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SETTLEMENT AND CONTRIBUTION OF THE JEWS TO THE CARIBBEAN
  -  BACKGROUND 1

























The West Indies are composed of the islands of the Caribbean Sea and are divided into the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles.

The Greater Antilles islands include  Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

The Lesser Antilles Islands include the smaller islands of the Caribbean and are divided into the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands. The Lesser Antilles chain starts in the Virgin Islands and wraps the eastern Caribbean to Trinidad and Tobago.

The Windward Islands include Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tabago

The Leeward Islands are the northwestern islands of the Lesser Antilles. They’re called the Leeward Islands because they’re away from the wind (“lee”). They include, the Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Antigua Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla

The Portuguese Jewish diaspora was born out of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the forced conversion/expulsion of the Jews from Portugal in 1497   Some of them went to the Caribbean while maintaining strong connections with Portuguese Jews in western Europe, the Ottoman empire, and the Far East.  They saw the New World as an opportunity to escape European persecution. Where they settled contributed to local growth. Later, many went to the USA when having to flee from the Inquisition again.

Their local contribution included the introduction of sugar cane which was to become the mainstay of the economy for several hundred years and in creating trade routes between the islands and their mother countries.

Jewish pirates became part of a revenge strategy against the Iberian powers  Many of them mixed traditional Jewish lifestyles with sailing

TODAY

Only small Jewish communities.  For an overview see

Chabad-Lubavitch Centers in the Caribbean

Kosher Travel

Totally Jewish Travel

Greater and Lesser Antilles

Winward and Leeward Islands

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