Title: Geography of the Caribbean: The Regions of the Caribbean
Grade Level: 6
Unit of Study: Caribbean
G1.2.1 Locate the major landforms, rivers (Amazon, Mississippi, Missouri, Colorado), and climate regions of the Western Hemisphere.
G1.3.1 Use the fundamental themes of geography (location, place, human environment interaction, movement, region) to describe regions or places on earth
G2.1.1 Describe the landform features and the climate of the region (within the Western or Eastern Hemispheres) under study.
G2.1.2 Account for topographic and human spatial patterns (where people live) associated with tectonic plates such as volcanoes, earthquakes, settlements (Ring of Fire, recent volcanic and seismic events, settlements in proximity to natural hazards in the Western Hemisphere) by using information from GIS, remote sensing, and the World Wide Web
G2.2.1 Describe the human characteristics of the region under study (including languages, religion, economic system, governmental system, cultural traditions).
H1.4.1 Describe and use cultural institutions to study an era and a region (political, economic, religion/ belief, science/technology, written language, education, family).
Abstract: In this lesson students will investigate the three regions of the Caribbean (Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles, and Bahamas).
Key Concepts: Each of the three regions consists of different countries with different populations, climate, landforms, vegetation, and human characteristics.
Time: Approximately 2 days
Sequence of Activities:
Show the United Streaming video: Physical Features and Natural Processes of the Caribbean Islands.
Divide students into groups, and assign each group a region of the Caribbean (Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles, or Bahamas).
Students will use the internet, books, or library resources to investigate a region of the Caribbean.
Students will work in groups to gather information from these various resources. They will then create a visual project (PowerPoint, poster, etc.) about their region. Projects should include regional information such as: populations, climate, landforms, vegetation, and human characteristics.
Connections: Art, Technology, Math
(population/climate graph if used)
United Streaming Video: Physical Features and Natural Processes of the Caribbean Islands
Textbook (if available)
CIA World Fact Book: (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/)
Location of the Greater Antilles (green) in relation to the rest of the Caribbean
The Greater Antilles is one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico--the four largest islands of the Antilles--the Greater Antilles constitutes almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.
The Greater Antilles in context
The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as the West Indies, are sorted by size and location into the Bahamas (or Lucayan archipelago, which includes the Turks and Caicos Islands), the Lesser Antilles, and the Greater Antilles. The "Greater Antilles" refers to Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico. The smaller islands in the vicinity of these four major islands are sometimes also treated as part of the group. This includes the smaller islands that surround the main islands, but are still part of the main island country (for instance, the Republic of Cuba consists of the island of Cuba, the Isle of Pines, and several smaller islands around them.) The Cayman Islands are also often included in the Greater Antilles because of their geographical proximity to Cuba. The Greater Antilles are made up of continental rock, part of North America, as distinct from that of the Lesser Antilles, which are mostly young volcanic or coral islands.
The Yucatan Channel separates the Greater Antilles from Mexico, and the Florida Straits separate them from the United States. To the South of the Greater Antilles, and completely surrounding Jamaica, is the Caribbean Sea.
Located on the islands of the Greater Antilles are three original members of the United Nations: the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba. Jamaica was formerly a possession of the United Kingdom, winning its independence on August 6, 1962, and joining the United Nations that same year. Puerto Rico is still a voluntary Commonwealth of the United States (by repeated votes by its people), which means that it is neither a state, nor an independent country, but is a U.S. territory.
The Greater Antilles were of strategic significance during the years when sea power defined a country's might, and they served as the battlegrounds for several important powers, particularly Spain, France, and Great Britain. Later, the Greater Antilles became important to the United States of America, with its large fleets of merchant ships and its Navy. First exploited for their own resources, the Greater Antilles were later utilized as the principal landing points for ships traveling between Europe and the New World. With the advent of long-range steamships and commercial airlines, the strategic importance of these islands has diminished over time.
The Greater Antilles remain strategically important to the United States and the United Kingdom, each of which maintain naval and air bases there. Cuba, formerly a key ally of the Soviet Union, demonstrated the regional importance of the Greater Antilles in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Currently, the United States leases a naval base and naval air station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making yearly payments by check that the current Cuban government does not cash.
Islands of the Greater Antilles
Haiti is currently one of the world's poorest countries, and the most poverty-stricken of the Americas.
Extending along the northern edge of the Greater Antilles is the southern edge of the so-called "Bermuda Triangle". The southern leg of this triangle extends from southeastern Florida, not far from Cuba, to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The other two legs of this triangle extend north to Bermuda.
Country with flag
Population (1 July 2005 est.)
Population density (per km²)
Puerto Rico (USA)
^ Encyclopedia Britannica 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Location of the Lesser Antilles (green) in relation to the rest of the Caribbean
Islands of the Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles, also known as the Caribbees,are part of the Antilles, which together with the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Greater Antilles form the West Indies. The islands are a long partly volcanicisland arc, most of which wrap around the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea on the western boundary with the Atlantic Ocean, and some of which lie on the southern fringe of the sea just north of South America. The Lesser Antilles more or less coincide with the outer edge of the Caribbean Plate, and many of the islands were formed as a result of subduction when one or more Atlantic plates slipped under the Caribbean Plate.
The two main groups of the Lesser Antilles are the Windward Islands in the south and the Leeward Islands in the north. The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving in the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds blow east to west. The trans-Atlantic currents and winds that provided the fastest route across the ocean brought these ships to the rough dividing line between the Windward and Leeward Islands.
A third category which is part of the Lesser Antilles is the Netherland Antilles. The Netherlands Antilles consist of two groups of islands, one in the southwest (the Leeward Antilles or the ABC islands) just off the coast of Venezuela, plus several others in the northeast (several of the Leeward Islands).
The main Lesser Antilles are (from north to south to west):
U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix
British Virgin Islands: Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke
Saint Martin/Sint Maarten (France/Neth. Antilles)
Sint Eustatius (Neth.)
La Désirade (Fr.)
Les Saintes (Fr.)
Barbados (Barbados is a Continental Island found 100 miles east of the Windward chain)
Trinidad and Tobago (are sometimes erroneously considered part of the Windward Islands. They are the most southern islands of the Caribbean region. 
Leeward Antilles – islands north of the Venezuelan coast (from west to east):
Margarita Island (Ven)
La Tortuga (Ven)
Venezuelan Archipelago (Ven)
^ ab "West Indies." Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, 3rd ed. 2001. (ISBN 0-87779-546-0) Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc., p. 1298.
^Encyclopædia Britannica: The Windward Islands
^United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) | The Scotland District of Barbados
^CountryStudies.us | The Windward Islands and Barbados
^ Cohen, Saul B., ed. "West Indies"The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. New York: Columbia University Press – Bartleby. Accessed: 19 September 2006
^ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL CONSTITUTED PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 287, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH ANNEX VII, OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION BETWEEN: BARBADOS - AND - THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - The Hague, 11 April 2006 (Pages 15-16)
Rogonzinski, Jan. A Brief History of the Caribbean. New York: Facts on File, 1992
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Motto: "Forward, Upward, Onward Together"
Anthem: "March On, Bahamaland"
Royal anthem: "God Save the Queen"
85% Black (esp. West African), 12% European, 3% Other
Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
Queen Elizabeth II
Arthur Dion Hanna
Hubert A. Ingraham
from the United Kingdom
July 10, 1973
13,878 km2 (160th)
5,358 sq mi
$8.310 billion (145th)
$24,960 (IMF) (38th)
▲ 0.845 (high) (49th)
Drives on the
The Bahamas from space. NASA Aqua satellite image, 2009
The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is an independent, sovereign, English-speaking country consisting of two thousand cays and seven hundred islands that form an archipelago. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of the United States; northeast to east of Cuba, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic & Haiti) and north to east of the Caribbean Sea; and west to northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Its size is almost 14,000 km² with an estimated population of 330,000. Its capital is Nassau. It remains a Commonwealth realm.
Main article: History of the Bahamas
The seafaring Taino people moved into the uninhabited southern Bahamas from Hispaniola and Cuba around the 7th century AD. These people came to be known as the Lucayans. There were an estimated 30,000+ Lucayans at the time of Columbus' arrival in 1492. Christopher Columbus's first landfall in the New World was on an island named San Salvador (known to the Lucayans Guanahani) which is generally accepted to be present-day San Salvador Island (also known as Watling Island) in the southeastern Bahamas. Here, Columbus made first contact with the Lucayans and exchanged goods with them.
The Spaniards followed Columbus and depopulated the islands, carrying most of the indigenous people off into slavery. It is generally assumed that the islands were uninhabited until the mid-17th century. However, recent research suggests that there may have been attempts to settle the islands by groups from Spain, France, and Britain, as well as by other Amerindians. In 1648, the Eleutherian Adventurers migrated from Bermuda. The Adventurers (who were English) established the first permanent European settlements on an island which they named Eleuthera — the name derives from the Greek word for freedom. They later discovered New Providence and named it Sayle's Island. To survive, the settlers salvaged goods from wrecks.
In 1670 King Charles II granted the islands to the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas, who rented the islands from the king with rights of trading, tax, appointing governors, and administering the country.
During proprietary rule, the Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard. To restore orderly government, the Bahamas was made a British crown colony in 1718 under the royal governorship of Woodes Rogers, who, after a difficult struggle, succeeded in suppressing piracy.
During the American Revolutionary War, the islands were a target for American naval forces under the command of Commodore Ezekial Hopkins. The capital of Nassau on island of New Providence was occupied by US Marines for a fortnight.
In 1782, after the British defeat at Yorktown, a Spanish fleet appeared off the coast of Nassau, which surrendered without fight. But the 1783 Treaty of Versailles — which ended the global conflict between Britain, France and Spain — returned the Bahamas to British sovereignty.
After the American Revolution, some 7,300 loyalists and their slaves moved to the Bahamas from New York, Florida and the Carolinas. These Americans established plantations on several islands and became a political force in the capital. The small population became mostly African from this point on.
The British abolished the slave trade in 1807, which led to the forced settlement on Bahamian islands of thousands of Africans liberated from slave ships by the Royal Navy. Slavery itself was finally abolished in the British Empire on August 1, 1834.
Modern political development began after the Second World War. The first political parties were formed in the 1950s and the British made the islands internally self-governing in 1964, with Roland Symonette of the United Bahamian Party as the first premier.
In 1967, Lynden Pindling of the Progressive Liberal Party became the first black premier of the colony, and in 1968 the title was changed to prime minister. In 1973, the Bahamas became fully independent, but retained membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. Sir Milo Butler was appointed the first black governor-general (the representative of Queen Elizabeth II) shortly after independence.
Based on the twin pillars of tourism and offshore finance, the Bahamian economy has prospered since the 1950s. However, there remain significant challenges in areas such as education, health care, international narcotics trafficking and illegal immigration from Haiti.
The origin of the name "Bahamas" is unclear. It may derive from the Spanish baja mar, meaning "shallow seas"; or the Lucayan word for Grand Bahama Island, ba-ha-ma "large upper middle land".
Geography and Climate
Main article: Geography of the Bahamas
Map of the Bahamas
The closest island to the United States is Bimini, which is also known as the gateway to the Bahamas. The island of Abaco is to the east of Grand Bahama, also know as the "Big Island". The southeasternmost island is Great Inagua. Other notable islands include the Bahamas' largest island, Andros Island, and Eleuthera, Cat Island, Long Island, San Salvador Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Exuma and Mayaguana. Nassau, the Bahamas capital city, lies on the island of New Providence.
All the islands are low and flat, with ridges that usually rise no more than 15 to 20 m (49 to 66 ft). The highest point in the country is Mount Alvernia, formerly called Como Hill, which has an altitude of 63 metres (210 ft) on Cat Island. To the southeast, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and three more extensive submarine features called Mouchoir Bank, Silver Bank, and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation of the Bahamas, but not part of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
Wettest tropical cyclones in the Bahamas
Little Harbor Abacos
Green Turtle Cay
The climate of the Bahamas is subtropical to tropical, and is moderated significantly by the waters of the Gulf Stream, particularly in winter. Conversely, this often proves very dangerous in the summer and autumn, when hurricanes pass near or through the islands. Hurricane Andrew hit the northern islands during the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season, and Hurricane Floyd hit most of the islands during the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Frances hit in 2004; the Atlantic hurricane season of 2004 was expected to be the worst ever for the islands. Also in 2004, the northern Bahamas were hit by a less potent Hurricane Jeanne. In 2005 the northern islands were once again struck, this time by Hurricane Wilma. In Grand Bahama, tidal surges and high winds destroyed homes and schools, floated graves and made roughly 1,000 people homeless, most of whom lived on the west coast of the island.
While there has never been a freeze reported in the Bahamas, the temperature can fall as low as 2-3°C during Arctic outbreaks that affect nearby Florida. Snow has been reported to have mixed with rain in Freeport in January, 1977, the same time that it snowed in the Miami, FL area. The temperature was about 5°C at the time.
Main article: Districts of the Bahamas
The districts of the Bahamas provide a system of local government everywhere in The Bahamas except New Providence, whose affairs are handled directly by the central government. The districts other than New Providence are:
Black Point, Exuma
City of Freeport, Grand Bahama
East Grand Bahama
Grand Cay, Abaco
Harbour Island, Eleuthera
Hope Town, Abaco
Calhoun ISD Social Studies Curriculum Design Project