Guadeloupe, sometimes known as the Butterfly Island (French: I'ile Papillon), on account of the shape of two of its major islands, is a group of islands in the eastern Caribbean, and is a French overseas department. It is located southeast of Puerto Rico. Guadeloupe has been a French possession since 1635 except for the years 1813-1814 when it came into Swedish possession as a consequence of the Napoleonic Wars. The island of Saint Martin is shared with the Netherlands.
Its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles and its northern portion is named Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe is an archipelago of nine inhabited islands, including Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Desirade, Iles des Saintes (2), Saint-Barthélemy, Iles de la Petite Terre, and Saint-Martin (French part of the island of Saint Martin).
Martinique is a Caribbean island that is an overseas department of France in the Caribbean Sea, north of St. Lucia and south of Dominica. The island is dominated by Mount Pelee, which on 8 May 1902 erupted and completely destroyed the city of Saint Pierre, killing 30,000 inhabitants. In the South of the island, there are many beautiful beaches with a lot of tourists. In the North, the rain forests and the black sand beaches are worth seeing. The interior of the island is mountainous.
Martinique is an overseas department of France and retains both French and Caribbean culture. The island cuisine is a superb blend of French and Creole cooking that is worth trying. The north part of island lures hikers who seek to climb the mountains and explore the rain forests while the southern portions offer shopping and beaches for those who chose to just relax.
Saint Lucia is a British Commonwealth country that is an island in the Caribbean, off the coast of Central America. It lies between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago. The twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton) are striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere that are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean.
Tourism is vital to Saint Lucia's economy. Its economic importance is expected to continue to increase as the market for bananas becomes more competitive. Tourism tends to be more substantial during the dry season (January to April). Saint Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and its numerous beaches and resorts. Other tourist attractions include a drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs (at Soufriere), the Botanical Gardens, the Majestic twin Peaks »The Pitons«.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island nation in the Caribbean, north of Trinidad and Tobago. The main island of Saint Vincent has most of the land area and population of just over 100,000. The many small islands and islets of the Grenadines trail in a curve spanning more than 60km to the south, where the southernmost Grenadines are part of the independent island nation of Grenada. Bananas and other agricultural products remain the staple of this lower-middle income economy.
While the English were the first to lay claim to Saint Vincent in 1627, the French would be the first European settlers on the island when they established their first colony at Barrouallie on the Leeward side of Saint Vincent shortly before 1700. Carib Indians aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century.
Barbados has experienced several waves of human habitation. The first wave were of the Saladoid-Barrancoid group, farmers, fishermen, and ceramists who arrived by canoe from Venezuela's Orinoco Valley around 350 AD. The Arawak people were the second wave, arriving from South America around 800 AD. Arawak settlements on the island include Stroud Point, Chandler Bay, Saint Luke's Gully, and Mapp's Cave. According to accounts by descendants of the aboriginal Arawak tribes on other local islands, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim.
The name »Barbados« comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Os Barbados (»The Bearded Ones«), after the appearance of the island's fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards.