The Lesser Antilles (also known as the Caribbees) is the name given to a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Map of the Lesser Antilles (White)

Most form a long, partly volcanic island arc between the Greater Antilles to the north-west and the continent of South America. The islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Together, the Lesser Antilles and the Greater Antilles compose the Antilles (or the Caribbean in its narrowest definition). When combined with the Lucayan Archipelago, all three are known as the West Indies.

Geography Edit

The islands of the Lesser Antilles are divided into three groups. The two main groups are the Windward Islands in the south and the Leeward Islands in the north. The Windward Islands are so called because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving in the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds blow east to west. The trans-Atlantic currents and winds that provided the fastest route across the ocean brought these ships to the rough dividing line between the Windward and Leeward Islands. The third group is the Leeward Antilles in the west. These consist of the Dutch ABC islands just off the coast of Venezuela, plus a group of Venezuelan islands.

Political Divisions Edit

The Lesser Antilles are divided into eight independent nations and numerous dependent and non-sovereign states (which are politically associated with the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and the United States). Over one third of the total area and population of the Lesser Antilles lies within Trinidad and Tobago, a sovereign nation comprising the two southernmost islands of the Windward Island chain.

Sovereign States Edit

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Non-Sovereign States Edit

  • Anguilla (United Kingdom)
  • British Virgin Islands (United Kingdom)
  • Guadeloupe (France)
  • Martinique (France)
  • Montserrat (United Kingdom)
  • Saba (Netherlands)
  • Saint Barthélemy (France)
  • Saint Martin (France)
  • Saint Eustatius (Netherlands)
  • Saint Maarten (Netherlands)
  • United States Virgin Islands (United States)