Golden Age of Piracy > Leeward Islands

Leeward Islands

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration


The Leeward Islands are an island chain in the West Indies and refer to the northeastern group of the Lesser Antilles that border where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. They begin with the island of Puerto Rico and run south down. The other chain of islands in the Lesser Antilles is known as the Windward Islands. Many of the islands are volcanic with eruptions occurring on the island of Montserrat in the 1990's as well as in 2009 and 2010.

History[edit] [icon] This section requires expansion. (September 2010) The Caribs, for whom the Caribbean is named, are believed to have migrated from the Orinoco River area in South America to settle in the Caribbean islands about 1200 AD, according to carbon dating. Over the century leading up to Columbus' arrival in the Caribbean archipelago in 1492, the Caribs mostly displaced the Maipurean-speaking Taínos, who settled the island chains earlier in history, by warfare, extermination and assimilation.[2] The islands were among the first parts of the Americas to fall under the control of the Spanish Empire. European contact commenced with Christopher Columbus's second voyage, and many of the islands' names originate from this period, e.g., Montserrat was named in honour of Santa Maria de Montserrat (Our Lady of Montserrat), after the Blessed Virgin of the Monastery of Montserrat, which is located on the Mountain of Montserrat, the national shrine of Catalonia. 'Mont serrat' in Catalan means 'sawn off mountain', referring to the jagged appearance of the mountain range. The name of this island group, Leeward Islands, dates from previous centuries, when sailing ships were the sole form of transportation across the Atlantic Ocean. In the West Indies, the prevailing winds, known as the trade winds, blow from the northeast to the southwest. The early Spanish colonizers called Puerto Rico and the islands to the west Sotavento, meaning leeward. The islands to the south and east of Puerto Rico were called Islas de Barlovento, meaning windward islands. When the British gained control of many of the Lesser Antilles, they designated Antigua, Montserrat, and the islands to the north "Leeward Islands". Dominica is the dividing line between the Windward and Leeward islands. Guadeloupe and the islands to the south were designated "Windward Islands". Later on, all islands north of Martinique became known as the Leeward Islands.[1] However, even in modern usage in languages other than English, e.g., Spanish, French and Dutch, all of the Lesser Antilles from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad and Tobago are known as the Windward Islands (Iles du Vent in French, Bovenwindse Eilanden in Dutch, and Islas de Barlovento in Spanish). The islands along the Venezuelan coast, known in English as the Leeward Antilles, in languages other than English are known as the Leeward Islands.

Leeward Islands

This is a list of the Leeward Islands listed from the northwest to the southeast. The Leeward Islands were controlled by a patchwork of Colonial Empires throughout the Golden Age of Piracy and were constantly fought over and switched hands throughout the Buccaneering Era and the Post Spanish Succession Period.

Golden Age of Piracy



West Indies

East Indies


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources