Often described as the West Indies, the Caribbean archipelago is one of the worlds best yachting locations, and is ideal for year round sunny holidays with its tropical beaches that are spread over approximately 1 million square miles.
Brush up your worldly knowledge with these 18 interesting facts about the Caribbean:
- Although already populated by Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, it was then discovered by the European explorer Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492.
- The first island Columbus discovered was the Bahamas.
- It is estimated that during the initial Spanish conquest of the Americas up to eight million indigenous people died, primarily through the spread of diseases, in a series of events that have been described as the first large-scale act of genocide of the modern era. (Source Wikipedia).
- Between 1662 and 1807 Britain shipped 3.1 million Africans across the Atlantic Ocean in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Africans were forcibly brought to British owned colonies in the Caribbean and sold as slaves to work on plantations. Those engaged in the trade were driven by the huge financial gain to be made, both in the Caribbean and at home in Britain. (Source – National Archives).
- The Caribbean region lies to the east of Central America and north of South America, and south east of the Gulf of Mexico.
- The Caribbean contains not only 13 independent Island nations, but also includes countries from Central America – Belize, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Panama.
- The largest island in the Caribbean is Cuba – covering an area of 109,884 km².
- Cuba is also the most populated with over 11 million citizens.
- The island with the smallest number of inhabitants is Montserrat with an estimate of just 5000 (July 2017).
- However, the smallest country is St Kitts and Nevis. It’s also the smallest country in North America.
- Just like the European Union, the Caribbean has a Single Market and Economy; it’s called Caricom.
- There are just 3 Caribbean islands that use Spanish as the dominant language – Cuba, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo. The others speak English, Dutch and French.
- The Caribbean island of Saba is home to the shortest runway in the world – its just 400 meters long!
Fun Caribbean facts
- The first James Bond film, Dr. No was set in and partly filmed in Jamaica.
- The author Ian Fleming lived on the island at his home “GoldenEye” – now a luxurious hotel.
- Looking for marine life? Belize is home to the world’s second biggest coral reef. It’s 190 miles long with plenty to see for every level of scuba diver!
- Famous for rum, the Caribbean is produces over 70 different brands. Have you got a favourite?
- The Caribbean is the cultural home of some amazing party music – reggae, soca, calypso and salsa.
Do you know any fun, strange or interesting facts about the Caribbean you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!
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