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Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands

Introduction During the 17th century, the archipelago was divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish. Sugarcane, produced by African slave labor, drove the isl ...

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Turks and Caicos Islands (Overseas Territory of the UK)

Turks and Caicos Islands (Overseas Territory of the UK)

Introduction The islands were part of the UK's Jamaican colony until 1962, when they assumed the status of a separate crown colony upon Jamaica's independence. The governor of The Baham ...

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Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago

Introduction First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands' sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in ...

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Saint Martin

Saint Martin

Introduction Although sighted by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and claimed for Spain, it was the Dutch who occupied the island in 1631 and set about exploiting its salt deposits. The Spa ...

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Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia

Introduction The island, with its fine natural harbor at Castries, was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); ...

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Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Introduction Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Christopher COLUMBUS' second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, a ...

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Panama

Panama

Introduction Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - named the Republic of Gran ...

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Nicaragua

Nicaragua

Introduction The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an ...

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Jamaica

Jamaica

Introduction The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, w ...

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Honduras

Honduras

Introduction Once part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civ ...

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Haiti

Haiti

Introduction The native Taino - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 ...

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Guatemala

Guatemala

Introduction The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its i ...

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Grenada

Grenada

Introduction Carib Indians inhabited Grenada when Christopher COLUMBUS discovered the island in 1498, but it remained uncolonized for more than a century. The French settled Grenada in ...

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El Salvador

El Salvador

Introduction El Salvador achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and from the Central American Federation in 1839. A 12-year civil war, which cost about 75,000 lives, was brought to a ...

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Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Introduction The Taino - indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to the arrival of the Europeans - divided the island into five chiefdoms and territories. Christopher COLUMBUS explor ...

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