Monday, August 12, 2013

The Caribbean

The Caribbean (/ˌkærɨˈbiːən/ or /kəˈrɪbiən/; Spanish: Caribe; Dutch:   Caraïben (help·info); French: Caraïbe or more commonly Antilles) is a region 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. ASUS F3M Laptop Keyboard 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 comprises more than 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. (See thelist.) Lenovo 63Y0047 Laptop Keyboard These islands generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea.[3]The Caribbean islands, consisting of the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), are part of the somewhat larger West Indies grouping, which also includes the Lucayan Archipelago (comprising the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands) north of the Greater Antilles and Caribbean Sea.  HP Pavilion dv6-3107ax Laptop Keyboard In a wider sense, the mainland countries of Belize and Guyana – historically and culturally part of the British West Indies– may be included. Geopolitically, the Caribbean islands are usually regarded as a subregion of North Americaand are organized into 30 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, SONY VAIO VGN-C2S Series Laptop Keyboard and dependencies. From January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then United Kingdom dependencies. The West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations. HP 488590-001 Laptop Keyboard The region takes its name from that of the Carib, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the Spanish conquest.[9] The two most prevalent pronunciations of "Caribbean" are kair-ə-bee-ən, with the primary accent on the third syllable, and kə-rib-ee-ən, with the accent on the second.[10] TOSHIBA P000482730 Laptop Keyboard The former pronunciation is the older of the two, although the stressed-second-syllable variant has been established for over seventy-five years.[11]It has been suggested that speakers of British English prefer kair-ə-bee-ən while North American speakers more typically use kə-rib-ee-ən,[12] although not all sources agree.[13] Usage is split within Caribbean English itself.  SONY 147977821 Laptop Keyboard The word "Caribbean" has multiple uses. Its principal ones are geographical and political. The Caribbean can also be expanded to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to slavery, European colonisation, and the plantation system. The United Nations geoscheme for the Americas accords the Caribbean as a distinct region within The Americas. TOSHIBA Tecra M9-S5514 Laptop Keyboard Physiographically, the Caribbean region is mainly a chain of islands surrounding the Caribbean Sea. To the north, the region is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and the Northern Atlantic Ocean, which lies to the east and northeast. To the south, lies the coastline of the continent of South America  GATEWAY NV-54 Laptop Keyboard Politically, the "Caribbean" may be centred on socio-economic groupings found in the region. For example, the block known as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) contains the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, the Republic of Suriname in South America, and Belize in Central America as full members. Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are in the Atlantic Ocean are associate members FUJITSU Lifebook P1510 Laptop Keyboard
  • of the Caribbean Community—as is theCommonwealth of the Bahamas, which is a full member of the Caribbean Community.
Alternatively, the organisation called the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) consists of almost every nation in the surrounding regions that lie on the Caribbean, plus El Salvador, which lies solely on the Pacific Ocean. According to the ACS, the total population of its member states is 227 million people.  FUJITSU Lifebook P1610 Laptop Keyboard The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies: Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. These islands include Aruba (possessing only minor volcanic features), Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, The Bahamas, and Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Cuba,Hispaniola,  DELL Precision M4500 Laptop Keyboard Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola,Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago. Definitions of the terms Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles often vary. The Virgin Islands as part of the Puerto Rican bank are sometimes included with the Greater Antilles.  SONY VAIO VGN-N325QE/W Laptop Keyboard The term Lesser Antilles is often used to define an island arc that includes Grenada but excludes Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Antilles. The climate of the area is tropical but rainfall varies with elevation, size, and water currents (cool upwellings keep theABC islands arid). Warm, moist tradewinds blow consistently from the east creating rainforest/semidesert divisions on mountainous islands.  TOSHIBA Satellite A205-S4618 Laptop Keyboard Occasional northwesterlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into 'dry' and 'wet' seasons, with the last six months of the year being wetter than the first half. The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish, turtles, and coral reef formations. The Puerto Rico trench, located on the fringe of the Atlantic HP G61-424CA laptop keyboard Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico, is the deepest point in all of the Atlantic Ocean.[16] Hurricanes that sometimes batter the region usually strike northwards of Grenada and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean. Packard Bell Easynote TM81 laptop keyboard The region sits in the line of several major shipping routes with the Panama Canal connecting the western Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean. British West Indies/Anglophone Caribbean – Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bay Islands, Belize,British Virgin Islands, HP G61-424CA laptop keyboard
  • Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Croix (briefly), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago (from 1797) and the Turks and Caicos Islands
Danish West Indies – present-day United States Virgin IslandsCompaq Presario CQ56-102SE laptop keyboard
  • Dutch West Indies – Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Bay Islands (briefly), Saint Croix(briefly), Suriname, Tobago and Virgin Islands
French West Indies – Anguilla (briefly), Antigua and Barbuda (briefly), Dominica, Dominican Republic (briefly),Grenada, Haiti, Montserrat (briefly), Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius (briefly), HP G42-265LA laptop keyboard Sint Maarten, St. Kitts (briefly), Tobago (briefly), Saint Croix, the current French overseas départements of Martinique andGuadeloupe (including Marie-Galante, La Désirade and Les Saintes), and the current French overseas collectivities of Saint Barthélemy and Saint MartinTOSHIBA Satellite A305-S6841 laptop keyboard
  • Portuguese West Indies – present-day Barbados, known as Os Barbados in the 16th century when the Portuguese claimed the island en route to Brazil. The Portuguese left Barbados abandoned in 1533, nearly a century prior to the British arrival to the island.
Spanish West Indies – Cuba, Hispaniola (present-day Dominican Republic, HP Mini 210-1081NR laptop keyboard
  • Haiti (until 1609 to France)), Puerto Rico,Jamaica (until 1655 to Great Britain), the Cayman Islands (until 1670 to Great Britain) Trinidad (until 1797 to Great Britain) and Bay Islands (until 1643 to Great Britain), coastal islands of Central America (minus Belize), and some Caribbean coastal islands of Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Swedish West Indies – present-day French Saint-Barthélemy, Guadeloupe (briefly) and Tobago (briefly). HP G42-265LA laptop keyboard
  • Courlander West Indies – Tobago (until 1691)
The British West Indies were united by the United Kingdom into a West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962. The independent countries formerly part of the B.W.I. still have a joint cricket team that competes in Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. TOSHIBA Satellite A305-S6829 laptop keyboard The West Indian cricket team includes the South American nation of Guyana, the only former British colony on that continent. In addition, these countries share the University of the West Indies as a regional entity. The university consists of three main campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, a smaller campus in the Bahamas and Resident Tutors in other contributing territories such as Trinidad. TOSHIBA PK13AT10600 laptop keyboard The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their animals, fungi and plants, and have been classified as one of Conservation International'sbiodiversity hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands. SONY VGN-FE21B laptop keyboard The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world's coral reefs[18] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[19] both of which are frequently found in the shallow marine waters bordering island and continental coasts off the region. For the fungi, there is a modern checklist based on nearly 90,000 records derived from specimens in reference collections, published accounts and field observations.[20] COMPAQ Presario CQ50-210US laptop keyboard That checklist includes more than 11250 species of fungi recorded from the region. As its authors note, the work is far from exhaustive, and it is likely that the true total number of fungal species already known from the Caribbean is higher. The true total number of fungal species occurring in the Caribbean, including species not yet recorded, is likely far higher given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have been discovered.[21] DELL V119525BS1 laptop keyboard Though the amount of available information is still small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to some Caribbean islands. For Cuba, 2200 species of fungi have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the island;[22] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[23]  TOSHIBA 9J.N9282.W01 laptop keyboard for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[24] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[25] Many of the ecosystems of the Caribbean islands have been devastated by deforestation, pollution, and human encroachment. The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of giant owls and dwarf ground sloths.[26] SONY KFRMBA151B laptop keyboard The hotspot contains dozens of highly threatened animals (ranging from birds, to mammals and reptiles), fungi and plants. Examples of threatened animals include the Puerto Rican Amazon, two species of solenodon (giant shrews) in Cuba and the Hispaniola island, and the Cuban crocodile. TOSHIBA Satellite l25-s1196 laptop keyboard The region's coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500–700 species of reef-associated fishes[27] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[28] HP Pavilion DV6-1205ee laptop keyboard Some Caribbean islands have terrain that Europeans found suitable for cultivation for agriculture. Tobacco was an important early crop during the colonial era, but was eventually overtaken by sugarcane production as the region's staple crop. Sugar was produced from sugarcane for export to Europe. Cuba and Barbados were historically the largest producers of sugar. SAMSUNG Q320 laptop keyboard The tropical plantation system thus came to dominate Caribbean settlement. Other islands were found to have terrain unsuited for agriculture, for example Dominica, which remains heavily forested. The islands in the southern Lesser Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, are extremely arid, making them unsuitable for agriculture. TOSHIBA Satellite M645-S4070 Laptop Keyboard However, they have salt pans that were exploited by the Dutch. Sea water was pumped into shallow ponds, producing coarse salt when the water evaporated.[29]

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