Portal:Caribbean
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Portal:Caribbean
The CARIBBEAN PORTAL

Flag of the CARICOM
Playa de Cayo Levantado
Location Caribbean.png

The Caribbean (, ) (Spanish: El Caribe; French: les Caraïbes; Haitian Creole: Karayib; Dutch: De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean) and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region has more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays (see the list of Caribbean islands). Island arcs delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea: the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (which includes the Leeward Antilles). They form the West Indies with the nearby Lucayan Archipelago (The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands), which are sometimes considered to be a part of the Caribbean despite not bordering the Caribbean Sea. On the mainland, Belize, Nicaragua, the Caribbean region of Colombia, Cozumel, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, and The Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Guayana Region in Venezuela, and Amapá in Brazil) are often included due to their political and cultural ties with the region.

A mostly tropical geography, the climates are greatly shaped by sea temperatures and precipitation, with the hurricane season regularly leading to natural disasters. Because of its tropical climate and low lying island geography, the Caribbean is vulnerable to a number of climate change effects, including increased storm intensity, salt water intrusion, sea level rise and coastal erosion, and precipitation variability. These weather changes will greatly change the economies of the islands, especially the major industries of agricultural and tourism.

The Caribbean was occupied by indigenous people since at least 3600 BC. When European colonization followed the arrival of Columbus, the population was quickly decimated by brutal labor practices, enslavement and disease and on many islands, Europeans supplanted the native populations with enslaved Africans. Following the independence of Haiti from France in the early 19th century and the decline of slavery in the 19th century, island nations in the Caribbean gradually gained independence, with a wave of new states during the 1950s and 60s. Because of the proximity to the United States, there is also a long history of United States intervention in the region. Read more...

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Ramirez with the Red Sox in 2008

Manuel Arístides Ramírez Onelcida (born May 30, 1972) is a Dominican-American former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for parts of 19 seasons. He played with the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays before playing one season at the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan. Ramirez is recognized for having great batting skill and power. He was a nine-time Silver Slugger and was one of 27 players to hit 500 career home runs. His 21 grand slams are third all-time, and his 29 postseason home runs are the most in MLB history. He appeared in 12 All-Star Games, with a streak of eleven consecutive games beginning in 1998 that included every season that he played with the Red Sox.

Ramirez was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. When he was 13 years old, he moved to New York City with his parents, Onelcida and Aristides. He attended George Washington High School and became a baseball standout. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the 1991 MLB draft, 13th overall. He made his MLB debut on September 2, 1993. Read more...

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Beach in St. Anne, Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe (, French: [?wad(?)lup] ; Antillean Creole: Gwadloup) is an archipelago forming an overseas region of France in the Caribbean. It consists of six inhabited islands, Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and the Îles des Saintes, as well as many uninhabited islands and outcroppings. It lies south of Antigua and Barbuda and Montserrat, and north of Dominica. Its capital is Basse-Terre on the southern west coast; however, the largest city is Les Abymes and the main city is Pointe-à-Pitre.

Like the other overseas departments, it is an integral part of France. As a constituent territory of the European Union and the Eurozone, the euro is its official currency and any European Union citizen is free to settle and work there indefinitely. As an overseas department, however, it is not part of the Schengen Area. The region formerly included Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin, which were detached from Guadeloupe in 2007 following a 2003 referendum. Read more...

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Arroz con pollo (rice with chicken)
Cuban cuisine is a blend of African, Spanish, and other Caribbean cuisines. Some Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish and African cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. This results in a blend of the several different cultural influences. A small but noteworthy Chinese influence can also be accounted for, mainly in the Havana area. There is also some Italian influence. During colonial times, Cuba was an important port for trade, and many Spaniards who lived there brought their culinary traditions with them. Read more...

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  • ...that the music for the song Guantanamera is regularly attributed to José Fernández Díaz in the 1920s, but that pianist Herminio "El Diablo" García Wilson also claimed to have written the song? And that the matter was only resolved decades later, when García's heirs lost their case at the Supreme Court of Cuba?

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A common coquí (Eleutherodactylus coqui), arguably the most recognizable species of Puerto Rico's fauna

The fauna of Puerto Rico is similar to other island archipelago faunas, with high endemism, and low, skewed taxonomic diversity. Bats are the only extant native terrestrial mammals in Puerto Rico. All other terrestrial mammals in the area were introduced by humans, and include species such as cats, goats, sheep, the small Asian mongoose, and escaped monkeys. Marine mammals include dolphins, manatees, and whales. Of the 349 bird species, about 120 breed in the archipelago, and 47.5% are accidental or rare.

The most recognizable and famous animal of Puerto Rico is probably the common coquí, a small endemic frog, and one of the 86 species that constitute Puerto Rico's herpetofauna. Some native freshwater fish inhabit Puerto Rico, but some species, introduced by humans, have established populations in reservoirs and rivers. The low richness-high diversity pattern is also apparent among invertebrates, which constitutes most of the archipelago's fauna. Read more...

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Voters queue to cast their vote during the Haitian general election, 2006
Credit: Robert Miller

Voters queue to cast their vote during the Haitian general election, 2006

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The music of Cuba, including its instruments, performance and dance, comprises a large set of unique traditions influenced mostly by west African and European (especially Spanish) music. Due to the syncretic nature of most of its genres, Cuban music is often considered one of the richest and most influential regional musics of the world. For instance, the son cubano merges an adapted Spanish guitar (tres), melody, harmony, and lyrical traditions with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythms. Almost nothing remains of the original native traditions, since the native population was exterminated in the 16th century.

Since the 19th century Cuban music has been hugely popular and influential throughout the world. It has been perhaps the most popular form of regional music since the introduction of recording technology. Cuban music has contributed to the development of a wide variety of genre and musical styles around the globe, most notably in Latin America, the Caribbean, West Africa and Europe. Examples include rhumba, Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, soukous, many West African re-adaptations of Afro-Cuban music (Orchestra Baobab, Africando), Spanish fusion genres (notably with flamenco), and a wide variety of genres in Latin America. Read more...

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