The Antilles (z/; Antilles [ɑ̃.tij] in French; Antillas in Spanish; Antillen in Dutch and Antilhas in Portuguese) is an archipelago bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the south and west, the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest, and the Atlantic Ocean to the north and east.

The Antillean islands are divided into two smaller groupings: the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles. The Greater Antilles includes the larger islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (subdivided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and the Cayman Islands. The Lesser Antilles contains the northerly Leeward Islands, the southeasterly Windward Islands, and the Leeward Antilles just north of Venezuela. The Lucayan Archipelago (consisting of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands), though part of the West Indies, are generally not included among the Antillean islands.[1]

Geographically, the Antillean islands are generally considered a subregion of North America. Culturally speaking, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico – and sometimes the whole of the Antilles – are included in Latin America, although some sources avoid this socio-economic oversimplification by using the phrase "Latin America and the Caribbean" instead (see Latin America, "In Contemporary Usage").[2] In terms of geology, the Greater Antilles are made up of continental rock, as distinct from the Lesser Antilles, which are mostly young volcanic or coral islands.


Map of Antilles / Caribbean in 1843

The word Antilles originated in the period before the European colonization of the Americas, Antilia being one of those mysterious lands which figured on the medieval charts, sometimes as an archipelago, sometimes as continuous land of greater or lesser extent, its location fluctuating in mid-ocean between the Canary Islands and India.[3]

After the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus's expedition in what was later called the West Indies, the European powers realized that the dispersed lands constituted an extensive archipelago inhabiting the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.[4] The Antilles were called multiple names before their current name became the norm. Early Spanish visitors called them the Windward Islands. They were also called the Forward Islands by 18th-century British.[5] Thereafter, the term Antilles was commonly assigned to the formation, and "Sea of the Antilles" became a common alternative name for the Caribbean Sea in various European languages.[citation needed]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Antille
العربية: جزر الأنتيل
arpetan: Antilyes
asturianu: Antilles
azərbaycanca: Antil adaları
Bân-lâm-gú: Antilles Kûn-tó
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Антыльскія астравы
brezhoneg: Antilhez
català: Antilles
čeština: Antily
Cymraeg: Antilles
dansk: Antillerne
Deutsch: Antillen
eesti: Antillid
Ελληνικά: Αντίλλες
español: Antillas
Esperanto: Antiloj
euskara: Antillak
فارسی: آنتی
français: Antilles
Frysk: Antillen
Gaeilge: Na hAintillí
Bahasa Indonesia: Antillen
íslenska: Antillaeyjar
italiano: Antille
Кыргызча: Антил аралдары
кырык мары: Антил ошмаотывлӓ
Ladino: Antiyas
Latina: Antillae
latviešu: Antiļu salas
lietuvių: Antilai
lumbaart: Antil
македонски: Антили
मराठी: अँटिल्स
Bahasa Melayu: Antillen
Nederlands: Antillen
Nordfriisk: Antilen
norsk: Antillene
norsk nynorsk: Antillane
occitan: Antilhas
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Antil orollari
polski: Antyle
português: Antilhas
Scots: Antilles
Seeltersk: Antillen
sicilianu: Antilli
slovenčina: Antily
српски / srpski: Антили
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Antili
svenska: Antillerna
Türkçe: Antiller
اردو: انٹیلیز
vèneto: Antiłe
Tiếng Việt: Antilles
Winaray: Antillas