Golden Age of Piracy > Windward Islands

Windward Islands

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

The Windward Islands are the southern and larger islands of the Lesser Antilles that are within the greater West Indies and form the easternmost boundary of the Caribbean Sea. They are south of the Leeward Islands between the latitudes of 12° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W. Listed in order from north to southward they begin at Dominica which is followed by Martinique and then by Saint Lucia which is followed by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and finally by the island of Grenada. Overall the islands were all predominantly controlled by the French Empire throughout the period of the Golden Age of Piracy and were known as the French Windward Islands or the French Antilles.

The Windward Islands are given their name because they were positioned on the windward side of their ships as Europeans arrived in the New World as opposed to the Leeward Islands which were on the leeward side given that the trade winds usually blow east to west. When ships would travel across the Atlantic they used the fastest currents and trade winds which brought them on a course roughly right between the Windward and Leeward Islands. The island of Dominica is known as the dividing line between the Windward and Leeward islands.

Ships that engaged in the Trans-Atlantic Triangular Trade that departed from the African Gold Coast or the Gulf of Guinea would first see the southeastern most islands of the Lesser Antilles in their west-northwesterly view as they headed towards their final ports in the Caribbean and North and Central America.

The Windward Islands

West Indies

Golden Age of Piracy

Periods

Geography

West Indies

East Indies

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources