Vacation has always been a way for people to escape the humdrum activities of everyday life. It is a way to escape from the real world and have a few days with nothing to worry about other than what to do. For some people, the idea of vacation is going somewhere warm and intriguing, a place that could keep a person entertained and captivated for days. For a lot of people, this place could be the islands of the Caribbean. The Caribbean is a place of wonder and draws thousands of people to it every year because of its diverse history and culture.
The Caribbean islands are a chain of over 7,000 islands found in the Caribbean Sea, located directly south of Florida and east of Mexico. A majority of the islands found in the Caribbean are small in size, around 100 square miles. However, there are still large islands. Cuba is the largest island found in the Caribbean, but the island is still smaller than the state of Ohio. (West) Some of the well known islands of the Caribbean include Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These islands all make up the area known today as the West Indies.
The West Indies are so named in order to differentiate the islands from the East Indies found in the Pacific Ocean. When Columbus first landed on the islands he believed them to be part of the Indies of the Pacific Ocean. When it was discovered that the islands were not actually a part of the Indies, the islands received their current name to differentiate them. While the islands are still referred to as the West Indies today, people know them better as the Caribbean Islands. Within the West Indies the islands are further classified down into the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles. The Greater Antilles are just that, the larger islands (Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, which includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic). It would then make sense that the Lesser Antilles would be the smaller islands of the Caribbean, which are typically the islands on the east end of the Caribbean Sea. These islands are not only vastly different, but the islands also have historical significance, beginning with Christopher Columbus.
When Christopher Columbus and his crew sailed across the Atlantic Ocean they stumbled onto land that no one had any knowledge of in Europe. This new land quickly became known as the New World. This New World seemed to hold endless supplies of valuable materials that could greatly benefit the country of Spain. There was gold and all kinds of valuable minerals found in the land. The land was also full of fertile soil that would be perfect for farming and raising animals. The more of the land that was explored and discovered the more valuable it became. This new knowledge was sent back to Spain which then marked the beginning of colonialism.
After Spain began claiming parts of this new land, other European countries began wanting land. These countries wanted a piece of this new,...