Spanish West Indies

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Spanish West Indies
Las Antillas Occidentales
Antillas Españolas
Spanish colony

1492–1898
Flag Coat of arms
A map of the Spanish West Indies
Capital Santo Domingo (1511-1764)
Languages Spanish
Religion Roman Catholicism
Political structure Colony
Monarch
 -  1500-1598 Philip II
 -  1896-1898 Alfonso XIII
Historical era Spanish colonization
 -  Established 1492
 -  Treaty of Paris 1898
Currency Peso Espanol
Preceded by
Succeeded by
New Spain
Bay Islands
Colony of Jamaica
Cayman Islands
Saint-Domingue
Trinidad
Dominican Republic
United States Protectorate over Cuba
Puerto Rico

The Spanish West Indies (also known as "Las Antillas Occidentales" or simply "Antillas Españolas" in Spanish) was the contemporary name for the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean.

It consisted of the present day nations of Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, the Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, Guadalupe and the Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad, and the Bay Islands.

The islands that later became the Spanish West Indies were the focus of the voyages of Christopher Columbus in America. Largely due to the familiarity that Europeans gained from Columbus's voyages, the islands were also the first lands to be permanently colonized by Europeans in the Americas. The Spanish West Indies were also the most enduring part of Spain's American Empire, only being surrendered in 1898 at the end of the Spanish-American War. For over three centuries, Spain controlled a network of ports in the Caribbean including Havana (Cuba), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), and Veracruz (Mexico) which were connected by galleon routes.

Some smaller islands were ceded to other European powers as a result of war, or diplomatic agreements during the 17th and 18th centuries. Others such as Dominican Republic gained their independence in the 19th century.

Change of Sovereignty or Independence[edit]

Spanish Caribbean[edit]

Location of the Spanish Caribbean.

The Spanish Caribbean or Hispanophone Caribbean, refers to the Spanish-speaking areas in the Caribbean Sea, namely Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. It includes regions where Spanish is the main language, and where a history of Spanish settlement and colonization influences culture, through religion, language, cuisine, and so on. It may also include South Florida, where the Spanish language is widely used.

The term is used in contrast to Anglophone Caribbean and French Caribbean, two other cultural areas which refer to colonial heritage and language. The phrase, thus, excludes countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, and the Lesser Antilles. The Hispanophone Caribbean is a part of the wider Hispanic America, which is in turn part of still-larger Latin America.

While the Spanish Caribbean countries are widely considered to be part of Latin America, it is sometimes spoken of as a region distinct from Latin America, as in the phrase "Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish-speaking areas)"

"The Spanish Caribbean", refers primarily to:[1]

It may also include South Florida, a region where there has been significant migration from Spanish Caribbean.

Historically, during the period of Spanish settlement and colonization of the New World, the Spanish West Indies referred to those settlements in islands of the Caribbean Sea under political administration of Spain, as in the phrase "a 1765 cedula authorized seven sea ports, in addition to the port of San Juan, to trade with the Spanish Caribbean."[2] Until the early 19th century these territories were part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

See also[edit]

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