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  • The Caribbean Islands

    A vast volcanic mountain chain lies along the floor of the Caribbean Sea. The tops of some of the mountains extend beyond the water to form many of the islands of the region. Other islands are cays (pronounced keez), low-lying coral islands, formed over thousands of years from the accumulation the skeletal remains of tiny sea animals.

    The islands of the region are divided into three main groups—the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles. The Bahamas is an archipelago or a group of 700 islands north of the Caribbean Sea. People inhabit only about thirty of the Bahamian islands. South of the Bahamas are the largest islands of the Caribbean, called the Greater Antilles. The Greater Antilles include Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Hispañola. The largest islands of the Greater Antilles have rugged mountains and lush, thick rain forests. Hispañola is home to two nations: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Most of the rest of the Caribbean islands form an arc that stretches from Puerto Rico to the coast of South America. These islands are known as the Lesser Antilles.



    Download this lesson as Microsoft Word file or as an Adobe Acrobat file.

    Mr. Donn has an excellent website that includes a section on the Caribbean.

    Largest Islands of the Caribbean

    Rank Island Area (sq. kilometers) Area sq. miles) Country or Countries
    1 Cuba 105,806 40,852 Cubs
    2 Hispanola 76,479 29,529 Haiti, Dominican Republic
    3 Jamaica 11,188 4320 Jamaica
    4 Puerto Rico 8896 3435 United States
    5 Trinidad 4827 1864 Trinidad and Tobago
    6 North Andros Island 3439 1328 Bahamas
    7 Isla de la Juventud 2237 864 Cuba
    8 Great Inagua Island 1543 596 Bahamas
    9 South Andros Island 1447 530 Bahamas
    10 Grand Bahama Island 1373 530 Bahamas
    11 Great Abaco Island 1144 442 Bahamas
    12 Martinique 1128 436 Martinique
    13 Isla Margarita 1020 394 Venezuela
    14 Basse-Terre 848 327 Guadeloupe
    15 Cayo Romano 777 300 Cuba
    16 Dominica 750 290 Dominica
    17 Gonâve 743 287 Haiti
    18 Cozumem 647 250 Mexico
    19 Saint Lucia 616 238 Saint Lucia
    20 Grande-Terre 587 226 Guadeloupe
    21 Little Abaco Island 559 216 Bahamas
    22 Eleuthera 518 200 Bahamas
    23 Acklins Island 497 192 Bahamas
    24 Long Island 448 173 Bahamas
    25 Curaçao 444 171 Curaçao
    26 Barbados 431 167 Barbados
    27 Cat Island 389 150 Bahamas
    28 Cayo Coco 370 143 Cuba
    29 Saint Vincent 345 133 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
    30 Cayo Sabinal 335 129 Cuba
    Caribbean Sea
    The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. The entire area of the Caribbean Sea, the numerous islands of the West Indies, and adjacent coasts are collectively known as the Caribbean.
    A cay (also spelled key) is a small, sandy island formed on the surface of a coral reef.


    Previous: The Caribbean: A New World Next: The Indentured Servants of the Caribbean
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