Portal:Caribbean

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The Caribbean (/ˌkærɪˈbən, kəˈrɪbiən/, locally /ˈkærɪbiæn/; Spanish: Caribe; French: Caraïbes; Haitian Creole: Karayib; Dutch: Caraïben; Papiamento: Karibe) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of which lie within the Caribbean Sea and some of which lie on the edge of the Caribbean Sea where it borders the North Atlantic Ocean). The region lies southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and of the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

The region, situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, has more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays (see the list of Caribbean islands). Three island arcs delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea: The Greater Antilles to the north, and the Lesser Antilles and Leeward Antilles to the south and east. Together with the nearby Lucayan Archipelago, these island arcs make up the West Indies. The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are sometimes considered to be a part of the Caribbean, even though they are neither within the Caribbean Sea nor on its border. Several regions of mainland South and Central America are also often seen as part of the Caribbean because of their political and cultural ties with the region. These include: Belize, Nicaragua, the Caribbean region of Colombia, Cozumel, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, and The Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Guayana Region in Venezuela, and Amapá in Brazil)

A mostly tropical geography, the climates are greatly shaped by sea temperatures and precipitation, with the hurricane season regularly leading to natural disasters. Because of its tropical climate and low-lying island geography, the Caribbean is vulnerable to a number of climate change effects, including increased storm intensity, saltwater intrusion, sea level rise and coastal erosion, and precipitation variability. These weather changes will greatly change the economies of the islands, and especially the major industries of agricultural and tourism.

The Caribbean was occupied by indigenous people since at least 6000 BC. When European colonization followed the arrival of Columbus, the population was quickly decimated by brutal labour practices, enslavement and disease and on many islands, Europeans supplanted the native populations with enslaved Africans. Following the independence of Haiti from France in the early 19th century and the decline of slavery in the 19th century, island nations in the Caribbean gradually gained independence, with a wave of new states during the 1950s and 60s. Because of the proximity to the United States, there is also a long history of United States intervention in the region. (Full article...)

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Battle scene with French soldiers from frigates firing on the British garrison

The Invasion of Dominica (7 September 1778) was a successful French invasion of the island of Dominica in the British West Indies, during the American Revolutionary War. The action took place before British authorities in the Caribbean were aware that France had entered the war as an ally of the United States of America. The French governor in the West Indies, François Claude Amour, marquis de Bouillé, was notified on 17 August that France was at war, and organized the invasion, infiltrating spies to rally sympathetic French-speaking Dominican support.

Early on 7 September 1778, French forces landed on the southeastern coast of the island. They rapidly took over some of the island's defenses, and eventually gained control of the high ground overlooking the island capital, Roseau. Lieutenant Governor William Stuart then surrendered the remaining forces. Dominica remained in French hands until the end of the war, when it was returned to British control. (Full article...)

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Curaçao (/ˈkjʊərəs, -s, ˌkjʊərəˈs, -ˈs/ KEWR-əss-oh, -⁠ow, -⁠OH, -⁠OW; Dutch: [kyraːˈsʌu, kur-] (About this soundlisten); Papiamento: Kòrsou, [ˈkɔrsɔu̯]) is a Lesser Antilles island country in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km (40 mi) north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Together with Aruba and Bonaire it forms the ABC islands. Collectively, Curaçao, Aruba and other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean.

The country was formerly part of the Curaçao and Dependencies colony from 1815 to 1954 and later the Netherlands Antilles from 1954 to 2010, as "Island Territory of Curaçao" (Dutch: Eilandgebied Curaçao, Papiamento: Teritorio Insular di Kòrsou) and is now formally called the Country of Curaçao (Dutch: Land Curaçao, Papiamento: Pais Kòrsou). It includes the main island of Curaçao and the much smaller, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao"). Curaçao has a population of 158,665 (January 2019 est.) and an area of 444 km2 (171 sq mi); its capital is Willemstad. (Full article...)

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Antigua and Barbuda cuisine refers to the cuisines of the Caribbean islands Antigua and Barbuda. The national dish is fungie (pronounced "foon-jee") and pepperpot. Fungie is a dish similar to Italian Polenta, made mostly with cornmeal. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish and lobster (from Barbuda). There are also local confectionaries which include: sugarcake, fudge, raspberry and tamarind stew and peanut brittle.

Although these foods are indigenous to Antigua and Barbuda and to some other Caribbean countries, the local diet has diversified and now include local dishes of Jamaica, such as jerk meats, or Trinidad, such as Roti, and other Caribbean countries. (Full article...)

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  • ...that Eastern Cuban cuisine forms the basis of criollo cooking, which shares a great deal of recipes with other Caribbean cuisines, but has the distinctive difference of making almost no use of peppers?

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The Lesser Antillean macaw or Guadeloupe macaw (Ara guadeloupensis) is a hypothetical extinct species of macaw that is thought to have been endemic to the Lesser Antillean island region of Guadeloupe. In spite of the absence of conserved specimens, many details about the Lesser Antillean macaw are known from several contemporary accounts, and the bird is the subject of some illustrations. Austin Hobart Clark described the species on the basis of these accounts in 1905. Due to the lack of physical remains, and the possibility that sightings were of macaws from the South American mainland, doubts have been raised about the existence of this species. A phalanx bone from the island of Marie-Galante confirmed the existence of a similar-sized macaw inhabiting the region prior to the arrival of humans and was correlated with the Lesser Antillean macaw in 2015. Later that year, historical sources distinguishing between the red macaws of Guadeloupe and the scarlet macaw (A. macao) of the mainland were identified, further supporting its validity.

According to contemporary descriptions, the body of the Lesser Antillean macaw was red and the wings were red, blue and yellow. The tail feathers were between 38 and 51 cm (15 and 20 in) long. Apart from the smaller size and the all-red coloration of the tail feathers, it resembled the scarlet macaw and may, therefore, have been a close relative of that species. The bird ate fruit – including the poisonous manchineel, was monogamous, nested in trees and laid two eggs once or twice a year. Early writers described it as being abundant in Guadeloupe, but it was becoming rare by 1760, and only survived in uninhabited areas. Disease and hunting by humans are thought to have eradicated it shortly afterward. The Lesser Antillean macaw is one of 13 extinct macaw species that have been proposed to have lived in the Caribbean islands. Many of these species are now considered dubious because only three are known from physical remains, and there are no extant endemic macaws on the islands today. (Full article...)

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Voters queue to cast their vote during the Haitian general election, 2006
Credit: Robert Miller

Voters queue to cast their vote during the Haitian general election, 2006

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Merengue rhythm

Merengue is a type of music and dance originating in the Dominican Republic, which has become a very popular genre throughout Latin America, and also in several major cities in the United States with Latin communities. Merengue was inscribed on November 30, 2016 in the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Unesco.

Merengue was developed in the middle of the 1800s, originally played with European stringed instruments (bandurria and guitar). Years later, the stringed instruments were replaced by the accordion, thus conforming, together with the güira and the tambora, the instrumental structure of the typical merengue ensemble. This set, with its three instruments, represents the synthesis of the three cultures that made up the idiosyncrasy of Dominican culture. The European influence is represented by the accordion, the African by the tambora, which is a two-head drum, and the Taino or aboriginal by the güira. (Full article...)

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