Lesser Antilles

Lesser Antilles

The Lesser Antilles, also known as the Caribbees,"West Indies." "Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary", 3rd ed. 2001. (ISBN 0-87779-546-0) Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc., p. 1298.] are part of the Antilles, which together with the Bahamas and Greater Antilles form the West Indies. The islands are a long partly volcanic island arc, most of which wrap around the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea on the western boundary with the Atlantic Ocean, and some of which lie on the southern fringe of the sea just north of South America. The Lesser Antilles more or less coincide with the outer edge of the Caribbean Plate, and many of the islands were formed by subduction, as one or more other plates slipped under the Caribbean Plate.

Regional terminology

The two main groups of the Lesser Antilles are the Windward Islands in the south and the Leeward Islands in the north. The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving in the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds blow northeast to southwest. 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. Another group of the Lesser Antilles, is the Leeward Antilles which are found just north of Venezuela. The Netherlands Antilles are divided into two groups, one in the southwest (Leeward Antilles) off the coast of Venezuela and one in northeast (Leeward Islands), although it uses different naming conventions locally, with the southwest grouping being known as the Leeward Islands and northeast group being known as the Windward Islands.


The main Lesser Antilles are (from north to south to west):
Leeward Islands:
*U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix
*British Virgin Islands: Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke
*Anguilla (UK)
*Saint Martin/Sint Maarten (France/Neth. Antilles)
*Saint-Barthélemy (Fr.)
*Saba (Neth.)
*Sint Eustatius (Neth.)
*Saint Kitts
*Montserrat (UK)
*Guadeloupe (Fr.)
*La Désirade (Fr.)
*Les Saintes (Fr.)
*Marie-Galante (Fr.)
Windward Islands:
*Martinique (Fr.)
*Saint Lucia
*Saint Vincent
*Trinidad and Tobago (are sometimes erroneously considered part of the Windward Islands) [Cohen, Saul B., ed. [http://www.bartleby.com/69/91/W02191.html "West Indies"] [http://www.bartleby.com/69/ "The Columbia Gazetteer of North America".] New York: Columbia University Press – Bartleby. Accessed: 19 September 2006] [ [http://www.pca-cpa.org/upload/files/Final%20Award.pdf ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL CONSTITUTED PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 287, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH ANNEX VII, OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION BETWEEN: BARBADOS - AND - THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO] - The Hague, 11 April 2006 (Pages 15-16)]

Leeward Antilles – islands north of the Venezuelan coast (from west to east):
*Aruba (Neth.)
*Curaçao (Neth.)
*Bonaire (Neth.)
*Margarita Island (Ven)
*Coche (Ven)
*La Tortuga (Ven)
*Cubagua (Ven)
*Venezuelan Archipelago (Ven)


*Rogonzinski, Jan. "A Brief History of the Caribbean." New York: Facts on File, 1992.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lesser Antilles — group of islands in the West Indies, southeast of Puerto Rico, including the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands, & the islands off the N coast of Venezuela * * * ▪ islands, West Indies  long arc of small islands in the Caribbean Sea extending… …   Universalium

  • Lesser Antilles — group of islands in the West Indies, southeast of Puerto Rico, including the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands, & the islands off the N coast of Venezuela …   English World dictionary

  • Lesser Antilles — noun The smaller islands of the West Indies, to the south and east of Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean Sea. See Also: Antilles, Greater Antilles, Leeward Antilles …   Wiktionary

  • Lesser Antilles — noun a group of islands in the southeastern West Indies • Syn: ↑Caribees • Instance Hypernyms: ↑archipelago • Part Holonyms: ↑Antilles • Part Meronyms: ↑Netherlands Antilles, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Lesser Antilles. — See under Antilles. * * * …   Universalium

  • Lesser Antilles — See Antilles …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • Lesser Antilles — Less′er Antil′les n. pl. geg See under Antilles …   From formal English to slang

  • Lesser Antilles — /lɛsər ænˈtɪliz/ (say lesuhr an tileez) noun See Antilles. Also, Caribbees …   Australian English dictionary

  • Lesser Antilles. — See under Antilles …   Useful english dictionary

  • Lesser Antilles — geographical name islands in the West Indies including the Virgin, Leeward, & Windward Islands, Trinidad, Barbados, Tobago, & islands in the S Caribbean N of Venezuela …   New Collegiate Dictionary