Spanish West Indies
|Spanish West Indies
Las Antillas Occidentales
A map of the Spanish West Indies
|Capital||Santo Domingo (1511-1764)|
|Historical era||Spanish colonization|
|-||Treaty of Paris||1898|
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 
- The Bay Islands were ceded to England in 1643 and then to Honduras in 1860.
- Jamaica was lost to England in 1655, confirmed in the Treaty of Madrid (1670).
- The Cayman Islands were lost to England in the Treaty of Madrid (1670).
- Haiti was lost to France in the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697.
- Trinidad was lost to Great Britain in 1797, confirmed in the Treaty of Amiens in 1802.
- The Dominican Republic gained its independence in 1821 and again in 1865 from Spain, it was intermittently occupied by Haiti.
- Cuba was lost to the United States in 1898, after the Spanish-American War concluded by the Treaty of Paris (1898).
- Puerto Rico was lost to the United States in 1898, after the Spanish-American War concluded by the Treaty of Paris (1898).