The Caribbean is called the Desert Chain, which separates the Atlantic Ocean
from the Caribbean Sea, and is divided into the Lesser Antilles and the
Bahamas. Bermuda is often included in the Caribbean. The area got its name when
Christopher Columbus in 1492 began his first voyage across the
Atlantic. Columbus, with the ship Santa Maria, along with two other ships
searched the sea route to India. They knew the land by road and knew that there
were seas off India, but they did not know how to get there by sea. When
Columbus arrived in the Caribbean, he was convinced that he had come to
India. Hence the name Caribbean.
The countries have large trade deficits, high unemployment and are very
sensitive to the economy. Locally, tourism, sometimes in combination with
banking and duty-free trade, has led to economic prosperity. The desert chain
has a colonial past and is in part still associated with France, the
Netherlands, Great Britain and the United States. The Caribbean is also known as
Map of Caribbean
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Barthélemy
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Martin
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- St. Maarten
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- US Virgin Islands
Population and culture
Around 40 million people of different origins live in the Caribbean region on
a total area of around 220,000 km² (see below). In addition to the very few
remaining indigenous inhabitants, mainly people of African and European origin,
Creoles as well as Indians (especially in Trinidad and Tobago) and Chinese live
on the various islands of the Caribbean. Spanish with approx. 70% and English
with approx. 24% are the main languages of the Caribbean. French, Dutch and
various forms of Creole or Caribbean are also spoken (especially in everyday
Life expectancy averaged 72 years in 2013 and 26% of the population were
under 15, while 9% were over 65 years old. Although more people emigrated than
immigrated, the population density of 180 inhabitants per km² is relatively high
in global comparison.
Important Caribbean educational institutions are the "University of the West
Indies" and the "Center for Hotel and Tourism Management".
The soccer Caribbean championship is a biennial sporting event. In the
Caribbean cuisine, fish, legumes and spices are used in particular.
Tourism is one of the most important sources of income for the Caribbean
states. There are also many tax havens in the financial services sector, above
all on the Cayman Islands.
History and Discovery of the Caribbean
Before the discoveries in the 1st millennium BC. BC came Arawak - Indians
coming from Venezuela to the Caribbean islands. They spread north over Trinidad.
They were followed around 1500 years later by the warlike Caribs, who slowly
drove the Arawak from the Lesser Antilles. At the time of Christopher Columbus'
voyages of discovery, the Arawak settled the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola and the
Bahamas, while the Caribs inhabited the Lesser Antilles.
When Columbus landed on San Salvador (Bahamas) on behalf of the Spanish crown
in 1492, he was primarily in search of gold and other riches. But the Arawak
paid no attention to what Europeans viewed as wealth. So the Caribbean was
settled, but the conquistadors were soon drawn to the American continent. Little
by little the English, Dutch and French also settled. Even Denmark, Sweden and
Courland owned some colonies. St. Barthélemy was z. B. almost a century under
Swedish rule. Most of the native Indians eventually fell victim to diseases or
slavery that were brought in.
The Caribbean was especially active in the 17th and early 18th centuries for
buccaneers and pirates (so-called golden age of piracy). The small islands
offered the pirates, some of whom were freebooters on behalf of a king, numerous
hiding places and the Spanish treasure fleets were a good and worthwhile target.
Port Royal in Jamaica and the French settlement on Tortuga were real pirate