Portal:Caribbean

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The Caribbean (/ˌkærɪˈbən, kəˈrɪbiən/, locally /ˈkærɪbiæn/; Spanish: Caribe; French: Caraïbes; Haitian Creole: Karayib; also Antillean Creole: Kawayib; Dutch: Caraïben; Papiamento: Karibe) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of which lie within the Caribbean Sea and some of which lie on the edge of the Caribbean Sea where it borders the North Atlantic Ocean). The region lies southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and of the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

The region, situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, has more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays (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, Guyana, 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 and cultural ties with the region. These include Belize, the Caribbean region of Colombia, the Venezuelan Caribbean, Quintana Roo in Mexico (consisting of Cozumel and the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula), and The Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Guayana Region in Venezuela, and Amapá in Brazil).

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 agriculture and tourism.

The Caribbean was occupied by indigenous people since at least 6000 BC. When European settlement followed the arrival of Columbus in Hispaniola, the Spanish established the first permanent colony in the region, and the native population was quickly decimated by brutal labour practices, enslavement and disease. Europeans supplanted the natives with enslaved Africans in most islands. 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 (see the Monroe Doctrine). (Full article...)

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The Virgin Islands dwarf sphaero, Virgin Gorda least gecko, or Virgin Islands dwarf gecko (Sphaerodactylus parthenopion) is a species of gecko and also one of the smallest terrestrial vertebrates. It has only been found on three of the British Virgin Islands: Virgin Gorda, Tortola, and Moskito Island (also spelled “Mosquito Island”). It was discovered in 1964 and is suspected to be a close relative of Sphaerodactylus nicholsi, a dwarf sphaero from the nearby island of Puerto Rico. It shares its range with the big-scaled least gecko (S. macrolepis), which is found in leaf litter. Unlike this larger gecko, the Virgin Islands dwarf sphaero lives on drier hillsides, yet prefers moist microhabitats found under rocks because it lacks the adaptations necessary for preventing water loss, which is a significant problem due to its small body size.

The Virgin Islands dwarf sphaero has a deep brown colour on its upper side, often with a speckling of darker scales. On average, it measures 18 mm (0.71 in) from its snout to its vent, and is nearly as small as a U.S. dime. At most, it weighs 0.15 g (0.0053 oz). There are several stripes or bars of lighter colouration behind the eyes and at the top of the neck that help distinguish it. There are no differences in colouration between males and females, although females are slightly larger in size. Its tail will regenerate when broken off. Little is known about its population size or its biology. (Full article...)

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Bonaire (/bɒnˈɛər/; Dutch: Bonaire, pronounced [boːˈnɛːr(ə)] (audio speaker iconlisten); Papiamento: Boneiru, [buˈneiru], almost pronounced [boˈnɛiru]) is an island in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. Its capital is Kralendijk, near the ocean on the lee side of the island. Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao form the ABC islands, 80 km (50 miles) off the coast of Venezuela. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, the ABC islands lie outside Hurricane Alley. The islands have an arid climate that attracts visitors seeking warm, sunny weather all year round. Bonaire is a popular snorkeling and scuba diving destination because of its multiple shore diving sites and easy access to the island's fringing reefs.

As of 1 January 2019, the island's population totaled 20,104 permanent residents, an increase of about 1,200 since 2015. The island's total land area is 288 square kilometres (111 sq mi); it is 38.6 kilometres (24.0 mi) long from north to south, and ranges from 4.8–8 km (3.0–5.0 mi) wide from east to west. A short 800 metres (0.50 mi) west of Bonaire across the sea is the uninhabited islet Klein Bonaire with a total land area of 6 km2 (2.3 sq mi). Klein Bonaire has low-growing vegetation including cactus (Papiamento: kadushi), with sparse palm trees near the water and is bordered by white sandy beaches and a fringing reef. The reefs, beaches and on-island reserves located on both Bonaire and Klein Bonaire are under the protection of the Bonaire National Marine Park, and managed by Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA). (Full article...)

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Habichuelas con dulce

Habichuelas con dulce is a sweet bean liquid dessert from the Dominican Republic that is especially popular around the Easter holiday. The dessert is part of the cuisine of the Dominican Republic and is traditionally garnished with milk cookies or with casabe, "a flatbread made of yuca flour."

Habichuelas con dulce is made with red beans, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, evaporated milk, raisins, sugar and salt. The beans are boiled with cinnamon sticks and sweet cloves and then blended to the consistency of soup. The coconut milk and evaporated milk are added along with cooked sweet potato chunks. Cloves and ginger can also be added as flavorings. (Full article...)

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A common coquí (Eleutherodactylus coqui), arguably the most recognizable species of Puerto Rico's fauna

The fauna of Puerto Rico is similar to other island archipelago faunas, with high endemism, and low, skewed taxonomic diversity. Bats are the only extant native terrestrial mammals in Puerto Rico. All other terrestrial mammals in the area were introduced by humans, and include species such as cats, goats, sheep, the small Indian mongoose, and escaped monkeys. Marine mammals include dolphins, manatees, and whales. Of the 349 bird species, about 120 breed in the archipelago, and 47.5% are accidental or rare.

The most recognizable and famous animal of Puerto Rico is probably the common coquí, a small endemic frog, and one of the 86 species that constitute Puerto Rico's herpetofauna. Some native freshwater fish inhabit Puerto Rico, but some species, introduced by humans, have established populations in reservoirs and rivers. The low richness-high diversity pattern is also apparent among invertebrates, which constitutes most of the archipelago's fauna. (Full article...)

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Credit: Dr. Ted Hill, Port of Spain.

Steelband in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the early 1950s.

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The music of Cuba, including its instruments, performance, and dance, comprises a large set of unique traditions influenced mostly by west African and European (especially Spanish) music. Due to the syncretic nature of most of its genres, Cuban music is often considered one of the richest and most influential regional music in the world. For instance, the son cubano merges an adapted Spanish guitar (tres), melody, harmony, and lyrical traditions with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythms. Almost nothing remains of the original native traditions, since the native population was exterminated in the 16th century.

Since the 19th-century Cuban music has been hugely popular and influential throughout the world. It has been perhaps the most popular form of regional music since the introduction of recording technology. Cuban music has contributed to the development of a wide variety of genres and musical styles around the globe, most notably in Latin America, the Caribbean, West Africa, and Europe. Examples include rhumba, Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, soukous, many West African re-adaptations of Afro-Cuban music (Orchestra Baobab, Africando), Spanish fusion genres (notably with flamenco), and a wide variety of genres in Latin America. (Full article...)

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