The Caribbean is a sea region located between the mainland territory of North and South America. The continental United States is the Caribbean’s northern coast. Its southern coast belongs to countries in South America and the French dependency of French Guiana. The Caribbean’s western coast consists of territory that belongs to Mexico and the countries of Central America. And to the east of the Caribbean lies the Atlantic Ocean.
The Caribbean contains more than 7,000 islands, 13 independent countries, and 12 dependencies. The region covers an area of approximately one million square miles. The countries and dependencies of the Caribbean are generally considered to be part of North America.
The Island Groups Of The Caribbean
The Caribbean islands consists of three distinct groups of islands. The first group is the Greater Antilles of the northern Caribbean, in which the largest islands are found, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Hispaniola, which is the island shared by the countries of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The second island grouping is the Lesser Antilles, located in the southeastern part of the Caribbean. This group of islands includes the northern Leeward Islands and the southern Windward Islands. The third group of islands is the Lucayan Archipelago, where the independent country of the Bahamas and the British dependency of the Turks and Caicos Islands are located. Actually, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands are technically in the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Caribbean Sea, though they are socially and politically linked to the Caribbean, and so are considered part of the Caribbean region.
Demographics Of The Caribbean
The population of the Caribbean is nearly 44 million people. The most populous countries of the region include Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, all of which have populations of 10 million or more. The least populous are the French Dependency of St. Bart’s and the British dependency of Montserrat, which both have populations of less than 10 thousand people.
The Caribbean’s Geographical Connection To North America
The islands of the Caribbean are generally considered to be part of North America. Indeed, the vast majority of Caribbean islands lie on the North American continental shelf. There are, however, some exceptions. The islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago lie on the continental shelf of South America. Interestingly, though, some islands that are under the sovereignty of South American countries lie on North America’s continental shelf. These include Venezuela’s Isla Aves and Columbia’s San Andreas and Providencia. In some cases, countries bordering the Caribbean Sea, such as those of Central America and the northern countries of South America that have Caribbean coastlines, are considered part of the community of Caribbean countries, though they are geographically separate from the Caribbean.
The Caribbean’s North American Political And Economic Connections
Not only is the Caribbean considered to be part of North America in terms of geography, but it is also part of North America from political and economic standpoints. For instance, some territory in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and some of the Virgin Islands, is under the sovereignty of the United States, which is an undisputable part of North America. In addition, the U.S. is one of the principle trading partners of the Caribbean countries for both imports and exports. The one exception to this trend is Cuba, which does not engage in regular commerce with the U.S. for political reasons.