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West Indies

West Indies | Political Map | Flag

The islands of West Indies are further divided into three main groups including Bahamas, Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles. Bahamas is a huge island nation with more than 3000 individual islands and reefs. The Greater Antilles consists of countries namely, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic. The Lesser Antilles is a smaller area separated into major groups such as the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands. The Windward Island comprises of countries like Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Grenadines, and Grenada, whereas the Leeward Island consists of a number of small islands being administrations of different nations. In addition there is third lesser known group of the Lesser Antilles called the Leeward Antilles in the west, which consist of the Dutch ABC islands and a group of Venezuelan islands. Besides the above, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands are also a part of the Caribbean.

Political Overview
There are over 7000 big and small islands in the Caribbean including 13 independent nations and the rest are either dependencies or territories of overseas countries. The independent countries of the Caribbean mostly function as democracies with one party or multi – party system. Cuba is an example of one party system, whereas, Haiti, Suriname and Guyana are examples of multi-party system. On the other hand, Jamaica and Barbados are fine examples of two party systems of democracies. Besides, there are several islands of the Caribbean, which are functioning under the control of colonial powers. The history of colonialism in the Caribbean makes it a diverse in terms of politics.

Geographical Overview
Because of the varying regional differences, the climate and geography of the Caribbean also varies accordingly. Depending on the terrain, the various islands of the Caribbean are separated as countries of volcanic or non-volcanic origin. Some of the countries like Aruba, Barbados, The Bahamas, Antigua etc., are regarded as islands of non-volcanic origin due to their relatively flat terrain. However, there are others with rocky and uneven mountain ranges such as Dominica, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada and so on.

As far as climate is concerned, most of the Caribbean experiences tropical climate with varying rainfall, which mainly depends on various things like water currents, elevation etc. The region also experiences warm, moist trade winds, which blow consistently. The Caribbean gets sunshine all through the year and the last six months of the year receive more rainfall than the first half.

Caribbean Islands see a large flock of migratory fish, turtles and so on. Hurricane is a common factor that strikes most Caribbean Islands.

Tourism in Caribbean has tremendous scope and it in a huge way impacts the economy of the Caribbean Islands. There is so much to do and see in the Caribbean, you will simply go confused with what to start with. The region offers ample scope for adventure and activities in its stunning beaches, along with its historical and cultural attractions. When at the beach, you can enjoy diving, snorkeling, and other water sports. Moreover, there are other options like playing golf, enjoying delectable sea cuisine, music, spa and wellness and much more. In addition, you can also plan to attend the various festivals being organized. But the most important and the best part is that you get lot of options in terms of destinations or islands to choose and visit in the Caribbean.

Culture & People
The culture of Caribbean is highly influenced by European, especially British, Spanish and French as well as African and American and other immigrant cultures. To know and understand the culture of the Caribbean, it is important to know the history of the region. Each island of the Caribbean has its distinct identity in terms of their culture. The culture of the Caribbean people can also be seen in their lifestyle and their customs, music, architecture, and much more. In fact, it is a combination of colonial stronghold and continuous influences by other racial groups from Africa and native East Indian.

Since the Caribbean region consists of many overseas territories, independent island nations, and dependencies, the economy of the Caribbean is definitely a mixed bag and influenced by western countries, which brought about new economic opportunities in the region during pre-historic times.

The present overall economy of the Caribbean is steadily progressing economy and tourism plays an important role in the growth and development of the Caribbean economy.

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