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Lucayan Archipelago

Coordinates: 23°44′N 75°22′W / 23.74°N 75.37°W / 23.74; -75.37
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Lucayan Archipelago
Location within the Caribbean
Location within the Caribbean
Coordinates: 23°44′N 75°22′W / 23.74°N 75.37°W / 23.74; -75.37
ContinentNorth America
Countries and territories
 • Total14,308 km2 (5,524 sq mi)
 • Total443,000
 • Density24.6/km2 (64/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Bahamian, Turks Islander, Caicos Islander
Time zoneUTC−05:00 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−04:00 (EDT)

The Lucayan Archipelago, also known as the Bahamian Archipelago, is an island group comprising the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The archipelago is in the western North Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba and the other Antillean Islands, and east and south-east of Florida.

William Keegan writes: "Modern political considerations aside, the islands form a single archipelago with common geological, ecological, and cultural roots."[1] Though part of the West Indies, the Lucayan Archipelago is not located on the Caribbean Sea.

Countries and territories


The Mouchoir Bank, the Silver Bank, and the Navidad Bank are a submerged continuation of the archipelago, to the southeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands.[2] Mouchoir Bank is disputed between the Turks and Caicos Islands and Dominican Republic; Silver Bank and Navidad Bank are part of the Dominican Republic.

Etymologies of island names


The Lucayan Archipelago was named for the original native Lucayan people. Julian Granberry and Gary Vescelius suggest the following Lucayan (Taíno) etymologies for various Lucayan islands.[3]

Indigenous name Modern name Taíno form Meaning
Inagua Inagua i+na+wa Small Eastern Land
Baneque Inagua ba+ne+ke Big Water Island
Guanahaní Little Inagua wa+na+ha+ni Small Upper Waters Land
Utiaquia Ragged Island huti+ya+kaya Western Hutia Island
Jume(n)to Crooked/Jumento ha+wo+ma+te Upper Land of the Middle Distance
Curateo Exuma ko+ra+te+wo Outer Far Distant Land
Guaratía Exuma wa+ra+te+ya Far Distant Land
Babueca Turks Bank ba+we+ka Large Northern Basin
Cacina Big Sand Cay ka+si+na Little Northern Sand
Canamani Salt Cay ka+na+ma+ni Small Northern Mid-Waters
Cacumani Salt Cay ka+ko+ma+ni Mid-Waters Northern Outlier
Macareque Cotton Cay Ma+ka+ri+ke Middle Northern Land
Amuana Grand Turk aba+wa+na First Small Land
Caciba South Caicos ka+siba Northern Rocky
Guana East Caicos wa+na Small Country
Aniana Middle Caicos a+ni+ya+na Small Far Waters
Caicos North Caicos ka+i+ko Nearby Northern Outlier
Buiana Pine Cay bu+ya+na Small Western Home
Boniana Pine Cays bo+ni+ya+na Small Western Waters Home
Yucanacan Providenciales yuka+na+ka The Peoples Small Northern [Land]
Ianicana Providenciales ya+ni+ka+na Far Waters Smaller [Land]
Macubiza West Caicos ma+ko+bi+sa Mid Unsettled Outlier
Mayaguana Mayaguana ma+ya+wa+na Lesser Midwestern Land
Amaguayo Plana Cays a+ma+wa+yo Toward the Middle Lands
Yabaque Acklins Island ya+ba+ke Large Western Land
Samana Samana sa+ma+na Small Middle Forest
Yuma Long Island yu+ma Higher Middle
Manigua Rum Cay ma+ni+wa Mid Waters Land
Guanahaní San Salvador wa+na+ha+hi Small Upper Waters Land
Guateo Little San Salvador wa+te+yo Toward the Distant Land
Guanima Cat Island wa+ni+ma Middle Waters Land
Ayrabo Great Guana Cay ay+ra+bo Far Distant Home
Nema New Providence ne+ma Middle Waters
Ciguateo Eleuthera siba+te+wo Distant Rocky Place
Lucayoneque Great Abaco luka+ya+ne+ke The People's Distant Waters Land
Bahama Grand Bahama ba+ha+ma Large Upper Middle [Land]
Habacoa Andros ha+ba+ko+wa Large Upper Outlier Land
Canimisi Williams Island ka+ni+misi Northern Waters Swamp
Bimini Bimini bimini The Twins

See also



  1. ^ Keegan:20, 183
  2. ^ Carew, James; Mylroie, John (1997). Vacher, H.L.; Quinn, T. (eds.). Geology of Bahamas, in Geology and Hydrology of Carbonate Islands, Developments in Sedimentology 54. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science B.V. pp. 91-139. ISBN 9780444516442.
  3. ^ Granberry, Julian, & Gary Vescelius (2004). Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-5123-X.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)


  • Granberry, Julian (October 1991). "Lucayan Toponyms". Journal of the Bahamas Historical Society. 13. Retrieved 8 December 2013.

Further reading

  • Keegan, William F. (1992) The People Who Discovered Columbus: The Prehistory of the Bahamas. University Press of Florida ISBN 0-8130-1137-X