The name of Antilles was given by Pedro Mártir de Anglería (1457-1526) who thought that these islands were the legendary Antilia mentioned by Aristoteles and represented on some 14th century maps between Spain and Asia.
The Antilles form an arch of islands that begins in the northwest with the Yucatan Peninsula and the largest islands to the north (Greater Antilles) and descending to the south with the smaller islands (Lesser Antilles) by the east of the Caribbean Sea to the northern coast of South America. The total area of the islands is 91120Mi2.
The Antilles is characterizad by a political, historical and racial diversity; however, there is a homogeneity between the islands resulting from the mixing during the colonial and later period between Indians, blacks, Latinos and Asians. This diversity is manifested in the diversity of dialects derived from Spanish, English, Africans, etc. They are also accompanied by a diversity of religious beliefs, customs and floklore such as the very celebrated carnival.
The economy has always been based on agriculture, especially sugarcane, this economy has generated a social stratification of landowners that has its origin in the colonial era and has been maintained until today generating a marked social differentiation. There exist other tropical crops such as cotton, tobacco, cocoa, fruits, etc. they are also important for the economy. Mineral resources are scarce at the exception of Jamaica's bauxite, copper from Puerto Rico and oil from Trinidad. The industry is poorly developed and related to agricultural production such as rum, cigars, molasses, preserves, etc. Tourism attracted by a tropical climate has gained a lot lately and is an important income for many of the islands. Transportation on the islands is by road and between the islands by rreyboats and plane.
The Ciboney Indians populated the West Indies around 2000 B.C. At the beginning of the Christian era, the Arawak people of origin from South America and the Caribbean Indians populated, also from South America they colonized the small Antilles by 1000 AD until the Spaniards arrived in 1500 AD. Cristobal Columbus first visit in American land on Guanahaní Island (currently Watling) in the Bahamas; thereafter the modern history of America begins with the presence of Spaniards, British, Dutch, French and others. Today there is no longer the European colonial presence because of the political independence of the islands, however, there are other dependency links.
The Greater Antilles are located in the northern section of the Caribbean Sea and are formed by the largest islands. Like the other islands of the Antilles are of rugged terrain except the island of Cuba dominated by flat lands. On the Hispaniola Island the natural vegetation is rain forest while in the other the forests are dry. All have excellent beaches with coral reefs.