Portal:Caribbean Information

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Playa de Cayo Levantado
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The Caribbean ( /ˌkærɪˈbən, kəˈrɪbiən/, locally /ˈkærɪbiæn/; Spanish: El Caribe; French: les Caraïbes; Haitian Creole: Karayib; Dutch: De Caraïben; Papiamento: Karibe) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean) and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region has more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays (see the list of Caribbean islands). Island arcs delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea: the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (which includes the Leeward Antilles). They form the West Indies with the nearby Lucayan Archipelago ( The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands), which are sometimes considered to be a part of the Caribbean despite not bordering the Caribbean Sea. On the mainland, 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) are often included due to their political and cultural ties with the region.

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 3600 BC. When European colonization followed the arrival of Columbus, the population was quickly decimated by brutal labor 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. Read more...

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Allen in May 2011

Sir Patrick Linton Allen ON GCMG CD KStJ (born 7 February 1951) is a Jamaican pastor who is the current Governor-General of Jamaica.

The fourth of five children in a family of subsistence farmers, Allen spent over a decade as a teacher and principal, before leaving education to be trained as an Adventist minister at Andrews University in the United States. After becoming a pastor, Allen went on to serve in a number of leadership roles within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, eventually becoming the leader of the West Indies Union of Seventh-day Adventists, which had jurisdiction over Jamaica, The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Read more...

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The Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina ( Spanish: Archipiélago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina, pronounced  [aɾtʃiˈpjelaɣo ðe ˌsan anˈdɾes pɾoβiˈðensja i ˌsanta kataˈlina]), or, in everyday language, San Andrés and Providencia, is one of the departments of Colombia. It consists of two island groups in the Caribbean Sea about 775 km (482 mi) northwest of mainland Colombia, and eight outlying banks and reefs. The largest island of the archipelago is called San Andrés and its capital is San Andrés. The other large islands are Providencia and Santa Catalina Islands which lie to the north-east of San Andrés; their capital is Santa Isabel. Read more...

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Duckunoo or duckanoo, also referred to as tie-a-leaf and blue drawers (draws), called Dokonon (in French Guiana), is a dessert in Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, French Guiana and some other Lesser Antilles. It is a variation on the dish ducana which originated in Africa. The Caribbean cuisine dish is made from batata, sweet potato, coconut, spices and brown sugar, all tied up in a banana leaf. It is then cooked in boiling water.[ excessive citations]

Duckanoo is a relatively new name for some that was added to the name "tie a leaf". However, the names vary depending on location in various islands. "Ducana" is the Antiguan/Barbudan as well as some of the smaller Caribbean islands name of this dumpling or dessert. Read more...

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  • ...that the Carretera Central is an east-west highway spanning the length of the island of Cuba?
  • ...that Trenchtown, a neighbourhood in Kingston, Jamaica, gets its name from a large open-trenched sewer that ran through the neighbourhood?

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A common coquí (Eleutherodactylus coqui), arguably the most recognizable species of Puerto Rico's fauna

The fauna of Puerto Rico is similar to other island archipelago faunas, with high endemism, and low, skewed taxonomic diversity. Bats are the only extant native terrestrial mammals in Puerto Rico. All other terrestrial mammals in the area were introduced by humans, and include species such as cats, goats, sheep, the small Asian mongoose, and escaped monkeys. Marine mammals include dolphins, manatees, and whales. Of the 349 bird species, about 120 breed in the archipelago, and 47.5% are accidental or rare.

The most recognizable and famous animal of Puerto Rico is probably the common coquí, a small endemic frog, and one of the 86 species that constitute Puerto Rico's herpetofauna. Some native freshwater fish inhabit Puerto Rico, but some species, introduced by humans, have established populations in reservoirs and rivers. The low richness-high diversity pattern is also apparent among invertebrates, which constitutes most of the archipelago's fauna. Read more...

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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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The music of Cuba, including its instruments, performance and dance, comprises a large set of unique traditions influenced mostly by west African and European (especially Spanish) music. Due to the syncretic nature of most of its genres, Cuban music is often considered one of the richest and most influential regional musics of the world. For instance, the son cubano merges an adapted Spanish guitar (tres), melody, harmony, and lyrical traditions with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythms. Almost nothing remains of the original native traditions, since the native population was exterminated in the 16th century.

Since the 19th century Cuban music has been hugely popular and influential throughout the world. It has been perhaps the most popular form of regional music since the introduction of recording technology. Cuban music has contributed to the development of a wide variety of genre and musical styles around the globe, most notably in Latin America, the Caribbean, West Africa and Europe. Examples include rhumba, Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, soukous, many West African re-adaptations of Afro-Cuban music ( Orchestra Baobab, Africando), Spanish fusion genres (notably with flamenco), and a wide variety of genres in Latin America. Read more...

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