The Caribbean or the West Indies is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. These islands curve southward from the bottom tip of Florida to the Northwest of Venezuela in South America. There are at least 7000 islands, islets, reefs and cayes in the region. They are organized into twenty-five territories including sovereign states, overseas departments and dependencies.
The name "West Indies" originates from Christopher Columbus' idea that he had landed in India when he had in fact reached the Americas. The Caribbean consists of the Greater and Lesser Antilles and is part of North America.
At one time there was a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of the English-speaking Caribbean islands of the region.
Most islands at some point were, or still are, colonies of European nations:
The British West Indies, formerly united in the West Indies Federation, still make up a composite cricket team that successfully competes in test matches and one-day internationals. The West Indian cricket team also includes the South American nation of Guyana, a former British colony.
Present-day territories of the Caribbean
The nations of Belize and Guyana, although on the mainland of Central America and South America respectively, were former British colonies and maintain many cultural ties to the Caribbean and are members of CARICOM. The Turneffe islands (and many other islands and reefs) are part of Belize and lie in the Caribbean Sea.
da:Caribien de:Westindische Inseln es:Islas Caribes et:Lääne-India eo:Antiloj fr:Antilles it:Antille nl:Caraïben ja:西インド諸島 no:Karibien pl:Karaiby pt:Caribe sv:Västindien [[zh:加勒比海国家]]