West Indies

Some islands in the Caribbean were once known only as the WEST INDIES. Indians were the first inhabitants of the islands, and in 1492 the explorer Christopher Columbus became the first European to arrive at the islands. When he arrived he called these islands the Indies because he thought he had finally reached Asia (and the East Indies). When Columbus' mistake was discovered by Spain, they were renamed the West Indies, to distinguish them from the Spice Islands in the Pacific Ocean, (the East Indies) which we now call Indonesia.

Today the West Indies, aka the Caribbean, is comprised of many island countries, dependencies and territories. This group of islands was divided into the Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles. The Greater Antilles include the island countries of Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands. The Lesser Antilles are the smaller islands to the southeast, and they are divided into three (3) groups, the Leeward Islands, Windward Islands & Leeward Antilles.

The Windward Islands are so called because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving in the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds blow east to west. The trans-Atlantic currents and winds that provided the fastest route across the ocean brought these ships to the rough dividing line between the Windward and Leeward Islands. The third group is the Leeward Antilles in the west. These consist of Aruba, Curacoa & Bonaire (Dutch ABC islands), plus a group of Venezuelan Islands. 

I hope this post is informative enough, to encourage you to get online and make your travel plans to go visit an Island country. Pronto!!. . .

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