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Caribbean Studies

Resarch resources on Caribbean history and culture


Caribbean Studies: Introduction

17th c pirate printsteel pan player illustrationArchæological evidence shows human habitation in the Caribbean for centuries before the arrival of Europeans.  It was the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus in so-called the new world that initiated a great race for riches by Europeans. For the next 550 years, the Caribbean region would play a vital role in the economic history of the western world and, often, a tragic role in in the world's social history. Significant events, in the present, demonstrated by the recent changes in Cuba, the economic crisis in Puerto Rico, the earthquakes and subsequent turmoil in Haïti, and the climate-driven rise of sea levels that threaten the very existence of some island states, demonstrate the historical centrality and the cultural contributions of the region.

This Library guide will offer a starting point for those wishing to study the history and culture of the many and varied nations and territories that populate the Caribbean region.

Country Reports and Name Index

Map of the Caribbean

Map of Caribbean Region [public domain]

Caribbean Region 


The Caribbean region is made up of both independent countries and dependent territories which are divided into five geographical regions: The islands are located in the Greater Antilles; Lesser Antilles; North American Continental Shelf, or South America Continental Shelf. A few countries located on the mainland of Central and South America, are included in the Caribbean region for reasons of politics, history, or regional affiliation.

Listed here in alphabetical order are the nations and territories (governing nation is indicated in square brackets next to territorial names.  Some islands are part of a group, which is indicated in parentheses. The locations within the Caribbean region are indicated in italics.

Some links to country information have bee added below. For more information about all countries and territories, select the 'Country Reports' tab

Anegada (British Virgin Islands, BVI) [UK] -Lesser Antilles

Anguilla [UK] -Lesser Antilles

Antigua and Barbuda -Lesser Antilles

Aruba -SA Continental Shelf

The Bahamas -NA Continental Shelf

Barbados -Lesser Antilles

Belize -Mainland, Central America

Bonaire [Netherlands] -SA Continental Shelf

Cayman Islands [UK] -Greater Antilles

Cuba -Greater Antilles

Curaçao [Netherlands] -SA Continental Shelf

Dominica -Lesser Antilles

Dominican Republic -Greater Antilles

Gayane (France Outre Mer *)Mainland South America

Grenada -Lesser Antilles

Guadeloupe [France Outre Mer] -Lesser Antilles

Guyana** -Mainland South America 

Haïti -Greater Antilles

Jamaica -Greater Antilles

Jost Van Dyke (BVI) [UK] -Lesser Antilles

Martinique [France outre mer] -Lesser Antilles

Montserrat [UK] -Lesser Antilles

Puerto Rico [USA] -Greater Antilles

Saba [Netherlands] -Lesser Antilles

Saint Barthélemy  (France Outre Mer *) -Lesser Antilles

Saint. Croix (USVI) [USA] -Lesser Antilles

Saint. John (USVI) [USA] -Lesser Antilles

Saint Kitts and Nevis -Lesser Antilles

Saint. Lucia -Lesser Antilles

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -Lesser Antilles

Saint Martin   (France Outre Mer *) -Lesser Antilles

Saint. Thomas (UVI) -Lesser Antilles

Sint Eustatius [Netherlands] -Lesser Antilles

Sint Maarten [Netherlands] -Lesser Antilles

Suriname -Mainland South America

Tortola (BVI) [UK] -Lesser Antilles

Trinidad & Tobago - SA Continental Shelf

Turks and Caicos Islands [UK] -NA Continental Shelf

Virgin Gorda (BVI) [UK] -Lesser Antilles

Water Island (USVI) [USA] - Lesser Antilles

* Citizens of the Outre Mer regions are French citizens and these regions are considered part of France.  

** Guyana was formerly British Guiana. 


Cayman Islands [UK] 


Dominican Republic 



Puerto Rico [USA] 






Gayane  (France Outre Mer) * 

Guyana **


* AKA French Guiana

** Guyana was formerly British Guiana.


The Bahamas

Turks and Caicos Islands [UK]


Article Databases

Article Databases

Primary Databases & Documents

Timelines of Carribbean History

Archives, Libraries, Museums

Archives, Libraries, Museums




Digitized News and Media