Commonwealth Caribbean

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The term Commonwealth Caribbean is used to refer to the independent English-speaking countries of the Caribbean region. Upon a country's full independence from the United Kingdom, Anglophone Caribbean or Commonwealth Caribbean traditionally becomes the preferred sub-regional term as a replacement to British West Indies.[1]

Territories included[edit]

The independent island-nations that are considered as Commonwealth Caribbean include:

Anglophone Caribbean also refers to the independent English-speaking countries known as the "Mainland Caribbean". These include:

Sometimes, it also includes the current Caribbean British overseas territories, although they are usually just referred to as the "British West Indies," and they include:

The Anglophone Caribbean can also include:

Bermuda is often excluded from the term "Anglophone Caribbean" due to its location in the North Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly Danish West Indies) and the English-speaking islands of the Dutch West Indies, although in the Caribbean, are often excluded due to their lack of a British colonial heritage. In the present-day U.S. Virgin Islands, the Danish never imposed their language on their Caribbean colonies to the extent of Great Britain, France and Spain. The Dutch adopted a similar policy toward their colonies of St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius, and as a result, English is predominant and an official language (along with Dutch). On the northern French half of the island of Saint Martin, French historical influence was also minimal, so English continues to be predominant, although French remains the sole official language. Although English is an official language of Puerto Rico, Spanish is the primary language, and so therefore Puerto Rico is usually considered part of Hispanic America.

At one point in time, there was a short-lived federation between several Anglophone Caribbean countries, called the West Indies Federation.

The Anglophone Caribbean makes up a composite cricket team. The West Indies cricket team also includes Guyana, as another former British colony. Bermuda, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the English-speaking Dutch West Indies also participate in Anglophone Caribbean-related sports activities such as 20/20 Cricket.

Informal Anglophone communities in Central America[edit]

In addition to these formally recognized countries, there are substantial communities of Anglo-Caribbean origin along the Atlantic or Caribbean coast of Central America, as a part of the Western Caribbean Zone. These communities, which began forming in the seventeenth century, include areas of Nicaragua and Honduras that made up the Miskito Kingdom which was under British protection after 1740, the Garifuna community which was deported to the coast in 1797 and took up English as its language, and the many and numerous Anglophone Caribbean people who were brought to Central America by the canal companies (the French and American Panama canal efforts), railroad companies, and particularly the fruit companies, such as United Fruit after the 1870s and particularly in the first decades of the twentieth century. Many have never fully integrated into the otherwise Spanish-speaking communities in which they reside, such as the Caracoles of Honduras.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff writer (1989). "The Commonwealth Caribbean". Library of Congress, USA. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 

Further reading[edit]