- Leeward Islands
/lee"weuhrd/a group of islands in the N Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, extending from Puerto Rico SE to Martinique.
* * *Arc of West Indian islands that constitute the most westerly and northerly of the Lesser Antilles, northeastern Caribbean Sea.The major islands are, from north to south, the Virgin Islands of the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, and Guadeloupe. Just south of this chain is Dominica, sometimes classified as part of the Leeward Islands but usually designated as part of the Windward Islands.
* * *▪ islands, Cape VerdePortuguese Ilhas De Sotavento,island group in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of western Africa, constituting one of two distritos (“districts”) of Cape Verde and consisting of the following islands: Brava (Brava Island), Fogo (Fogo Island), Maio (Maio Island), and São Tiago (São Tiago Island) (qq.v.). The islands are of volcanic origin and have a tropical climate. Rainfall is scarce, and drought is a constant problem.▪ islands, West IndiesFrench Îles Sous le Vent , Spanish Islas de Sotaventoan arc of West Indian (West Indies) islands that constitute the most westerly and northerly of the Lesser Antilles, at the northeastern end of the Caribbean Sea, between latitudes 16° and 19° N and longitudes 61° and 65° W. The history of British, French, Spanish, and Dutch colonialism in the region has left its stamp on the islands' language and culture as well as on many of the islands' economies, which depend on trade and aid from former European administrative powers. The major islands are, from north to south, the Virgin Islands of the United States and the United Kingdom (geologically a part of the Greater Antilles); Anguilla; Saint Martin, an island that is partly French and partly Dutch; Saint-Barthélemy; Saba; Saint Eustatius; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Antigua and Barbuda; Montserrat; and Guadeloupe. Just south of this chain is Dominica, formerly administered by the British government as part of the Leewards but usually designated as part of the Windward Islands.The Virgin Islands are part of a submerged mountain chain, like the other islands of the Greater Antilles. Areas of Antigua, Anguilla, Barbuda, and eastern Guadeloupe consist of formations of coral limestone, whereas the small chain from Saint Kitts to Montserrat forms a volcanic ridge; the volcano Soufrière on Guadeloupe is the highest mountain in the Lesser Antilles (at 4,813 feet [1,467 metres]). The climate of the Leeward Islands is drier than that farther south but does vary from region to region and in different parts of a single island; rainfall increases with elevation and in more southerly latitudes. Trade winds ameliorate the tropical heat. Hurricanes occur occasionally from June to October.The population of the Leewards is predominantly of African descent. Tourism is a leading source of income and seasonally brings in a large number of visitors, a significant part of whom are from mainland North America and Europe.
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