Windward Islands

Windward Islands
English: Windward Islands
French: Îles du Vent
Windward Islands.JPG
Political Windward Islands. Clockwise: Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica.
Location Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates 14°N 61°W / 14°N 61°W / 14; -61
Total islands 90+
Major islands Dominica
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent
Area 3,232.5 km2 (1,248.1 sq mi)
Highest elevation 1,467 m (4,813 ft)
Highest point La Grande Soufrière, Guadeloupe
Largest settlement Roseau
Largest settlement Castries
Largest settlement Kingstown
Largest settlement St. George's
Population c. 854,000
Pop. density 227 /km2 (588 /sq mi)

The Windward Islands are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles, within the West Indies. They lie south of the Leeward Islands, approximately between latitudes 12° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W. As a group they start from Dominica and reach southward to the north of Trinidad & Tobago and west of Barbados.

Name and geography

The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving to the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds in the West Indies 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.

Dominica is the dividing line between the Windward and Leeward islands. Martinique and the islands to the south were designated "Windward Islands". Guadeloupe and islands to the north became known as the "Leeward Islands".

Vessels in the Atlantic slave trade departing from the British Gold Coast and Gulf of Guinea in Africa would first encounter the southeasternmost "Windward" islands of the Lesser Antilles in their west-northwesterly heading to final destinations in the Caribbean and North and Central America. The chain of Windward Islands forms a part of the easternmost boundary of the Caribbean Sea. [1] [2]

Most of the present "Windward Islands" were once colonial island territories of France, also known as the French Antilles.

Other Languages
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Наветраныя астравы
Esperanto: Alventaj Insuloj
Bahasa Indonesia: Kepulauan Windward
íslenska: Kulborðseyjar
norsk nynorsk: Windwardøyane
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Shamolli orollar
Simple English: Windward Islands
српски / srpski: Острва приветрине
українська: Навітряні острови
中文: 向风群岛