The Antilles (the same in French; "Antillas" in Spanish; "Antillen" in Dutch) refers to the islands forming the greater part of the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. The Antilles are divided into two major groups: the "Greater Antilles" to the north including the larger islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico; and the smaller "Lesser Antilles" on the southeast—comprising the northerly Leeward Islands, the southeasterly Windward Islands, and the Leeward Antilles just north of Venezuela. The Bahamas, though part of the West Indies, are generally not included among the Antillean islands. [ Some sources, such as Encarta in Spanish, consider the Bahamas part of the Antilles. [] es icon ]

Geographically, the Antilles are generally considered part of America. Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico—due to the prevalence of Spanish—are included in Latin America.

In terms of geology, the Greater Antilles are made up of continental rock, as distinct from the Lesser Antilles, which are mostly young volcanic or coral islands.


The word "Antilles" originated in the period before the European conquest of the New World—"Antilia" being one of those mysterious lands which figured on the medieval charts, sometimes as an archipelago, sometimes as continuous land of greater or lesser extent, its location fluctuating in mid-ocean between the Canary Islands and India.

After the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus's expedition in what was later called the West Indies, the European powers realized that the dispersed lands comprised an extensive archipelago enclosing the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Thereafter, the term "Antilles" was commonly assigned to the formation, and "Sea of the Antilles" became a common alternate name for the Caribbean Sea in various European languages.

Greater Antilles

* Cuba
* Hispaniola
** flagicon|Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
** flagicon|Haiti Haiti
* Jamaica
* Puerto Rico (U.S. commonwealth)

Lesser Antilles

* Anguilla (UK)
* Antigua and Barbuda
** Redonda (Ant.)
* Aruba (Neth.)
* Barbados
* British Virgin Islands (UK)
* Dominica
* Grenada
* French Antilles (Fr.)
** flagicon|Guadeloupe|local Guadeloupe (Fr. Ant.)
** flagicon|Martinique|local Martinique (Fr. Ant.)
* Montserrat (UK)
* Netherlands Antilles (Neth.)
** flagicon|Bonaire Bonaire (Neth. Ant.)
** flagicon|Curaçao Curaçao (Neth. Ant.)
** flagicon|Saba Saba (Neth. Ant.)
** flagicon|Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (Neth. Ant.)
* Saint Barthélemy (Fr.)
* Saint Kitts and Nevis
* Saint Lucia
* Saint Martin
** flagicon|Saint Martin|local Saint Martin (Fr.)
** flagicon|Sint Maarten Sint Maarten (Neth. Ant.)
* Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
* Trinidad and Tobago
** Tobago
** Trinidad
* U.S. Virgin Islands




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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Antilles — archipel d Amérique centrale, en forme d arc, isolant de l océan Atlantique la mer des Antilles. Il se divise en Bahamas, Grandes Antilles (Cuba, Haïti, rép. Dominicaine, Porto Rico, Jamaïque) et Petites Antilles, lesquelles se composent des îles …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Antilles — [an til′ēz΄] main island group of the West Indies, including all but the Bahamas: see GREATER ANTILLES, LESSER ANTILLES Antillean [an til′ē ən; an΄tə lē′ən] adj …   English World dictionary

  • Antilles — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Antilles (homonymie). Antilles Carte des Antilles (en vert) dans la Caraïbe. Superficie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Antilles — Antillean /an til ee euhn, an tl ee /, adj. /an til eez/, n. (used with a pl. v.) a chain of islands in the West Indies, divided into two parts, the one including Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico (Greater Antilles), the other including… …   Universalium

  • Antilles — /ænˈtɪliz/ (say an tileez) plural noun a chain of islands in the West Indies, divided into the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico), and, to the south east, the Lesser Antilles (the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands,… …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Antilles — geographical name the West Indies excluding the Bahamas see Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles • Antillean adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Antilles — islands of the West Indies excluding the Bahamas; comprises Greater Antilles: Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico; and Lesser Antilles: Trinidad, the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands, and other small islands …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • Antilles — An•til•les [[t]ænˈtɪl iz[/t]] n. pl. geg a chain of islands in the West Indies, divided into two parts, one including Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico (Greater Antilles), the other including a large arch of smaller islands to the SE and …   From formal English to slang

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

  • Antilles —    See Netherlands Antilles …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

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