Leeward Islands (Antilles)

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Map section of the Caribbean. Leeward Islands highlighted in blue

Islands over the wind , formerly also German Islands in the Wind , is the name of the northern part of the Lesser Antilles .


In the Caribbean , they extend in an arc from Puerto Rico to the southeast and are predominantly of volcanic origin. Further to the southwest are the Leeward Islands .

The Leeward Islands have a total area of ​​about 12,000 km² and about three million inhabitants. Politically, some islands belong to France , the United Kingdom , the United States and the Netherlands , while the others form eight independent states.


The name "islands above the wind" is derived from the prevailing wind direction in these latitudes of the northeast trade wind , which ensures a humid climate with annual rainfall over 2000 mm. The leeward islands further south, on the other hand, are not influenced by the northeast trade winds and have a very dry climate .

In English, the naming for the individual areas of the Lesser Antilles is completely different: The chain from Martinique to Trinidad is called "Windward Islands", the northern part of the Lesser Antilles (Virgin Islands to Dominica) is called "Leeward Islands". Both together correspond to the islands called "islands above the wind" in German. The "Leeward Islands" off the north coast of South America are called "Leeward Antilles" in English.

A British colony was also referred to as "Leeward Islands", which between 1671 and 1816, then again from 1833 to 1960, included Antigua , Barbuda , the British Virgin Islands , Montserrat , Saint Kitts , Nevis , Anguilla and (until 1940) Dominica . This colony was called between 1871 and 1956 "Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands" and then until 1960 "Territory of the Leeward Islands".

Contrary to the general English language, Dominica does not belong to the Leeward Islands, but to the Windward Islands.

Islands and archipelagos

Leeward Islands

Northern part (Leeward Islands)

Southern part (part of the Windward Islands)

The islands of the state of Trinidad and Tobago and the neighboring Venezuelan Isla de Patos are not counted among the islands over the wind.

Web links

Commons : Leeward Islands  - collection of images, videos and audio files