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Commonwealth Caribbean

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Commonwealth Caribbean
Commonwealth Caribbean.svg
Map of the Commonwealth Caribbean
  Independent countries
  British Overseas Territories
  Other English-speaking territories
  Other Caribbean countries

The Commonwealth Caribbean is the region of the Caribbean with English-speaking countries and territories, which once constituted the Caribbean portion of the British Empire and are now part of the Commonwealth of Nations. The term includes many independent island nations, British Overseas Territories and some mainland nations. It is also known as the English-speaking Caribbean, Anglophone Caribbean or Anglo-Caribbean. The term is now used in preference over the older term British West Indies, which was used to describe the British colonies in the West Indies during decolonisation and following independence from the United Kingdom. Anglo-Caribbean and British Commonwealth Caribbean also became preferred replacement terms to British West Indies.[1]

Countries and territories

The Commonwealth Caribbean consists of countries and territories, which include Caribbean islands or parts of mainland North and South America surrounding the Caribbean Sea.

Independent island countries

There are ten independent island countries within the Commonwealth Caribbean:

Sovereign state
 Antigua and Barbuda
 The Bahamas
 Saint Kitts and Nevis
 Saint Lucia
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
 Trinidad and Tobago

Independent mainland countries

There are two independent mainland countries within the Commonwealth Caribbean:

Sovereign state Notes

British Overseas Territories

The term may also be applied to British Overseas Territories (BOTs) in the Caribbean, as they are also English-speaking and the United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth. However, other terms may also be used to specifically refer to these territories, such as "British overseas territories in the Caribbean",[2] "British Caribbean territories"[3] or the older term "British West Indies". There are 6 territories which are sometimes described as Commonwealth Caribbean:

British Overseas Territory Notes
 Bermuda Bermuda is sometimes not considered a part of the Caribbean due to its geographical location. The island nation is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea.
 British Virgin Islands
 Cayman Islands
 Turks and Caicos Islands

Other non-Commonwealth Anglophone territories

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Puerto Rico has English as an official language (Spanish is its working language), and the United States Virgin Islands is another English-speaking territory in the Caribbean. Both territories are parts of the United States, which isn't a part of the Commonwealth.

Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is also a majority English-speaking territory in the Caribbean. However, as with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it isn't a part of the Commonwealth. English is the day-to-day administrative language and language of communication in Sint Maarten, and the first language of the majority (67.5%) of the population.

West Indies Federation

Between 1958 and 1962, there was a short-lived federation between several English-speaking Caribbean countries, called the West Indies Federation, which consisted of all the island nations (except the Bahamas), and the territories (excluding Bermuda and British Virgin Islands). British Guiana (Guyana) and British Honduras (Belize) held observer status within the federation.

West Indies Federation Map
Map of the former West Indies Federation, whose members are considered to be in the Commonwealth Caribbean

The Commonwealth Caribbean makes up a composite cricket team. The West Indies cricket team also includes Guyana, as another former British colony. Bermuda, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the Dutch Caribbean also participate in Anglophone Caribbean-related sports activities such as Twenty20 cricket.

Caribbean Community

The English-speaking parts of the Caribbean established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 1973, and it currently includes all the independent English-speaking island countries plus Belize, Guyana and Montserrat, as well as all other British Caribbean territories and Bermuda as associate members. English was its sole official language until 1995, following the addition of Dutch-speaking Suriname.

Informal Anglophone communities in Central America

In addition to these formally recognised countries, there are substantial communities of Commonwealth Caribbean origin along the Atlantic or Caribbean coast of Central America, as a part of the western Caribbean zone. These communities, which began forming in the seventeenth century, include areas of Nicaragua and Honduras that made up the Miskito Kingdom (which was under British protection after 1740), the Garifuna community (which was deported to the coast in 1797 and took up English as its language), the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina (Colombia), and the many and numerous Anglophone Caribbean people who were brought to Central America by the canal companies (the French and American Panama Canal efforts), railroad companies, and particularly the fruit companies, such as United Fruit after the 1870s and particularly in the first decades of the twentieth century. Many have never fully integrated into the otherwise Spanish-speaking communities in which they reside, such as the Caracoles of Honduras.

See also

Other parts of the Caribbean


  1. ^ Staff writer (1989). "The Commonwealth Caribbean". Library of Congress, USA. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  2. ^ Tossini, J. Vitor (6 October 2017). "A Guide to British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean". Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  3. ^ "British Caribbean Territories (WMO Territory)". World Meteorological Organization.

Further reading

This page was last edited on 27 January 2022, at 07:33
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