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Playa de Cayo Levantado
Playa de Cayo Levantado

The Caribbean (/ˌkærɪˈbən, kəˈrɪbiən/ KARR-ih-BEE-ən, kə-RIB-ee-ən, locally /ˈkærɪbæn/ KARR-ih-bee-an; Spanish: el Caribe; French: les Caraïbes; Dutch: de Caraïben) is a subregion of the Americas that includes the Caribbean Sea and its islands, some of which are surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some of which border both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean; the nearby coastal areas on the mainland are sometimes also included in the region. The region is south-east of the Gulf of Mexico and Northern America, 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. Island arcs delineate the northern and eastern edges of the Caribbean Sea: the Greater Antilles in the north and the Lesser Antilles, which includes the Leeward Antilles, in the east and south. The nearby Lucayan Archipelago, comprising The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, is considered to be a part of the Caribbean despite not bordering the Caribbean Sea. All the islands in the Antilles plus the Lucayan Archipelago form the West Indies, which is often interchangeable with the term Caribbean. On the mainland, Belize, the eastern and northern coasts of Central and South American countries such as the Bay Islands Department of Honduras, the North and South Caribbean Autonomous Regions of Nicaragua, the Limón Province of Costa Rica, and the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina of Colombia are also considered culturally Caribbean. French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, and Suriname are often included as parts of the Caribbean due to their political and cultural ties with the region.

Geopolitically, the islands of the Caribbean are often regarded as a subregion of North America, though sometimes they are included in Middle America or left as a subregion of their own; alternately, the term "Caribbean" may have the intended exclusion, or even unintentional inclusion, as part of Latin America. Generally the Caribbean area is organized into 33 political entities, including 13 sovereign states, 12 dependencies, historical disputed territories have existed, and seven other overseas territories. From 15 December 1954 to 10 October 2010, there was a territory known as the Netherlands Antilles composed of five islands, all of which were Dutch dependencies. From 3 January 1958 to 31 May 1962, there was also a short-lived political union called the British West Indies Federation composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then British dependencies. (Full article...)

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FRONT - 100 Pesos bank note of 1894 Banco Español de Puerto Rico.

The currencies of Puerto Rico closely follow the historic development of Puerto Rico. As a Province of Spain (Autonomous Community) and a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico was granted the use of both foreign and provincial currencies. Following the Spanish colonization in 1508, Puerto Rico became an important port, with its own supply of gold. However, as the mineral reserves ran empty within the century, the archipelago's economy suffered. The Spanish Crown issued the Situado Mexicano, which meant that a semi-regular shipment of gold from the Viceroyalty of New Spain would be sent to the island, as a way to provide economic support. Between 1636 and 1637, Philip IV of Spain imposed a tax which had to be paid using a revenue stamp. Inspired by this, Puerto Rico began producing banknotes in 1766, becoming the first Overseas Province to print 8-real banknotes in the Spanish Empire and which in the Spanish government's approval of subsequent issues.

The situado was discontinued during the 19th century, creating an economic crisis, as a result of Mexico gaining its independence from Spain. Salvador Meléndez Bruna, the colonial governor in office, ordered the issue of provincial banknotes, creating the Puerto Rican peso. However, printing of these banknotes ceased after 1815. During the following decades, foreign coins became the widespread currency. In the 1860s and 1870s, banknotes reemerged. On February 1, 1890, the Banco Español de Puerto Rico was inaugurated and began issuing banknotes. The bank designed four series and placed three in circulation under Spanish rule. In 1895, a Royal Decree ordered the production of provincial peso coins. (Full article...)

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The Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina (Spanish: Archipiélago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina, pronounced [aɾtʃiˈpjelaɣo ðe ˌsan anˈdɾes pɾoβiˈðensja j ˌsanta kataˈlina]), or San Andrés and Providencia, is one of the departments of Colombia, and the only one located geographically in Central America. It consists of two island groups in the Caribbean Sea about 775 km (418 nmi; 482 mi) northwest of mainland Colombia, and eight outlying banks and reefs. The largest island of the archipelago and Colombia is called San Andrés and its capital is San Andrés. The other large islands are Providencia and Santa Catalina Islands which lie to the north-east of San Andrés; their capital is Santa Isabel. (Full article...)

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Duckunoo or duckanoo, also referred to as tie-a-leaf, blue drawers (draws), dokonon (in French Guiana), and dukunou (in Haiti) is a dessert in Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, French Guiana and some other Lesser Antilles. It is a variation on the dish ducana which originated in Africa. The Caribbean cuisine dish is made from batata, sweet potato, coconut, spices and brown sugar, all tied up in a banana leaf. It is then cooked in boiling water.[excessive citations]

Duckanoo is a relatively new name for some that was added to the name "tie a leaf". However, the names vary depending on location in various islands. "Ducana" is the Antiguan/Barbudan as well as some of the smaller Caribbean islands name of this dumpling or dessert. (Full article...)

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  • ...that the Carretera Central is an east-west highway spanning the length of the island of Cuba?


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Acrocomia aculeata

The palm family, Arecaceae, is widespread in the Caribbean. Globally there are about 191 genera and 2339 species as reported in 2004 by Carlo Morici. Their distribution is biased toward islands – 36% of genera and 52% of species are found only on islands, while 32% of genera and 6% of species are found only on continents. Sixty-two percent of monotypic genera are found only on islands.

Phytogeographically, the Caribbean region is often considered to include the coastal plains of the United States (including south Florida), Mexico (especially the Yucatan), Belize, Colombia and Venezuela. Most species either have a wide distribution which includes part of the Caribbean, or are endemic to the Greater Antilles. Of the islands in the Caribbean, Cuba has the most species of palm, followed by Hispaniola. The Windward and Leeward Islands have the fewest. The palm flora of Trinidad and Tobago consists primarily of species with a South American distribution. Three genera of palm are endemic to the Greater Antilles: Calyptronoma, Hemithrinax and Zombia. Although nearly ubiquitous in the region, the coconut (Cocos nucifera) is not native to the Caribbean. The Caribbean species in the genus Copernicia are all Greater Antillean endemics; two species are restricted to Hispaniola, while the others are restricted to Cuba.

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Tortola, BVI - 2006 photo: Henry A-W
Tortola, BVI - 2006 photo: Henry A-W
Credit: Henry aw

View of the sea from Tortola, the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands.

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Jaime Colson, Merengue, 1938

Merengue is a type of music and dance originating in present day Dominican Republic which has become a very popular genre throughout Latin America, and also in several major cities in the United States with Latino communities. Merengue was inscribed on November 30, 2016 in the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.

Merengue was developed in the middle of the 1800s, originally played with European stringed instruments (bandurria and guitar). Years later, the stringed instruments were replaced by the accordion, thus conforming, together with the güira and the tambora, the instrumental structure of the typical merengue ensemble. This set, with its three instruments, represents the synthesis of the three cultures that made up the idiosyncrasy of Dominican culture. The European influence is represented by the accordion, the African by the Tambora, which is a two-head drum, and the Taino or aboriginal by the güira. (Full article...)

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The following are images from various Caribbean-related articles on Wikipedia.

Caribbean topics


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