Leeward Islands


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Leeward Islands

(lo͞o`ərd, lyo͞o`–, lē`–), northern group of the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies, extending SE from Puerto Rico to the Windward Islands. The principal islands are the American Virgin IslandsVirgin Islands,
group of about 100 small islands, West Indies, E of Puerto Rico. The islands are divided politically between the United States and Great Britain. Although constituting the westernmost part of the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands form a geological unit with
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; the French island and overseas dept. of GuadeloupeGuadeloupe
, overseas department and administrative region of France (2015 est. pop. 450,000), 687 sq mi (1,779 sq km), in the Leeward Islands, West Indies. The department comprises the neighboring islands of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre (Guadeloupe proper) as well as
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 and its dependencies; the Dutch islands of St. EustatiusSaint Eustatius
, island (1989 pop. 1,861), 8 sq mi (20.7 sq km), a special municipality of the Netherlands, one of the Leeward Islands, West Indies. Called Statia by its inhabitants, it was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles.
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 and SabaSaba
, island (1990 est. pop. 1,100), 5 sq mi (13 sq km), a special municipality of the Netherlands, one of the NW Leeward Islands, West Indies. It was formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles. The rugged island is actually the cone of an extinct volcano rising to c.
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; the Dutch and French St. MartinSaint Martin
, Du. Sint Maarten, island, 37 sq mi (96 sq km), West Indies, one of the Leeward Islands. Since its occupation in 1648 by the Dutch and the French, it has been divided. The northern part (2015 est pop.
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; the islands of the independent states of St. Kitts and NevisSaint Kitts and Nevis
or Saint Kitts–Nevis
, officially Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, island nation (2015 est. pop. 52,000), 120 sq mi (311 sq km), West Indies, in the Leeward Islands.
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 and Antigua and BarbudaAntigua and Barbuda
, independent Commonwealth nation (2015 est. pop. 100,000), 171 sq mi (442 sq km), West Indies, in the Leeward Islands. It consists of the island of Antigua (108 sq mi/280 sq km) and two smaller islands, the more sparsely populated Barbuda (62 sq mi/161 sq
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; and the islands of the British dependent territories of AnguillaAnguilla
, island and British dependency (2015 est. pop. 15,000) 35 sq mi (91 sq km), West Indies, northernmost of the Leeward Islands. The capital is the town of The Valley. The population, which is mainly of African descent, speaks English, the official language.
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, MontserratMontserrat
, British dependency and island (2015 est. pop. 5,000), 38 sq mi (98 sq km), West Indies, one of the Leeward Islands. It is a rugged, scenic island of volcanic origin.
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, and the British Virgin Islands. Largely volcanic in origin, the Leewards have lush, subtropical vegetation, rich soil, and abundant rainfall. The warm, delightful climate is tempered by the surrounding water so that there is little variation in temperature. Most of the islands are popular tourist destinations. Products are mostly agricultural—fruits, vegetables, sugar, cotton, coffee, and tobacco.

Columbus first sighted the Leeward Islands in 1493, but settlement began only after the British arrived in the 17th cent. Sir Thomas Warner, sent to St. Kitts in 1623, was made governor-general of the yet uncolonized neighboring islands (Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, and Barbuda), and in the same year the Frenchman Pierre Bélain d'Esnambuc also established a colony on St. Kitts. By 1632, when the English had settled the neighboring islands, the sharp, three-way colonial conflict of England, France, and Spain had begun. The Spanish were forced from the struggle, but for nearly two centuries the islands were pawns in the Anglo-French worldwide wars. They changed hands with each fresh attack by British or French forces and were reshuffled in ownership whenever a new treaty was signed. Their final disposition did not come until the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.

Leeward Islands

 

the southern section of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, situated west of 64° W long. Area, approximately 1,200 sq km; elevations to 372 m. Population, 230,000 (1972), mainly Negroes and mulattoes.

The Leeward Islands consist of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire, which belong to the Netherlands, and of Aves, Los Roques, Orchila, Blanquilla, and Los Hermanos, which belong to Venezuela. The larger islands are formed of metamorphic and crystalline rocks overlapped by volcanic and sedimentary rocks, chiefly limestones; the smaller islands are low-lying and coralline. The climate is subequatorial, with a brief rainy season; annual precipitation is 500 to 600 mm. The islands’ vegetation consists chiefly of shrubs and dry forests. Crops include sorghum, sweet potatoes, and bananas; sheep and goats are raised.

The largest city is the port of Willemstad on Curaçao. Curaçao and Aruba have refineries for refining Venezuelan oil; there is pearl diving off Los Roques and Orchila. The islands’ name derives from their position in relation to the northeast trade winds.

E. N. LUKASHOVA

References in periodicals archive ?
0300 GMT Monday), the center of the storm was about 100 (165 km) northeast of Barbados and about 210 miles (340 km) east-southeast of the Leeward island of Dominica.
Six islands in the Bahamas were being evacuated yesterday, while officials in the Leeward Islands reportedly cut power and urged residents to seek shelter.
The storm's centre was expected to move near the northern Leeward Islands late yesterday.
29 January 2016 - UK-based mining company Bezant Resources Plc (AIM: BZT) has now acquired 100% of the share capital of Leeward Islands Exploration LLC, the company said.
Nicholls investigates diverse festive performance traditions in the Leeward Islands, with particular attention to bush masquerades, bull masquerades, and Mocko Jumbies.
This work studies the history of Barbados, Jamaica, the British Leeward Islands, South Carolina, and the Georgia Lowcountry as a single region called the Greater Caribbean.
Gonzalo formed east of the Caribbean Sea on October 12, strengthening as it passed through the Leeward Islands.
The hurricane center said the fifth named tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season had sustained winds of 45 mph and was centered 1,245 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands.
His getaway on Necker in the Leeward Islands, which rented for up to PS37,000 a night, was reduced to a wreck.
The Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands, 13th edition
On this naturally beautiful, sun-kissed jewel in the heart of the West Indies' Leeward Islands, you can take for granted the traditional 'sun, sea, sand' aspect of a tropical island holiday.
Assigned to the Leeward Islands of the early nineteenth-century Caribbean, Captain Kydd commands L'Aurore, a frigate of the British Royal Navy.