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Windward Islands

Windward Islands
English: Windward Islands
French: Îles du Vent
Political Windward Islands Clockwise: Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica.
Geography
Location Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates
Total islands 90+
Major islands Dominica
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent
Grenada
Area 2,099 km2 (810 sq mi)
Highest elevation 1,467 m (4,813 ft)
Highest point La Grande Soufrière, Guadeloupe
Sovereign states
Largest settlement Roseau
Largest settlement Castries
Largest settlement Kingstown
Largest settlement Demographics
Population 476,425
Density 227 /km2 (588 /sq mi)

The Windward Islands are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles, within the West Indies. They lie south of the Leeward Islands, between latitudes 12° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W in one definition. As a group they start from Dominica and reach southward to the North of Trinidad & Tobago.

Name and geography

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 in the West Indies blow east to west. 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. Dominica is the dividing line between the Windward and Leeward islands. Guadeloupe and the islands to the south were designated "Windward Islands". Later on, all islands north of Martinique became known as the Leeward Islands. Vessels in the Atlantic slave trade departing from the African Gold Coast and Gulf of Guinea would first encounter the southeasternmost islands of the Lesser Antilles in their west-northwesterly heading to final destinations in the Caribbean and North and Central America. The chain of islands forms a part of the easternmost boundary of the Caribbean Sea.[1][2] Most of the islands of the present "Windward Islands" were once ruled by France and considered to be part of the French Antilles.

The Windward Islands are:[1][3]

The Windward Islands are labelled in the right portion of the map

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Windward Islands". Encyclopaedia Britannica. [A] line of West Indian islands constituting the southern arc of the Lesser Antilles, at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea, between latitudes 12° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W. They include, from north to south, the English-speaking island of Dominica; the French département of Martinique; the English-speaking islands of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and Grenada; and, between Saint Vincent and Grenada, the chain of small islands known as the Grenadines. Though near the general area, Trinidad and Tobago (at the south end of the group) and Barbados (just east) are usually not considered part of the Windward Islands. 
  2. ^ Chapter 4 - The Windward Islands and Barbados - U.S. Library of Congress
  3. ^ "Windward Islands". Footprint Travel Guides. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
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