Q:

What are the Lesser Antilles islands?

A:

Quick Answer

The Lesser Antilles islands are a group of small islands that make up part of the West Indies in the Caribbean. The Lesser Antilles are divided up into two groups, the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands.

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Full Answer

The chain of the Lesser Antilles islands begins in the Virgin Islands, and wraps in a southerly direction around the eastern Caribbean. The chain ends near Trinidad and Tobago, at South America. Some of the more familiar islands in the Lesser Antilles include:

  • St. Martin
  • Antigua
  • Barbados
  • St. Lucia
  • Martinique

The two groups of the islands, Windward and Leeward, trace back to early Spanish colonization in the area which began in the 15th century. The islands that flow in a southerly direction from Dominica to Grenada are the Windward Islands. They get their name because they are exposed to the northeast trade winds. The Leeward Islands are made up of the ones that move in a westward direction from Guadalupe to the Virgin Islands. Since these islands are away from the winds, or on the "lee" side, the name Leeward Islands was coined.

Since these islands have gone through centuries of deforestation and extensive agricultural use, they are in a critical and endangered ecoregion status. Because the lines are blurred in regard to property and ownership rights, it is hard to enforce laws on unlawful cutting of trees or other forms of environmental vandalism.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where is the Caribbean?

    A:

    The Caribbean, also commonly called the West Indies, is a region located between North and South America, as well as east of Central America in the Caribbean Sea. The name "Caribbean" refers to all land and water in the region.

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  • Q:

    What islands make up the Greater Antilles?

    A:

    The five island nations that make up the Greater Antilles are Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. The Dominican Republic and Haiti are separate nations, but both are located on one island, Hispaniola.

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  • Q:

    Why are the Caribbean Islands called the West Indies?

    A:

    The Caribbean islands are called the West Indies to correct the name, Indies, mistakenly given by Christopher Columbus. Columbus thought he had reached the Indies of Asia.

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  • Q:

    How many islands make up the Caribbean?

    A:

    There are over 7,000 islands that are found in the Caribbean. Most of these islands are part of different territories and also are in different geographical groups like the Lesser and Greater Antilles. Although some islands like Puerto Rico are territories of certain countries, others are independent nations.

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