Indies


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Related to Indies: East Indies, West Indies

Indies:

see East IndiesEast Indies,
name formerly used for the Malay Archipelago, but also more restrictively for Indonesia and more widely to include SE Asia. It once referred chiefly to India.
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; West IndiesWest Indies,
archipelago, between North and South America, curving c.2,500 mi (4,020 km) from Florida to the coast of Venezuela and separating the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean.
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Indies

 

a geographic term prevalent in Western Europe in the 14th century under the influence of the Book of Marco Polo, where the names “Great India” and “India” (signifying the peninsula of Hindustan with the Indo-Gangetic Plain), “Small India” (Indochina), and “Middle India” (Ethiopia) are found. Thus, in the 14th and 15th centuries the lands of South and Southeast Asia and a part of East Africa were known as the Indies. After the discovery by Columbus in 1492 of the Antilles, it was mistakenly believed that he had come upon one of the Indies. Columbus himself used the term “Indias” for the first time on Feb. 14, 1493, in referring to the newly discovered transatlantic lands, and he called their inhabitants Indians (indios). In official documents the term was first used in instructions from the throne to Columbus on May 29, 1493. In the 16th century in European literature the terms “East Indies” and “West Indies” established themselves. In official Spanish documents the term “Indies,” as applied to Spain’s American possessions, was used until the end of the War of Independence of the Spanish Colonies in America (1810-26).

REFERENCES

Kniga Marko Polo. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from Old French.)
Puteshestviia Kh. Kolumba: Dnevniki, Pis’ma, Dokumenty. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from Spanish.)

I. P. MAGIDOVICH

Indies

the
1. the territories of S and SE Asia included in the East Indies, India, and Indochina
2. See East Indies
3. See West Indies
References in classic literature ?
Captain Phips sailed from England in the Rose Algier, and cruised for nearly two years in the West Indies, endeavoring to find the wreck of the Spanish ship.
Before leaving the West Indies, he met with a Spaniard, an old man, who remembered the wreck of the Spanish ship, and gave him directions how to find the very spot.
But I never went beyond the Streights, and never was in the West Indies.
If want to know more, I'm nineteen years old, and I come from the West Indies.
cried the stranger from the West Indies, with an outburst of tears.
The only light I can throw upon this enigma, is by remarking that banks of the most irregular forms appear to be now forming in some seas, as in parts of the West Indies and in the Red Sea, and that their sides are exceedingly steep.
How contemptible would the brightest Circassian beauty, drest in all the jewels of the Indies, appear to my eyes
Hang it: the regiment's just back from the West Indies, I must have a little fling, and then when I'm married I'll reform; I will upon my honour, now.
George Osborne in lodgings in a county town; or, worse still, in the East or West Indies, with a society of officers, and patronized by Mrs.
Mr Edward has come to England from the West Indies.
In the mind's eye of Mr Willet, the West Indies, and indeed all foreign countries, were inhabited by savage nations, who were perpetually burying pipes of peace, flourishing tomahawks, and puncturing strange patterns in their bodies.
He came to me, and told me that some merchants of his acquaintance had been proposing to him to go a voyage for them to the East Indies, and to China, as private traders.