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The Caribbean (/ˌkærɪˈbən, kəˈrɪbiən/, locally /ˈkærɪbiæn/) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean) and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region has more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays (see the list of Caribbean islands). Island arcs delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea: The Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (which includes the Leeward Antilles). They form the West Indies with the nearby Lucayan Archipelago (the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands), which are sometimes considered Caribbean despite not bordering the Caribbean Sea. On the mainland, Belize, Nicaragua, the Caribbean region of Colombia, Cozumel, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, and the Guyanas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Guayana Region in Venezuela, and Amapá in Brazil) are often included due to their political and cultural ties with the region.

Geopolitically, the islands of the Caribbean (the West Indies) are often regarded as a region of North America, though sometimes they are included in Central America or left as a region 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 dependencies. 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 dependencies. The West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations. Read more...

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A Carnival troupe in the Virgin Islands
The music of the Lesser Antilles encompasses the musics of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Virgin Islands, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Montserrat. The Lesser Antilles' musical cultures are largely based on the music of African slaves brought by European traders and colonizers. The African musical elements are a hybrid of instruments and styles from numerous West African tribes, while the European slaveholders added their own musics into the mix, as did immigrants from India.

In many ways, the Lesser Antilles can be musically divided based on which nation colonized them. The ex-British colonies include Trinidad and Tobago, whose calypso style is an especially potent part of the music of the other former British colonies, which also share traditions like the Big Drum dance. The French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe share the popular zouk style, and have also had extensive musical contact with the music of Haiti, itself once a French colony though not part of the Lesser Antilles. The Dutch colonies share the combined rhythm popular style. The islands also share a passion for kaseko, a genre of Surinamese music; Suriname and its neighbors Guyana and French Guiana share folk and popular styles that are connected enough to the Antilles and other Caribbean islands that both countries are studied in the broader context of Antillean or Caribbean music.

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Cuisine of Jamaica contains cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from each of the many waves of immigration to the island. The Spanish, the first European arrivals to the island, contributed dishes such as the vinegary concoction escovitch fish. Later, English influences developed the Jamaican pattie, a turnover filled with spicy meat. African cuisine developed on the island as a result of waves of slavery introduced by the European powers. Chinese and East Indian influences can also been found in Jamaican cuisine, as a result of indentured laborers who replaced slaves after emancipation brought their own culinary talents. Today, dishes which grace nearly every Jamaican menu include curried goat, fried dumplings, ackee and salt fish (cod) (the is the national dish of Jamaica), fried plantain, "jerk", steamed cabbage and rice and peas (actually kidney beans).

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Interior of Catedral Primada in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Credit: Lapo Luchini, 2004

Interior of Cathedral Primada in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic republic consisting of 23 islands in the southern Caribbean between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela. They are southeasterly islands of the Lesser Antilles, located close to the South American mainland. Covering an area of 5,128 square kilometres (1,979 square miles), the country consists of the two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and 21 smaller islands – including Chacachacare, Monos, Huevos, Gaspar Grande (or Gasparee), Little Tobago, and St. Giles Island. Trinidad is 11 km (7 mi) off the northeast coast of Venezuela and 130 km south of the Grenadines.

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The music of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles is a mixture of native, African and European elements, and is closely connected with trends from neighboring islands like Martinique, Trinidad and Guadeloupe, as well as the mainland former Dutch possession of Suriname, which has exported kaseko music to great success on the islands. Curaçao and Bonaire likely have the most active and well-known music scenes. Curaçao is known for a kind of music called tumba, which is named after the conga drums which accompany it.

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Caribbean Island Topics

Caribbean Community Caribbean
Flag of Anguilla.svg Anguilla
Flag of Antigua and Barbuda.svg Antigua and Barbuda
Flag of Aruba.svg Aruba
Flag of the Bahamas.svg Bahamas
Flag of Barbados.svg Barbados
Flag of Belize.svg Belize
Flag of Bonaire.svg Bonaire
Flag of the British Virgin Islands.svg British Virgin Islands
Flag of the Cayman Islands.svg Cayman Islands
Flag of Cuba.svg Cuba
Flag of Curaçao.svg Curaçao

Flag of Dominica.svg Dominica
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg Dominican Republic
Flag of Grenada.svg Grenada
Flag of France.svg Guadeloupe
Flag of Haiti.svg Haiti
Flag of Jamaica.svg Jamaica
Flag of France.svg Martinique
Flag of Montserrat.svg Montserrat
Flag of Puerto Rico.svg Puerto Rico
Flag of France.svg Saint Barthélemy

Flag of Saba.svg Saba
Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis.svg Saint Kitts and Nevis
Flag of Saint Lucia.svg Saint Lucia
Flag of France.svg Saint Martin
Flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.svg Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Flag of Sint Eustatius.svg Sint Eustatius
Flag of Sint Maarten.svg Sint Maarten
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg Trinidad and Tobago
Flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands.svg Turks and Caicos Islands
Flag of the United States Virgin Islands.svg United States Virgin Islands

Regions and Cities

Flag of the West Indies Federation (1958–1962).svg West Indies Federation

Flag of the Netherlands Antilles (1986–2010).svg Netherlands Antilles

Culture and Interests

 West Indies Cricket

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