to be a "Communist threat." However, the mission appeared ambiguous and was roundly condemned throughout the hemisphere as a return to gunboat diplomacy
. In 1983, the US invaded Grenada
to remove populist left-wing leader Maurice Bishop. The US maintains a naval military base in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay
. The base is one of five unified commands whose "area of responsibility" is Latin America
and the Caribbean. The command is headquartered in Miami, Florida.
Foreign interventions by Cuba
From 1966 until the late 1980s, the Soviet government upgraded Cuba's military capabilities, and Cuban leader Fidel Castro
saw to it that Cuba assisted with the independence struggles of several countries across the world, most notably Angola and Mozambique in southern Africa, and the anti-imperialist struggles of countries such as Syria, Algeria, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Vietnam.
Its Angolan involvement was particularly intense and noteworthy with heavy assistance given to the Marxist–Leninist MPLA
in the Angolan Civil War
. Cuba sent 380,000 troops to Angola and 70,000 additional civilian technicians and volunteers. (The Cuban forces possessed 1,000 tanks, 600 armoured vehicles and 1,600 artillery pieces.)
Cuba's involvement in the Angolan Civil War began in the 1960s when relations were established with the leftist Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The MPLA was one of three organizations struggling to gain Angola's independence from Portugal, the other two being UNITA
and the National Liberation Front of Angola
(FNLA). In August and October 1975, the South African Defence Force
(SADF) intervened in Angola in support of the UNITA and FNLA. On 14 October 1975, the SADF commenced Operation Savannah
in an effort to capture Luanda from the south. On 5 November 1975, without consulting Moscow, the Cuban government opted for direct intervention with combat troops (Operation Carlota
) in support of the MPLA and the combined MPLA-Cuban armies managed to stop the South African advance by 26 November.
During the Ogaden War
(1977–78) in which Somalia attempted to invade an Ethiopia affected by civil war, Cuba deployed 18,000 troops along with armoured vehicles, artillery, T-62
tanks, and MiGs to assist the Derg
. Ethiopia and Cuba defeated Somalia on 9 March 1978.
In 1987–88, South Africa again sent military forces to Angola to stop an advance of MPLA forces (FAPLA) against UNITA, leading to the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale
, where the SADF was unable to defeat the FAPLA and Cuban forces. Cuba also directly participated in the negotiations between Angola and South Africa, again without consulting Moscow. Within two years, the Cold War was over and Cuba's foreign policy shifted away from military intervention.
Geography and geology
Maritime boundaries of the Caribbean
in the Dominican Republic is the tallest mountain in the Caribbean.
The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies: Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. These islands include Aruba
(possessing only minor volcanic features), Curaçao
, the Cayman Islands
, Saint Croix
, the Bahamas
, and Antigua
. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Saint Martin
, Puerto Rico
, Sint Eustatius
, Saint Kitts
, Saint Lucia
, Saint Thomas
, Saint John
, Saint Vincent
and Trinidad and Tobago
Definitions of the terms Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles often vary. The Virgin Islands as part of the Puerto Rican bank are sometimes included with the Greater Antilles. The term Lesser Antilles is often used to define an island arc that includes Grenada but excludes Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Antilles.
The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory 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 the deepest point in all of the Atlantic Ocean.
The region sits in the line of several major shipping routes with the Panama Canal
connecting the western Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.
Spanish Caribbean Islands in the American Viceroyalties 1600
Political evolution of Central America and the Caribbean from 1700 to present
The mostly Spanish-controlled Caribbean in the 16th century
- British West Indies/Anglophone Caribbean – Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bay Islands, Guyana, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, 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 – Possession of Denmark-Norway before 1814, then Denmark, present-day United States Virgin Islands
- Dutch West Indies – Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Bay Islands (briefly), Saint Croix (briefly), Tobago, Surinam and Virgin Islands
- French West Indies – Anguilla (briefly), Antigua and Barbuda (briefly), Dominica, Dominican Republic (briefly), Grenada, Haiti (formerly Saint-Domingue), Montserrat (briefly), Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius (briefly), Sint Maarten, Saint Kitts (briefly), Tobago (briefly), Saint Croix, the current French overseas départements of French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe (including Marie-Galante, La Désirade and Les Saintes), the current French overseas collectivities of Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin
- Portuguese West Indies – present-day Barbados, known as Os Barbados in the 16th century when the Portuguese claimed the island en route to Brazil. The Portuguese left Barbados abandoned years before the British arrived.
- Spanish West Indies – Cuba, Hispaniola (present-day Dominican Republic, Haiti (until 1659, lost to France)), Puerto Rico, Jamaica (until 1655, lost to Great Britain), the Cayman Islands (until 1670 to Great Britain) Trinidad (until 1797, lost to Great Britain) and Bay Islands (until 1643, lost to Great Britain), coastal islands of Central America (except Belize), and some Caribbean coastal islands of Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela.
- Swedish West Indies – present-day French Saint-Barthélemy, Guadeloupe (briefly) and Tobago (briefly).
- Courlander West Indies – Tobago (until 1691)
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 such as Trinidad.
Continental countries with Caribbean coastlines and islands
Rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents, such as the cool upwellings that keep the ABC islands
arid. Warm, moist trade winds
blow consistently from the east, creating both rain forest and semi-arid climates across the region. The tropical rainforest climates include lowland areas near the Caribbean Sea from Costa Rica
north to Belize
, as well as the Dominican Republic
and Puerto Rico
, while the more seasonal dry tropical savanna climates are found in Cuba
, northern Colombia
, and southern Yucatán, Mexico
. Arid climates are found along the extreme northern coast of Venezuela out to the islands including Aruba
, as well as the northwestern tip of Yucatán.
While the region generally is sunny much of the year, the wet season from May through November sees more frequent cloud cover (both broken and overcast), while the dry season from December through April is more often clear to mostly sunny. Seasonal rainfall is divided into 'dry' and 'wet' seasons, with the latter six months of the year being wetter than the first half. The air temperature is hot much of the year, varying from 25 to 33 °C (77 to 91 °F) between the wet and dry seasons. Seasonally, monthly mean temperatures vary from only about 5 °C (9 °F) in the northernmost regions, to less than 3 °C (5 °F) in the southernmost areas of the Caribbean.
Hurricane season is from June to November, but they occur more frequently in August and September and more common in the northern islands of the Caribbean. Hurricanes
that sometimes batter the region usually strike northwards of Grenada
and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to the northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean. A great example being recent events of Hurricane Irma devastating the island of Saint Martin during the 2017 hurricane season.
Sea surface temperatures change little annually, normally running from 30 °C (86 °F) in the warmest months to 26 °C (79 °F) in the coolest months. The air temperature is warm year-round, in the 20s and 30s °C (70s, 80s, and 90s °F), and varies only from winter to summer about 2–5 degrees[specify]
on the southern islands and about a 10–20 degrees[specify]
difference on the northern islands of the Caribbean. The northern islands, like the Bahamas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, may be influenced by continental masses during winter months, such as cold fronts.
Dominican Republic: Latitude 18°N
Aruba: Latitude 12°N
Puerto Rico: Latitude 18°N
Cuba: at Latitude 22°N
Map of the Caribbean
in the Caribbean poses major risks to the islands in the Caribbean. The main environmental changes expected to affect the Caribbean are a rise in sea level
, stronger hurricanes
, longer dry seasons and shorter wet seasons.
As a result, climate change
is expected to lead to changes in the economy, environment and population of the Caribbean.
Temperature rise of 2°C above preindustrial levels can increase the likelihood of extreme hurricane rainfall by four to five times in the Bahamas
and three times in Cuba
and Dominican Republic
Rise in sea level could impact coastal communities of the Caribbean if they are less than 3 metres (10 ft) above the sea. In Latin America and the Caribbean, it is expected that 29 – 32 million people may be affected by the sea level rise because they live below this threshold. The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago are expected to be the most affected because at least 80% of the total land is below the sea level.
's south shore, from the mountains of Jayuya
Grand Anse beach, St. George's, Grenada
A church cemetery perched in the mountains of Guadeloupe
Guanaja Island, Bay Islands, Honduras
For the fungi, there is a modern checklist based on nearly 90,000 records derived from specimens in reference collections, published accounts, and field observations.
That checklist includes more than 11,250 species of fungi recorded from the region. As its authors note, the work is far from exhaustive, and it is likely that the true total number of fungal species already known from the Caribbean is higher. The true total number of fungal species occurring in the Caribbean, including species not yet recorded, is likely far higher given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have been discovered.
Though the amount of available information is still small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to some Caribbean islands. For Cuba, 2200 species of fungi have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the island;
for Puerto Rico
, the number is 789 species;
for the Dominican Republic
, the number is 699 species;
for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.
Many of the ecosystems
of the Caribbean islands have been devastated by deforestation
, pollution, and human encroachment. The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of giant owls
and dwarf ground sloths
The hotspot contains dozens of highly threatened animals (ranging from birds, to mammals and reptiles), fungi and plants. Examples of threatened animals include the Puerto Rican amazon
, two species of solenodon
(giant shrews) in Cuba and Hispaniola, and the Cuban crocodile
The region's coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500 and 700 species of reef-associated fishes
have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.
According to a UNEP
report, the Caribbean coral reefs might get extinct in next 20 years due to population explosion along the coast lines, overfishing, the pollution of coastal areas and global warming.
Some Caribbean islands have terrain that Europeans found suitable for cultivation for agriculture. Tobacco
was an important early crop during the colonial era, but was eventually overtaken by sugarcane
production as the region's staple crop. Sugar was produced from sugarcane for export to Europe. Cuba
were historically the largest producers of sugar
. The tropical plantation system thus came to dominate Caribbean settlement. Other islands were found to have terrain unsuited for agriculture
, for example Dominica
, which remains heavily forested. The islands in the southern Lesser Antilles
, are extremely arid, making them unsuitable for agriculture. However, they have salt
pans that were exploited by the Dutch. Seawater was pumped into shallow ponds, producing coarse salt when the water evaporated.
The natural environmental diversity of the Caribbean islands has led to recent growth in eco-tourism
. This type of tourism is growing on islands lacking sandy beaches and dense human populations.
Plants and animals
The Martinique amazon
, Amazona martinicana
, is an extinct species of parrot in the family Psittacidae.
Agostino Brunias. Free Women of Color with Their Children and Servants in a Landscape Brooklyn Museum
At the time of European contact
, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Taíno
of the Greater Antilles
and northern Lesser Antilles
, the Island Caribs
of the southern Lesser Antilles, and smaller distinct groups such as the Guanahatabey
of western Cuba and the Ciguayo
of eastern Hispaniola. The population of the Caribbean is estimated to have been around 750,000 immediately before European contact, although lower and higher figures are given.
After contact, social disruption and epidemic diseases such as smallpox
(to which they had no natural immunity)
led to a decline in the Amerindian population.
From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa
such as the Kongo
as well as military prisoners from Ireland, who were deported during the Cromwellian reign in England.
Immigrants from Great Britain, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark also arrived, although the mortality rate was high for both groups.
The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.
Immigrants from India, China, Indonesia
, and other countries arrived in the mid-19th century as indentured servants.
After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade
, the population increased naturally.
The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.
and most of the French
and Dutch Caribbean
, the population is predominantly of African
origin; on many islands there are also significant populations of mixed racial origin (including Mulatto
, Asian Latin Americans
, Cocoa panyols
, and Eurasian
), as well as populations of European ancestry: Dutch
, especially those of Chinese
descent, and Javanese Indonesians
, form a significant minority in parts of the region. Indians
form a plurality of the population in Trinidad and Tobago
, and Suriname
. Most of their ancestors arrived in the 19th century as indentured laborers.
The Spanish-speaking Caribbean populations are primarily of European, African, or racially mixed origins. Puerto Rico has a European majority with a tri-racial (mixture of European-African-Native American) population, as well as a large mulatto (European-West African) and West African minority. Cuba has a mixed-race majority, along with a high European minority, and a significant population of African ancestry. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed-race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans
, and Amerindians.
Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago
has a large African majority, in addition to a significant population of mixed racial background, and has minorities of Chinese
, and Arabs
. This is a result of years of importation of slaves and indentured laborers, and migration. Most multi-racial Jamaicans refer to themselves as either mixed race or brown. Similar populations can be found in the Caricom
states of Belize
and Trinidad and Tobago
. Trinidad and Tobago
has a multi-racial cosmopolitan society due to the arrivals of Africans
, and Europeans
along with the native indigenous Amerindians
population. This multi-racial mix of the Caribbean has created sub-ethnicities that often straddle the boundaries of major ethnicities and include Mulatto
, Cocoa panyols
, and Asian Latinos
, Haitian Creole
, and Papiamento
are the predominant official languages of various countries in the region, although a handful of unique creole languages
or dialects can also be found in virtually every Caribbean country. Other languages such as Caribbean Hindustani
, Amerindian languages
, other African languages
, other European languages
, and other Indian languages
can also be found.
is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).
Other religions in the region are Hinduism
, Chinese folk religion
, Traditional African religions
(incl. Trinidad Orisha
), Afro-American religions
, (incl. Santería
, Xangô de Recife, Xangô do Nordeste, Comfa, Espiritismo
, Santo Daime
, Sanse, Cuban Vodú
, Dominican Vudú
, Louisiana Voodoo
, Haitian Vodou
, and Vodun
Flag of the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM)
Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.
The current economic and political problems the states face individually are common to all Caribbean states. Regional development has contributed to attempts to subdue current problems and avoid projected problems. From a political and economic perspective, regionalism
serves to make Caribbean states active participants in current international affairs through collective coalitions. In 1973, the first political regionalism in the Caribbean Basin
was created by advances of the English-speaking Caribbean nations through the institution known as the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM
which is located in Guyana.
Certain scholars have argued both for and against generalizing the political structures of the Caribbean. On the one hand, the Caribbean states are politically diverse, ranging from communist systems such as Cuba toward more capitalist Westminster-style parliamentary systems as in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Other scholars argue that these differences are superficial and that they tend to undermine commonalities in the various Caribbean states. Contemporary Caribbean systems seem to reflect a "blending of traditional and modern patterns, yielding hybrid systems that exhibit significant structural variations and divergent constitutional traditions yet ultimately appear to function in similar ways."
The political systems of the Caribbean states share similar practices.
The influence of regionalism in the Caribbean is often marginalized. Some scholars believe that regionalism cannot exist in the Caribbean because each small state is unique. On the other hand, scholars also suggest that there are commonalities amongst the Caribbean nations that suggest regionalism exists. "Proximity as well as historical ties among the Caribbean nations has led to cooperation as well as a desire for collective action."
These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations' desires to compete in the international economic system.
Furthermore, a lack of interest from other major states promoted regionalism in the region. In recent years the Caribbean has suffered from a lack of U.S. interest. "With the end of the Cold War, U.S. security and economic interests have been focused on other areas. As a result, there has been a significant reduction in U.S. aid and investment to the Caribbean."
The lack of international support for these small, relatively poor states, helped regionalism prosper.
Another issue of due to the cold war in the Caribbean has been the reduced economic growth of some Caribbean States due to the United States and European Union
's allegations of special treatment toward the region by each other.
In counteraction, the European Union claimed that the U.S. in the midst of the cold war, and seeking to promote capitalist economic growth in the region through offshoring
of business development and later on offshore financial sector characterized this segment of regional government activity in the Caribbean as an unfair/ Harmful low-tax competition
which undercuts the higher taxation rates found in Europe. Much of the U.S. tax code
which benefited the Caribbean US eases stance on 'tax havens'
, was to cull socialist movements in the region, limit Russian financial influence in the area, and firmly integrate the Caribbean into the United States financial system much to the insistence by the E.U. that the low tax rates of the Caribbean for global companies needed to be banned.U.S.-Caribbean Relations
United States-EU trade dispute
During the US/EU dispute, the United States imposed large tariffs on European Union goods (up to 100%) to pressure Europe to change the agreement with the Caribbean nations in favour of the Cotonou Agreement.
Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lomé Convention weakens. Some farmers have faced increased pressure to turn towards the cultivation of marijuana, which has a higher profit margin and fills the sizable demand for these narcotics in North America and Europe.
Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and Association of Caribbean States
Caribbean nations have also started to more closely cooperate in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force
and other instruments to add oversight of the offshore industry. One of the most important associations that deal with regionalism amongst the nations of the Caribbean Basin
has been the Association of Caribbean States
(ACS). Proposed by CARICOM in 1992, the ACS soon won the support of the other countries of the region. It was founded in July 1994. The ACS maintains regionalism within the Caribbean on issues unique to the Caribbean Basin. Through coalition building, like the ACS and CARICOM, regionalism has become an undeniable part of the politics and economics of the Caribbean. The successes of region-building initiatives are still debated by scholars, yet regionalism remains prevalent throughout the Caribbean.
In recent history increasing numbers of countries in the regions have signed on to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative
in order to take advantage of the advancing Chinese market and access development loans at rates lower than traditional global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund or World Bank.
Nations in the region which have joined China's global trading network are: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago.
In addition the nations of France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom all of which have a considerable amount of territory in the region are also Belt & Road Initiative area members.
Here are some of the bodies that several islands share in collaboration:
- African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
- Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Trinidad and Tobago
- Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), Trinidad and Tobago
- Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO), Trinidad and Tobago
- Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Guyana
- Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Barbados
- Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDERA), Barbados
- Caribbean Educators Network
- Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC), Saint Lucia
- Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Barbados and Jamaica
- Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Trinidad and Tobago
- Caribbean Food Crops Society, Puerto Rico
- Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Jamaica
- Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Florida and Puerto Rico
- Caribbean Initiative (Initiative of the IUCN)
- Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), Barbados
- Caribbean Programme for Economic Competitiveness (CPEC), Saint Lucia
- Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Trinidad and Tobago
- 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
- Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Barbados
- Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)
- Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), Antigua and Barbuda
- Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL), Saint Lucia
- Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children, Barbados
- Group of 77
- Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC), Brazil and Uruguay
- Latin American and the Caribbean Economic System, Venezuela
- Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Saint Lucia
- Small Island Developing States (SIDS),
- United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Chile and Trinidad and Tobago
- University of the West Indies, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, the fourth campus, the Open Campus was formed in June 2008 as a result of an amalgamation of the Board for Non-Campus Countries and Distance Education, Schools of Continuing Studies, the UWI Distance Education Centres and Tertiary Level Units. The Open Campus has 42 physical sites in 16 Anglophone caribbean countries.
- West Indies Cricket Board, Antigua and Barbuda
Favourite or national dishes
- Anguilla – rice, peas and fish
- Antigua and Barbuda – fungee and pepperpot
- Bahamas – Guava duff, Conch Salad, Peas n' Rice, and Conch Fritters
- Barbados – cou-cou and flying fish
- Belize – rice and beans, stew chicken with potato salad ; white rice, stew beans and fry fish with cole slaw
- British Virgin Islands – fish and fungee
- Cayman Islands – turtle stew, turtle steak, grouper
- Colombian Caribbean – rice with coconut milk, arroz con pollo, sancocho, Arab cuisine (due to the large Arab population)
- Cuba – platillo Moros y Cristianos, ropa vieja, lechon, maduros, ajiaco
- Dominica – mountain chicken, rice and peas, dumplings, saltfish, dashin, bakes (fried dumplings), coconut confiture, curry goat, cassava farine, oxtail
- Dominican Republic – arroz con pollo with stewed red kidney beans, pan fried or braised beef, salad/ ensalada de coditos, pastelitos, mangú, sancocho, locrio
- Grenada – oil down, Roti and rice & chicken
- Guyana – roti and curry, pepperpot, cookup rice, methem, pholourie
- Haiti – griot (fried pork) served with du riz a pois or diri ak pwa (rice and beans)
- Jamaica – ackee and saltfish, callaloo, jerk chicken, curry chicken
- Montserrat – Goat water
- Puerto Rico – yellow rice with green pigeon peas, saltfish stew, roasted pork shoulder, chicken fricassée, mofongo, tripe soup, alcapurria, coconut custard, rice pudding, guava turnovers, Mallorca bread
- Saint Kitts and Nevis – goat water, coconut dumplings, spicy plantain, saltfish, breadfruit
- Saint Lucia – callaloo, dal roti, dried and salted cod, green bananas, rice and beans
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish
- Suriname – brown beans and rice, roti and curry, peanut soup, battered fried plantain with peanut sauce, nasi goreng, moksie alesi, bara, pom
- Trinidad and Tobago – doubles, curry with roti or dal bhat, aloo pie, phulourie, callaloo, bake and shark, curry crab and dumpling
- United States Virgin Islands – stewed goat, oxtail or beef, seafood, callaloo, fungee
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Sometimes included.
- ^ a b c The Lucayan Archipelago is sometimes excluded from the definition of the "Caribbean" and instead classified as a part of North Atlantic; this is primarily a geological rather than cultural or political distinction.
- ^ a b ""World Population prospects – Population division"". population.un.org. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
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