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Playa de Cayo Levantado
Location Caribbean.png

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 and the Lucayan Archipelago on the north and the Lesser Antilles and the on the south and east (which includes the Leeward Antilles). The Lucayan Archipelago (the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands), do not border the Caribbean Sea, but are still within the boundaries of the Caribbean region. 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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Hurricane Dennis on July 7 2005 1550 UTC.jpg

In early July 2005, Hurricane Dennis brushed Jamaica, bringing torrential rain and damaging floods to the island nation. Forming from a tropical depression on July 4, Dennis began impacting Jamaica three days later. Approximately 6,000 people evacuated from coastal and flood-prone areas prior to the storm's arrival while relief agencies allocated resources for recovery operations. Passing northeast of the island, impact from Dennis stemmed primarily from rainfall—accumulations peaked at 24.54 in (623 mm) and reached 1-in-50 year event levels. Widespread flooding and landslides damaged homes and isolated communities. Saint Thomas and Portland Parishes were hardest-hit; hundreds required evacuation as multiple rivers burst their banks.

Overall, 209,000 people were affected with 6,000 households requesting assistance. A week after Dennis, Hurricane Emily brought further rain to the island, exacerbating damage. Their combined effects damaged or destroyed 440 homes with total losses reaching J$5.976 billion (US$96.87 million), of which at least J$2.128 billion (US$34.5 million) can be attributed to Dennis alone. One person died due to flooding. Relief operations began before the hurricane subsided, and international communities provided further aid. The overall effects of Dennis were limited and the nation's economy sustained no major ramifications. Read more...

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Political Windward Islands. Clockwise: Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica.

The Windward Islands, also known as the Islands of Barlovento, are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles, within the West Indies. They lie south of the Leeward Islands, approximately between latitudes 10° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W. As a group they start from Dominica and reach southward to the north of Trinidad and Tobago and west of Barbados. Read more...

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A plate of jerk chicken (right), with rice, plantains, carrots and green beans

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica, in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice.

Some historians believe it was originally developed by Maroons, African slaves who escaped into the wilds of Jamaica when the British captured the island from Spain in 1655. Adapting to their new surroundings, the former slaves made use of the natural food sources available to them, creating the spicy sauce and slowly cooking the meat over a smoking wood fire. Other historians argue the case for the practice of jerking originating with the Amerindians in Jamaica from the Arawak and Taino tribes who intermingled with the Maroons. Read more...

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Constantine in Australia in November 1930

Learie Nicholas Constantine, Baron Constantine, MBE (21 September 1901 – 1 July 1971) was a West Indian cricketer, lawyer and politician who served as Trinidad's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and became the UK's first black peer. He played 18 Test matches before the Second World War and took the West Indies' first wicket in Test cricket. An advocate against racial discrimination, in later life he was influential in the passing of the 1965 Race Relations Act in Britain. He was knighted in 1962 and made a life peer in 1969.

Born in Trinidad, Constantine established an early reputation as a promising cricketer, and was a member of the West Indies teams that toured England in 1923 and 1928. Unhappy at the lack of opportunities for black people in Trinidad, he decided to pursue a career as a professional cricketer in England, and during the 1928 tour was awarded a contract with the Lancashire League club Nelson. He played for the club with distinction between 1929 and 1938, while continuing as a member of the West Indies Test team in tours of England and Australia. Although his record as a Test cricketer was less impressive than in other cricket, he helped to establish a uniquely West Indian style of play. He was chosen as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1939. Read more...

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Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea)
Credit: Jan Derk, March 2005

Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea)

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The music of Trinidad and Tobago is best known for its calypso music, soca music and steelpan. Calypso's internationally noted performances in the 1950s from native artists such as Lord Melody, Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow. The art form was most popularised at that time by Harry Belafonte. Along with folk songs and African- and Indian-based classical forms, cross-cultural interactions have produced other indigenous forms of music including soca, rapso, parang, chutney, and other derivative and fusion styles. There are also local communities which practice and experiment with international classical and pop music, often fusing them with local steelpan instruments.

MusicTT was established in 2014 to facilitate the business development and export activity of the music industry in Trinidad and Tobago. Read more...

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