English: Windward Islands
French: Îles du Vent
|Location||Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean|
|Area||3,232.5 km2 (1,248.1 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||1,447 m (4747 ft)|
|Highest point||Morne Diablotins, Dominica|
|Largest settlement||St. George's|
|Pop. density||227/km2 (588/sq mi)|
The Windward Islands, also known as the Islands of Barlovento, are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles. Part of the West Indies, they lie south of the Leeward Islands, approximately between latitudes 10° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W.
The name was also used to refer to a British colony in these islands, existing between 1833 and 1960 and consisting of the islands of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, the Grenadines, and Grenada, which today make up three sovereign nations.
The island of Dominica, also today a sovereign nation, was traditionally a part of the Leeward Islands until 1940, when it was transferred from the Leeward Islands colony[whose?] to the Windward Islands.
The prevailing trade winds in the West Indies blow east to west. The combination of trans-Atlantic currents and winds that provided the fastest route across the ocean brought sailing ships heading to the New World to the rough dividing line between two groups of islands. Those that fell to windward became the Windward Islands, to leeward the Leeward Islands.
Sailing vessels departing from Africa would first encounter the southeasternmost "Windward" islands of the Lesser Antilles in their west-northwesterly heading to final destinations in the Caribbean and North and Central America. The chain of Windward Islands forms a part of the easternmost boundary of the Caribbean Sea.
[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 islands of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and Grenada; and, between Saint Vincent and Grenada, the chain of 32 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.