Leeward Islands travel guide and vacation resources
These islands are called "leeward" because the prevailing winds in the area blow from southeast to ownwind from, or in the lee of, leeward of, the southeasternmost Windward Islands, the group of islands that first meet the trade winds. The Leeward Islands comprise The Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin/Maarten (Saint Martin (north part) and Netherlands Antilles (south part)), Saba (Netherlands Antilles), Sint Eustatius (Netherlands Antilles), Saint Barthélemy, Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Redonda (small and uninhabited), Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Martinique. The small and remote Isla Aves may perhaps be included with this group for convenience. The Netherlands Antilles, however, are divided into two groups, one group in the northeast, and one in the southwest, with different naming conventions, see Netherlands Antilles. The name Leeward Islands also designates a British colony on several of these islands (analogous to one on the British Windward Islands), consisting of Antigua, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and (to 1940) Dominica, from 1671 to 1816 and again from 1833 to 1960. Actually, between 1816-1833, the Leewards Islands were only divide into Antigua-Barbuda-Montserrat and Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla-Virgin Islands. The colony was known as the Federal Colony of the Leeward Islands from 1871 to 1956 and the Territory of the Leeward Islands from 1956 to 1960. The "Leeward Islands" is still the title of one of the Caribbean First-class cricket sides. You'll see that these islands represent a wide variety of culture: French, Dutch, British, and ex-British/Independent. They also have a wide range of geographical features: arid and sandy or lush with volcanic mountains. In fact, the Leewards can be divided into two chains. Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barths, (Antigua, Barbuda), Guadeloupe, and the Saintes are all relatively low, flat, corral islands with dry scrubby vegetation. On the other hand, (Saba, St. Eustatia), St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, and Guadeloupe, to the south and west of the other chain, are all tall, volcanic islands with lush tropical rain forests and semi-active volcanoes. The 2 chains are not very far apart, but they're actually on 2 different tectonic plates.
Leeward Islands Vacations site
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